UNICEF - Informe Anual 2017
UNICEF - Informe Anual 2017

unicef colombia


On the path towards sustainable peace

messageIn 2017, Colombia revealed the unwavering resilience of its people and showed the world how different communities around the country, from Punta Gallinas, in La Guajira, to Quebrada de San Antonio, in Nariño, worked to rebuild the bonds of trust and recover the social fabric after so many years of polarization and confrontation. For the first time in more than five decades, Colombians were able to live free from the noise of guns and the violence generated by the longest armed conflict in Latin America, which has left 8.3 million registered victims, 31% of which are children and adolescents. The peace accord signed between the State and the former FARC-EP guerilla in September 2016 is an example of how human rights, democratic values, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation can prevail over war, hatred and revenge.

As expected, the peace agreement, the disarmament and demobilization of the guerrilla group did not automatically solve the country's profound social problems. Throughout the past year, the peace process faced obstacles and suffered delays that on several occasions gave rise to harsh criticism that questioned its relevance and sustainability. However, the data speaks for itself: the 2017 homicide rate is the lowest recorded in the past 30 years and there has also been a dramatic fall in the number of kidnappings, accidents caused by antipersonnel mines, internal displacement and other events related to the armed conflict. The country has begun receiving peace dividends. It is up to the State and all sectors of civil society to ensure that peace agreements prevail and continue to be fulfilled during this year of political transition, so that dividends continue to grow and benefit all Colombians.

The peace accord signed between the state and the former FARC-EP in September 2016 is an example of how human rights, democratic values, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation can prevail over war, hatred and revenge.

Despite the progress made, there are still urgent challenges: the prevalence of poverty, inequalities, social exclusion and the emergence or intensification of other types of violence cause extreme suffering and may even threaten the sustainability of peace agreements in the long run. The poorest regions of Colombia, where most of the indigenous and Afro-descendent communities live, suffer from violence perpetrated by other non-State armed groups, which is derived from illegal economic activities, including the exploitation and sexual trafficking of children and adolescents.

The peace accord represents an enormous opportunity for the State to be present throughout the entire national territory, not only by means of playing a stronger role in infrastructure and security matters, but also ensuring greater social presence that enables the population, especially children and adolescents, to access health services, nutrition, education, culture, recreation, protection and justice, ensuring that they can all develop their potential and can become productive members of a peaceful society. Today's children will sustain human rights and peace in Colombia in the coming years and it is up to us to guarantee that they have the best skills to carry out this task.

Today's children will sustain human rights and peace in Colombia in the coming years and it is up to us to guarantee that they have the best skills to carry out this task.

During 2017, UNICEF continued to work strategically to move forth in this direction and promote the rights of children in Colombia, thus contributing to the construction of peace and reconciliation and sustainable development. UNICEF worked at the national and subnational levels, through different coordinated strategies, in close cooperation with the national Government and in partnership with a wide range of partners and allies from the public and private sectors, international cooperation, academia, civil society organizations and donors, among others.

Our allies and donors’ experience, knowledge, commitment, support and unconditional generosity enabled UNICEF to successfully address various challenges during the year. Moreover, allies and donors were fundamental in allowing UNICEF’s rapid response to emergencies and humanitarian crises in Colombia during 2017, as was the case in Mocoa, Putumayo on April 1, when a landslide killed more than 300 people and directly affected approximately 15,000 children and adolescents. UNICEF responded quickly through interventions in water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection and designed a long-term development project to address the underlying problems of social disparity and marginalization in the urban and peri-urban areas of Mocoa.

The report below summarizes some of the main results of our work in Colombia during 2017, demonstrating how teamwork led to sustainable results for the benefit of children and adolescents. Once again, we want to thank our strategic partners, allies and donors who, through their work and their contributions, have supported us along every step on the path towards peace. We hope that you will remain by our side in our tireless mission to provide a better country for children and adolescents.

