– “Of the 24 hours a day, girls and boys spend a third part of the day in schools, for this reason we celebrate the addition of the country to the Declaration of Safe Schools”: Jairo Vega, leader of humanitarian affairs for World Vision

– With different projects and programs, World Vision promotes the rights of girls, boys, youth and adolescents in the country. A job that emphasizes protection, food, education and health.

This International Children’s Day marks the Convention on the Rights of Children, an opportunity to call on civil society to guarantee the well-being and protection of children. The violation of rights and the increase in needs that girls, boys, adolescents and young people still have, continues to be alarming.

One of the rights that is most violated in Colombia is access to education, according to the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attacks, in its 2022 report, it argues that instances of attacks on education and military use increased globally. during 2020 and 2021, compared to the two immediately preceding years. In this report, Colombia appears as one of the countries most affected by the dynamics of recruitment, use and use in schools or on the way to and from them; reports of sexual violence perpetrated by armed actors in educational settings; murders and threats against educational personnel; military use of schools and universities; and attacks on higher education.

Faced with this critical situation, Colombia adheres to the Safe Schools Declaration, which seeks to protect students, teachers, and schools in conflict contexts. In this regard, Jairo Vega, leader of humanitarian affairs for World Vision, mentions: “With this declaration it is expected to improve the conditions of protection for girls and boys. It is important to protect schools because in this way, we minimize the risks to which they are exposed. In this work it is key that schools are safe environments, where girls can develop their abilities and potential. Finally, out of 24 hours a day, girls and boys spend a third of the day in schools, which is why we celebrate the addition of the country to this declaration”.

In this work, World Vision, with the Education Cannot Wait project, has been promoting improvements in access to quality, protective and equitable education for girls, boys and adolescents belonging to the migrant population, host communities and returned Colombians. , who for different reasons do not attend school or have had to postpone their programs and who, when they return to school, find themselves overage.

Likewise, Wilson Camacho, manager of the Eastern region, recognizes that World Vision promotes the fact that girls and boys are subjects of law who can build a safe society. Wilson affirms that this work is carried out with programs such as Caminos de Paz, which with training and sensitization aimed at fathers, mothers, caregivers, community leaders and organizations, prioritizing the teaching of rights and the tender upbringing of children.

Another of the rights that most requires attention in Colombia is to have special protection so that girls, boys and adolescents can grow up physically, mentally and socially healthy and free. According to Legal Medicine, between January and September 2022, 1,422 girls, boys and adolescents have died in the country, a statistic that already exceeds the total for 2021. This context shows the gaps that children and youth have and a right in particular that UNICEF highlights:

Faced with this situation: World Vision, a non-governmental organization, and which has been working in the regions of Colombia to provide a safe environment for children, has been developing different projects and programs that seek to generate special protection for girls, boys and adolescents in the country, where healthy eating habits, education, family relationships, recreation, among others, are promoted.

Ismary Otero, manager of the South-West region, affirms that the organization is working for the rights of more than 18,000 girls and boys from Antioquia and Valle del Cauca. A work that has special emphasis on respect, where they are recognized as subjects of law and have the capacity to generate active and resilient participation in the contexts where they live. This work is carried out by World Vision with development programs and projects that are focused on vulnerable communities.

Another fundamental right is food. A factor that by 2022 has presented challenges for thousands of vulnerable families due to a 23% increase in food, which means that in the country, food assistance is needed for 7.3 million Colombians, according to the humanitarian organization Action Against El Hunger.

In this sense, Inmaculada Fernández, who is manager of the Caribbean region of World Vision, assures that the organization prioritizes food security in departments such as La Guajira or Córdoba:

In the city of Montería, Inmaculada highlights the work that has been carried out with more than 1,100 lactating and pregnant mothers who receive food kits, thanks to joint work with private sector companies. In the cities of Maicao and Riohacha, work has been done with more than 13,000 families who have benefited from the delivery of food, hygiene kits, nutritional screening days, adaptations of sanitary batteries, infrastructure to improve access to water, and good sanitation practices. sanitation and hygiene.

All this work carried out by World Vision at the national level has been focused on children, youth and adolescents residing in Colombia, where a differential approach is highlighted in ethnic communities such as La Guajira, but where the migrant population has also been attended to and prioritized. returned and refugee.

The priority of humanitarian attention will continue to be to transform and ensure the rights of girls and boys, a job that continues to require efforts, dedication, resources and attention from entities in the public, private, state and civil society sectors.

About World Vision

World Vision is a global organization for development, humanitarian aid, advocacy (political influence and mobilization), promoter of justice and Christian principles, focused on the comprehensive protection with tenderness of the most vulnerable girls and boys, influencing the overcoming of extreme poverty, the fullness of life and human transformation.