Viento Libre ('Free wind') is a neighborhood with high risk of child recruitment by armed groups in Tumaco. 

NRC has worked with the community for bringing back the education to the life of children through the construction of a classroom.  The whole community including parents and volunteer teachers work with NRC in the promotion of  protective spaces for education and in activities during the spare time - when the risk increases -.

Colombia, Nariño, Tumaco

Photo by Edgar León
Read caption Viento Libre ('free wind') is a neighborhood with high risk of child recruitment by armed groups in Tumaco. NRC workers promote protective spaces for education and activities. Photo: NRC/Edgar León

NRC in Colombia

NRC Colombia
A six decade-long armed conflict has given Colombia the most prolonged and serious humanitarian crisis in the Americas. Since 1991, NRC has been active in the country, where millions of people have been forcibly displaced.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2017.


Humanitarian overview

Colombia’s six decade-long armed conflict has forced millions to flee.

Although the country reached a milestone with the 2016 peace agreement between the government and the armed group FARC, the conflict has intensified in some areas since the group laid down its arms. Violence continues in former FARC-EP controlled areas as several armed groups fight for control of natural resources and drug trafficking routes in the vacuum. Many Afro-Colombian and indigenous people are forced to flee their ancestral land.

Nine out of ten people displaced by Colombia's civil war have not received the promised compensation for crimes committed against them. Many suffered the loss of relatives, forced displacement, torture or sexual violence.

Colombia has the second largest displaced population in the world after Syria, and nearly five million people depend on humanitarian aid. Over 310,000 have fled to neighbouring Ecuador, Panamá and Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Colombia hosts around one million people who have fled the growing humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Venezuela.


People we helped in Colombia in 2017

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme


NRC's operation

We provide emergency and long-term assistance to internally displaced people in rural areas where authorities struggle to provide help, and in urban environments, where the majority of Colombia’s displaced population has sought safety.

Our Bogota office also runs a regional operation assisting Colombian refugees in Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama where we help them access their rights.

The crisis in Venezuela has caused many people to seek humanitarian aid in other countries. We are currently implementing an action plan to respond to their needs.


NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)


We improve access to registration procedures and legal humanitarian assistance as well as access to land and housing for communities who had previously abandoned their land or houses or had them seized. Our ICLA teams:

  • assist displaced people in rural and urban areas who have not yet declared their displacement to the proper authorities
  • provide legal services to displaced people who are victims of usurpation or abandonment of land or housing
  • offer legal assistance services to guarantee victims’ rights when they return to their land
  • provide legal assistance on how to access adequate housing and how to limit risk of eviction


Our regional operation is assisting Colombian refugees in Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. We:
  • help Colombians receive official recognition as refugees
  • ensure that they can access their rights under Colombia’s victims' law      


NRC EducationEducation


We help displaced families keep their children in school, and work with youth and adults to complete their education and find safe vocational training opportunities. Our teams:

  • conduct censuses in municipalities affected by conflict to identity out-of-school children
  • give technical support to educational authorities to provide alternative education programmes for those who are not in school
  • give technical support to schools and training centres to implement flexible education models for out-of-school children
  • support schools and vocational training centres, increasing their capacity to meet the needs of out-of-school children
  • work with children so they can attend flexible education model programmes and technical and vocational skills training


In acute emergencies, we:

  • distribute learning and sports equipment, so that children can continue to learn and play
  • build temporary classrooms and latrines as well as upgrade school infrastructure
  • provide newly displaced children with safe learning environments
  • train teachers on how best to teach and support their students


NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements


Access to shelter is essential for one’s dignity, privacy, health, and physical and social protection. Our shelter and settlements teams provide access to adequate shelter solutions for affected people across all phases of displacement. This ranges from rapidly deployable emergency shelters that can save lives, to supporting early recovery and promoting durable solutions.

Our shelter teams:  

  • provide temporary shelter solutions through cash for rent
  • provide transitional shelters for vulnerable families through complete shelter construction or cash for a housing upgrade
  • provide habitat or hygiene kits for vulnerable families, thereby increasing and promoting safe hygiene practices
  • initiate multipurpose protective and collective shelters, like community centres
  • promote the construction and repair of classrooms


Emergency response    

When new conflicts arise in remote locations, we provide humanitarian assistance to communities where no permanent field presence has yet been, or can be, established. We also help newly displaced children go to safe learning environments during acute emergencies.

In emergencies, we:

  • train teachers to best teach and support their pupils during an emergency
  • distribute learning and sports equipment, so that children can continue to learn and play
  • build temporary classrooms and latrines and upgrade school infrastructure
  • supply food and temporary shelters
  • Facilitate the registration process in acute emergencies, so displaced people can gain access to humanitarian assistance


NRC Colombia is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway (MFA)
  • Norad - Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
  • Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration (BPRM)
  • Canada Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)
  • European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)
  • United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) 

About NRC in (country)

1991–2004: Indirect presence through Project Counselling Service Consortium. 2005 – Direct presence in Colombia
Forcast 2017
97.6 Million NOK
International staff
Areas of operation
Colombia: Florencia (Caquetá), Pasto and Tumaco (Nariño), Guapi and Popayán (Cauca), Quibdó (Chocó) Cucuta and Ocaña (Norte de Santander) Santa Marta (Magdalena). Ecuador: Esmeraldas Panamá: Ciudad de Panamá Venezuela: San Cristobal
Budget 2018
149.9 Million NOK
National staff

NRC in Colombia

Country Director

Christian Visnes