Roberto De Bernardi
UNICEF Colombia Representative

The situation of children and adolescents in Colombia

situation Colombia is the second most populated country in South America and according to projections from the National Administrative Statistics Department, before the end of 2018 the population will surpass 50 million people. Approximately 8 out of 10 inhabitants live in urban areas[1] and about a third of the total population corresponds to children and adolescents[2].

Despite completing several years of economic slowdown, the country has made substantial progress in reducing poverty. Since 2010, multidimensional poverty[3] pasó de 30.4% a 17.8% en 2016. En los últimos dos años, 182.000 personas han salido de la pobreza multidimensional en las cabeceras municipales, mientras que en las zonas rurales del país, lo han hecho otras 73.000 personas.decreased from 30.4% to 17.8% in 2016; In the last two years, 182.000 people from municipal capitals and 73.000 from rural zones have been pulled out of multidimensional poverty. Similarly, income distribution has improved, and the Gini coefficient has decreased for three consecutive years[4]

In 6 years, multidimensional poverty went from affecting 13.7 million people in 2010 to 8.5 million in 2016.

Nonetheless, poverty and inequality strongly affect many excluded groups and pending challenges need to be addressed before the fruits of economic and social development reach all Colombians. In 2011, for example, one in three children lived in poverty and children and adolescents in rural areas were between 2.4 and 2.8 times more likely to live in multidimensional poverty than those in urban areas. Furthermore, Colombia continues to be one of the most unequal countries in Latin America and in the world.



Regarding health

In 2015, pregnant women’s access to prenatal professional care was estimated at 97% at the national level, while in rural areas it was 93.7% and 68.8% among women without formal education[5].

In 2016, according to preliminary data published in the 2017 Assessment of the National Development Plan 2014-2018 "Together for a new country", the maternal mortality ratio was 49.2 per 100,000 live births at the national level and 86.2 in disperse rural areas. The occurrence of maternal deaths reflects inequities in access to health services and underlines the differences between the rich and the poor. Maternal mortality is higher in departments belonging to the highest poverty quintile[6], in particular in indigenous communities and distant rural zones.

Maternal deaths reflect inequalities in access to health services and highlights the differences between rich and poor.

Similarly, although the infant mortality rate fell sharply in the last 15 years and was estimated at 14 per 1,000 live births in 2015, progress has not been uniform across Colombia. According to the 2015 DHS, the infant mortality rate is 1.5 times higher in rural areas versus urban areas. Furthermore, among mothers without education it is 4.6 times more frequent than among those with higher education. There are also vast differences in infant mortality across different ethnic groups. The highest rates take place among the Rom, Palenqueros de San Basilio and Indigenous groups (160, 43 and 29 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014, respectively)[7].

The adolescent pregnancy rate went from 19.5% in 2010 to 17.4% in 2015[8]. The most significant reductions have taken place within the most favoured population groups: those belonging to the highest wealth quintile, with the highest education levels, living in urban areas and in the more developed regions.

Only 48.4% of children under six attend early childhood care programs

Regarding education

In terms of education, inequalities continue to be profound and reproduce the exclusion of rural, indigenous and afro-descendant communities.

According to the 2015 DHS, only 48.8% of children under 6 attend early childhood care programs. It is estimated that assistance is higher in urban versus rural zones[9].

En 2016, la tasa de cobertura bruta en primaria fue de 104.55 %; en secundaria fue de 100.48% y en media fue de 79.5 %. Aunque se ha avanzado existen grandes desafíos en los niveles más altos de la educación y en zonas rurales. Por ejemplo, en 2015, la tasa de cobertura neta en educación media en el Chocó fue de 20.35%, mientras que en Bogotá fue de 50.61%In 2016, the gross coverage rate in primary school was 104.55%; in secondary school it was 100.48% and in upper secondary (grades 10 and 11) it was estimated at 79.5%. Even though there have been advances, there are still significant challenges to be addressed in the highest levels of education and in rural zones. For instance, in 2015, the net coverage rate in upper secondary level in the Choco department was 20.35%, while in Bogota, it was 50.61%[10].

School drop out affects boys more than girls, both in primary and secondary education and drop-out rates are higher in rural areas and in higher education levels. Between 2015 and 2016, the intra-annual school dropout rate in preschool, basic and upper secondary levels, increased from 3.26% to 3.74%[11].

In terms of the quality of education, Colombian students achieved an average score of 425 in reading, 416 in science and 390 in mathematics in the 2015 PISA test. Scores were below OECD averages (493, 490 and 493, respectively).

Regarding child protection and violence

Colombia continues to face the consequences of violence and the internal armed conflict, which has prevailed for more than half a century. Although the number of cases has decreased since the peace agreement, children, adolescents and young people continue to face the risk of being recruited or used by illegal armed actors. Likewise, civilians are still exposed to control of communities, selective threats and killings as well as sexual and gender-based violence. The most vulnerable population groups such as ethnic groups, women, children, adolescents and young people living in difficult to access rural areas and urban areas, have received the strongest humanitarian impact[12].

Entre 2004 y 2016 hubo una reducción considerable de los homicidios cometidos por violencia en el marco del conflicto armado.

Although the Peace Accord produced a significant decrease in internal displacement, during 2017 there were still 67,422 IDPs registered (based on expulsions), and 59,098 IDPs registered (based on receptions)[13]. Massive displacements are currently due to clashes between armed groups, followed by actions and threats from unknown actors and criminal gangs.

According to the Presidential Program of Comprehensive Action Against Landmines, there are 11,524 registered victims of antipersonnel mines and unexploded ordnance victims as of February 2018. While in 2006 -the most critical year- there were 1,232 victims, during 2017 there were 56 victims in 25 municipalities of 10 departments. Of these victims, 10 were children or adolescents[14]


It is important to highlight that 757 children and adolescents were murdered in 2016. Of these, 542 were between 15 and 17 years old[15].

In 2016, 21,399 medical-legal examinations were carried out after alleged sexual offenses. Overall, 86% of these examinations were performed on children and adolescents (18,416 cases) and 8 of every 10 victims of were girls. Children and adolescents account for most of sexual violence victims; in most cases sexual violence takes place in private settings such as the family home and the perpetrators frequently belong to the victim’s immediate circle.

Regarding natural disasters

Colombia is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. According to information from the National Disaster Risk Management Unit, approximately 100,719 families were affected by natural disasters and 471 people died from these during 2017, mainly in the departments of Putumayo, Caldas, Córdoba, Cauca and Antioquia[16].

In Mocoa, Putumayo, an avalanche that took place in the early hours of April 1st caused more than 300 deaths and affected approximately 17,000 people[17].

100,719 families were affected by natural disasters (2017).

UNICEF in action during 2017

The overall objective of the 2015-2019 UNICEF Cooperation Program in Colombia is to ensure that children and adolescents enjoy their rights by means of equitable access to social services, improve their learning outcomes and are effectively protected against violence, thus contributing to peacebuilding and reconciliation. The program promotes a favourable change in the environment, ensuring that the rights of children and adolescents come first, in a post-peace accord scenario.

We give priority to territories where children and adolescents face the greatest obstacles.

UNICEF’s programme Colombia is developed both at the national and at the territorial levels and there is permanent communication and feedback between these initiatives, in such a way that field-level experiences feed the formulation and implementation of national policies, budgets and laws, while initiatives at the national level give way to concrete and actual changes in the territories where children and adolescents live.

unicefAt the national level, the program focuses on promoting and developing policies and programs, and on monitoring various processes. Cooperation strategies include the generation of evidence, advocacy and political dialogue, among others, which help put children at the heart of the public agenda, facilitate monitoring, accountability and consensus in the application of policies, and raise awareness of the main challenges children face.

At the territorial level, UNICEF prioritizes departments where children and adolescents face the greatest difficulties to exercise their rights: Chocó, Cauca, Nariño, Antioquia, Córdoba, Amazonas, Putumayo, La Guajira and Caquetá. Programme interventions support upstream modelling and replication through capacity development at national and territorial level.

From the strategic point of view, UNICEF's program is aimed at strengthening the capacities of diverse actors for the application of multidimensional and intersectoral approaches that guarantee the fulfilment of the rights of children in the post-accord scenario, with special attention to innovative approaches in territories where there is greater vulnerability, including indigenous and Afro-descendant communities.

UNICEF is strongly committed to the consolidation of peace in the national territory and its actions seek to contribute to the construction of tangible peace dividends.

The Cooperation Program comprises four program components and includes a cross-cutting gender equity approach, which is in line with Colombia's gender policies and the UNICEF Gender Action Plan. The four programme components are: Child protection, Inclusive education, Child survival and development, Social inclusion and monitoring child rights


  • UNICEF gives priority to certain geographical areas where children and adolescents suffer the greatest rights deprivation and exclusion: Chocó, Cauca, Nariño, Antioquia, Córdoba, Amazonas, Putumayo, La Guajira and Caquetá.
  • For all children and adolescents nationwide, UNICEF focuses its efforts on reducing the gender, ethnic or economic inequalities affecting them.


The promotion of equality from the earliest stages of life can substantially change the living conditions of children, their families and communities. Consequently, UNICEF focuses its efforts on developing projects that better respond to the needs and diverse capacities of children in Colombia.

Towards this end, and in line with UNICEF’s Global Gender Action Plan, special emphasis has been placed on the prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV)[18] against children and adolescents; the development of actions to promote men’s role in child rearing and care practices and strengthening capacities to improve school environment, with emphasis on the situation of girls and adolescents.

Regarding GBV prevention and response, UNICEF carried out a study to identify social norms behaviours and practices that sustain this form of violence. This study was conducted in Mocoa (Putumayo), Quibdó (Chocó), Montería and Tierralta (Córdoba) with the participation of girls, boys, adolescents, their families, communities and institutional actors. The results of this study will be used during 2018 to design behavioural change strategies aimed at protecting children and adolescents against different forms of GBV, such as sexual abuse.

UNICEF Colombia prioritized Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention and response.

The cultural and social elements affecting men’s participation and coresponsibility in child care and rearing practices were identified and specific actions to facilitate men’s increased involvement will be included in UNICEF’s Caregivers Strategy.

In the field of education, 12 profiles were prepared on the expressions of GBV affecting children and adolescents, which show the need to strengthen school coexistence committees’ actions in order for them to improve their practices to better prevent and respond to sexual violence cases.

Furthermore, in the framework of the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl, UNICEF launched the research document Menstrual Hygiene of Girls from Rural Area Schools in the Colombian Pacific. This event promoted direct and participatory dialogues between girls, adolescents and institutional actors regarding the research findings as well as the challenges that need to be addressed to meet their needs.

In the framework of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, UNICEF held a panel discussion on gender violence and its disproportionate impact on girls, in order to give visibility to raise awareness on this issue. A group of allies and partners participated in this panel.


Through this programmatic component, UNICEF promotes interventions to strengthen the comprehensive management of public policies and programs for children throughout their life cycle stages. Out work is carried out with public and private actors, in the framework of the Social Protection System, the National Family Welfare System, and the National Strategy for Overcoming Poverty. By means of technical and financial cooperation strategies, UNICEF develops capacities among government, private sector and civil society actors for the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policies and investment in favor of children and adolescents, thus ensuring child-centered sustainable development.

UNICEF promotes a child rightssensitive social protection system and a rights-based comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.

In partnership with the ICBF’s National Family Welfare System, the Inter-Sectoral Commission on Early Childhood (CIPI) and Save the Children, UNICEF provided technical assistance for the definition of territorial action plans and the implementation of Comprehensive Action Routes for Early Childhood.

The "Child Friendly Cities" Strategy was agreed with government partners, after carrying out consultations with children. This strategy is aimed at strengthening territorial capacities in: local governance, rights, sustainable development and children. The implementation process at the local level with institutional partners and allies will begin in 2018.

UNICEF also supported the preparation and dissemination of the national report “Analysis and evaluation of the inclusion of issues pertaining to early childhood, childhood, adolescence and strengthening families in 2016-2019 territorial development plans”. The results were presented to influence local policies with Members of the Board of Directors of the Facts and Rights Strategy, and the Colombian Federation of Departments.

With the objective of guaranteeing the effective participation of children and adolescents in public policies, UNICEF supported 25 prioritized territories and provided them with methodologies to ensure that their voices are included in the formulation of projects with an ethnic approach.

In an effort to strengthen interventions in favor of children affected by situations of humanitarian emergency, UNICEF promoted a study to support coordination between the National System for Risk Management and the National Family Welfare System. UNICEF also worked to strengthen the SUIN (Unique System of Normative Information), by transferring SINFONIA’s experience on social cartography at the local level. A methodology on cartography and territorial analysis on the situation of children was also developed.

As part of this alliance and together with the Working Group on Public Social Spending on children, UNICEF supported a study to estimate and collect baseline information regarding public spending on children at the national level. This methodology was applied in 12 public entities accounting for 90% of investment in children at the national level. It is expected that in 2018 the government will be able to systematically adopt this measure of effective investment in children in order to better plan and control public resources for children.

UNICEF supported the analysis of 1,134 Territorial Development Plans to ensure that children’s rights are included in these important local planning tools.

Lastly, UNICEF supported the implementation of the National Plan of Business and Human Rights, by developing the Strategy on Business and Children. This strategy promotes businesses’ co-responsibility so that priority industries (agriculture, tourism and extractive industries) carry out due diligence and risk management in order to ensure that their activities and value chains do not affect children and communities in a negative manner.


social inclusionThe Inclusive Education programme component is aimed at increasing opportunities so that all children from conflict affected areas can access, participate and learn in an inclusive and quality education system.

During 2017, with the objective of promoting children’s access to and permanence in an equitable, inclusive and quality education system, UNICEF continued to advocate with the Ministry of Education in favour of the formulation of the Special Rural Education Plan; the implementation of the ethno-education guidelines; the educational policy for peace; and strengthening schools as protective environments.

Incidency and advocacy efforts before the Ministry of Education in favor of rural education and ethnoeducation continued during the year.

To support the implementation of these policies and educational plans, UNICEF validated various strategies during 2017: "Educational Trajectories" which supports the education secretariats and schools to ensure access, quality and equity of education throughout the cycle of life; "Schools in Peace", which contributes to training in citizenship construction and building a culture of peace in schools; and "Resignification of Community Educational Projects", which supports the cultural adaptation of education for indigenous and Afro-descendant people.

UNICEF designed strategies so that teachers, as well as children and their families create useful instruments for the prevention of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and discrimination. As a result, each school prioritized by UNICEF has its own educational profile on gender in the school environment, which includes GBV aspects.

In order to support the communities most vulnerable to conflict and to strengthen the Ministry of National Education’s capacities to provide education services to all children and adolescents who are currently living in or returning to these communities, UNICEF continued with the formulation of 51 School Risk Management Plans. Work during 2017 yielded the following results: i) educational communities have increased capacities related to mine risk education; ii) teachers were trained in ZIKA prevention; and iii) School Risk Management Plans include recruitment prevention strategies.

UNICEF, along with the Ministry of National Education and the National Board of Education in Emergencies partners, provided technical assistance to educational secretariats and 51 schools in Putumayo, Chocó and Tolima, as well as schools in the Pacific Zone and along the border with Venezuela, in response to various emergencies caused by natural disasters displacement and other forms of conflict.

UNICEF led and mobilized resources to develop a training of trainers on Conflict Sensitive Education, adapting the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) guidelines to the Colombian context and formulating 10 replication plans for this training in the nation’s most affected areas.

With the objective of promoting schools and communities' access to tools to develop and promote school-based initiatives for peacebuilding, reconciliation and resilience, UNICEF launched the Schools in Peace Strategy. This strategy is aimed at building citizenship and a peace culture in 39 schools in Chocó, Cordoba, Cauca and Caquetá, which are areas historically affected by armed conflict.

During 2017, UNICEF continued supporting the second phase of ethnoeducation demonstration models in 68 schools in Cauca and Chocó as a means to strengthen priority municipalities’ capacities to offer learning environments for indigenous and Afro-descendant children. As a result, ethno-pedagogical initiatives were implemented in teacher-led schools, with the participation of ethnic community organizations; 280 teachers acquired tools to improve classroom ethno-pedagogical practices; two school coexistence committees developed strategies on nondiscrimination, respect for diversity and peaceful conflict resolution.

UNICEF continued to advocate with the Ministry of Education on behalf of rural education and ethno-education in 68 schools in Cauca and Chocó.


This component or area addresses the rights of children both in the context of armed conflict and in other social settings. Under this area, UNICEF supported the National Government, local authorities and communities in the implementation of programmes and initiatives that promote the protection of children who have been affected by armed conflict, to ensure their access to transitional justice and guarantee community-based reintegration process for children and adolescents who have been recruited by illegal armed groups- DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration).

In this sense, and at the request of the National Government, UNICEF supported the implementation of the Peace Accord during 2017, by taking the lead in the release, reception and transitional assistance of 116 adolescents who left the ranks of the FARC-EP.

Ten Transitional Reception Sites in seven departments were identified and equipped to ensure initial assistance to this group, including medical and psychosocial care; civil registry services; access to health, education and rights restoration; family reunions; and training in communication skills, conflict resolution; sports, recreation and arts, among others.

We provided technical assistance for the inclusion of children and adolescents’ rights approach in the new transitional justice mechanisms that derived from the agreement between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP.

In the area of mine action, UNICEF worked closely with the Government agency Descontamina Colombia to develop quality control tools and an overall strategy for Mine Risk Education (MRE). This system is oriented to the continuous improvement of the MRE organizations by means of accreditation and certification practices, which are aimed at ensuring that people who act as replicators of safe behaviors fulfill technical and methodological requirements. Additionally, UNICEF and Descontamina Colombia implemented an MRE national model in educational environments aimed at supporting educational communities in five departments (Choco, Nariño, Antioquia, Norte de Santander and Arauca) and four municipalities in each department, to develop personal care competencies related to antipersonnel mines, unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices. 102 teachers were trained in MRE and in turn, they replicated this training with 9.000 children and adolescents and their parents. With regard to transitional justice, UNICEF provided support to the UARIV (Victims’ Unit) for the development of collective reparation systems that include children's participation.

As part of a broader objective of promoting children’s participation in peacebuilding and reconciliation processes, UNICEF transferred the methodology and implementation of the “We are Peace” model to eight partners. This model was successfully implemented in Sucre, Boyacá and Cundinamarca, involving 2,011 children and adolescents in the peacebuilding process. Pilot projects initiated in 2017 will be scaled up during 2018 through 18 community projects in seven departments.

A second expected result of this programmatic component is that children from priority geographic areas have access to child protection systems that allow them to live free from violence, abuse and exploitation, with a particular focus on gender violence. In this regard, UNICEF supported two innovative studies in Chocó, Córdoba, Valle del Cauca, Putumayo and Amazonas. One of these studies focused on the relationship between prevailing social norms and gender-based violence against children, while the other study identified successful examples of information management in programs against child violence.

In response to the emergency in Mocoa, Putumayo, UNICEF responded with interventions in water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection.

UNICEF made progress in the prevention and response to commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children and adolescents in the Triple Border Region of the Amazon. It also participated at national level dialogues on the intersection between indigenous legal systems and the national justice system on issues related to gender based violence and advocated in favour of the public policy on sexual exploitation.

With regards to adolescents accused of crimes, UNICEF provided support to entities from the Juvenile Justice Coordination System to build their capacities for the proper implementation of the System and strengthen the work of the local committees of the juvenile justice system.

In recruitment prevention, since the beginning of the year, UNICEF provided technical assistance and advocacy to key Government partners and cooperation agencies to help formulate the new national policy on prevention of utilization and recruitment of children in the new post-conflict context.

In response to the emergency in Mocoa, Putumayo, UNICEF and its partners installed water tanks and rehabilitated water points in affected schools, procuring and distributing water filters, purification packets with instructions, and hygiene kits to affected families and schools. In education, the Country Office provided the Education Secretariat with two temporary classrooms, 3,770 educational kits for students and 75 teachers’ kits for classrooms. For child protection, UNICEF organized two training workshops on psychosocial impact for teachers and school officials and implemented the “Return to Happiness” programme in which trained adolescents provided peer support for some 2,000 younger school children. In all, some 6,000 children benefitted from the various emergency interventions.


The aim of the Child Survival and Development programme component is to guarantee that children under five who live in rural, indigenous and Afro-descendent communities take advantage of the From Zero to Forever national program and other relevant policies.

This area focused its efforts at the national and local levels to strengthen the capacities of various actors and achieved the following results: i) 828 health sector officials are better prepared to address acute malnutrition in children under 5, and 50 health sector officials in La Guajira and Cesar are better trained in life-saving practices for the adequate management of childbirth and postpartum care; ii) 12,810 children and adolescents and 808 teachers from 16 rural educational institutions are trained in key hygiene, physical activity and healthy eating practices; iii) 101 workers in the health, education, welfare and justice sectors are trained on sexual and reproductive rights and 195 children and adolescents built nine initiatives to reinforce positive behaviours in sexual and reproductive rights; iv) 2,751 families strengthened practices for the prevention of vector-borne diseases at the household level, with support from 170 education agents who were also trained on this matter; v) In Chocó, Córdoba and La Guajira we continued to strengthen family practices to promote early child care and nurturing. We managed to cover 3,246 families and as a result, the three departments achieved an average reduction in the prevalence of diarrhoea and influenza, of 6% and 16% respectively.

The number of children without civil registration decreased, especially in La Guajira, where cases dropped from 69 in 2015 to 25 in 2017. At the community and family level, men’s role in young children’s rearing and care was strengthened and as a result, men were more aware of their responsibility not only as family providers but also as enablers of children’s upbringing.

UNICEF focused its efforts on strengthening the capacities of different actors in Child Survival and Development.

In terms of incidence and advocacy: i) two questions to measure the promotion of hygiene measures in households were included in the Quality of Life Survey; ii) jointly with the vice-ministry of water and sanitation, we supported the formulation of the rural sectoral policy for the use of alternative technologies and a preliminary proposal to regulate Title V of Decree 1953/2014, for the provision and management of water and sanitation resources for indigenous peoples; iii) at territorial level, we supported the formulation of two inter-sectoral projects to obtain funds for the prevention of teenage pregnancy; iv) with National Congress and UN Women, we began implementation of the first phase of the initiative to turn Congress into a breastfeeding-friendly space, in response to Congress’ gender equity plan and Law 1823/2017; v) we strengthened the Ministry of Education’s education for peace model with the Healthy Lifestyles strategy modules.

In knowledge management, UNICEF: i) completed the evaluation of cost-effectiveness and adherence to the national guidelines for the comprehensive management of acute malnutrition in children 0-59 months in the La Guajira department; ii) designed the guide “What needs to be done to promote early childhood development during and after an emergency?” which was shared with the national Government and will be included in the From Zero to Forever strategy; iii) prepared educational material for families, which seeks to make a positive impact on children’s development process by identifying difficulties, delays or alterations and mitigating any resulting negative impacts; iv) designed and validated early education family guidelines consistent with the framework of the Zero to Forever public policy. This was done in coordination with the Inter-Sectoral Commission on Early Childhood (CIPI).

12,810 children and adolescents and 808 teachers from 16 rural educational institutions were trained in key hygiene, physical activity and healthy eating practices.


UNICEF managed to close 2017 with 42,981 friends of children and adolescents, with an average donation of COP $38,000 and a total revenue of COP $ 15.8 billion, once again demonstrating our donors’ trust in UNICEF and our transparency in managing funds.

The 17,000 new donors who enrolled in the UNICEF mission during 2017 contributed 20% of our annual income. Throughout the year, we continued to carry out face-to-face campaigns in Colombia and thanks to the work of these collection teams, we were able to engage 50% of our new donors.

The strategies carried out on digital platforms made it possible to reach new Friends of Children and enabled UNICEF to respond to local emergencies such as that which occurred in Mocoa, Putumayo, as well as emergencies abroad, such as the earthquake in Mexico.

We closed the year with 42,981 friends of children and with COP $ 15.8 billion raised from the private sector.

Our commitment is to continue working to engage new donors and to keep them informed of UNICEF programs, so they have peace of mind regarding the destination of their contributions and continue trusting the leading child rights organization in Colombia and globally.

We wish to thank all of them for their trust and solidarity in improving the quality of life of children and adolescents in Colombia and in other parts of the world.

Corporate Alliances

During 2017, UNICEF continued to work to consolidate its partnerships with private sector allies, including the following:

Productos Familia with its entire portfolio of Pequeñin diapers and baby wipes, which continued to allocate resources to fight malnutrition in La Guajira. Thanks to this contribution, UNICEF and its partners were able to achieve tangible progress in terms of nutrition, civil registration, vaccination and family planning.

With Supermercados Olímpica, we completed an initial 3-year cycle as part of our alliance with this company and its foundation, where thanks to the funds received from the latter and from the supermarket chain’s customers, we funded the Caregivers Program in the communities of Córdoba and La Guajira. At the end of the program, important milestones were achieved in reducing the prevalence of diseases that cause infant mortality, in the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, and in complying with basic guidelines on household hygiene.

Through its baby clothing brand Baby Fresh, the Crystal group launched its first collection for the benefit of children in Chocó. As a result, quantifiable progress was achieved in terms of vaccination, breastfeeding and safe water in communities in that department.

The private sector showed a strong and committed response to the emergency in Mocoa Putumayo, and several companies such as Mercado Libre, Grupo Mexichem - Pavco, the Club el Nogal, General Electric, Google, Grupo Familia and the Union of Bilingual Schools (UCB), responded with generosity to our call.

We strongly appreciate all organizations that remained by our side during 2017: Universal Studios, Johnson & Johnson, Hoteles Estelar, Hotel Caribe, GEF, Legis, Hotel Capilla del Mar, Hotel Santa Clara and Unisiys.

Our alliance with Banco de Bogotá was one of our main achievement during the year. We invited their cardholders to become Friends of Children and we were able to engage 2,000 new donors.

The Banco Pichincha was also our ally in the banking sector. Through its flagship product "education credit", it supported malnutrition care programs in the country.


The ninth edition of the UNICEF 10K running race was successfully organized, bringing together close to 6,000 participants. We thank Powerade, the main sponsor and the Bogota Chamber of Commerce, Banco de Bogotá, Baby Fresh from Crystal Group and the Recreation and Sports Institute for their participation.



communicationsDuring 2017, UNICEF continued to encourage the power of communication to promote the rights of children and the consolidation of peace in Colombia. Our communications strategy was aimed at conducting advocacy, raising public consciousness and support for children's rights and strengthening UNICEF's position to mobilize and raise funds for children.

The Colombian context posed challenges in terms of communications, especially external communications regarding the reintegration of children formerly associated with the FARC-EP, considering UNICEF’s need to protect these demobilized children. Nonetheless, we maintained a positive message throughout 2017, conveying optimism and confidence for children in Colombia.

Our work in communications was harmonized with the office’s programmatic interventions as well as its mobilization and fundraising strategies in favor of children and adolescents.

In this sense and under the banner of children's rights, inclusion and peace, UNICEF's communications activities in 2017 focused on aspects ranging from health and hygiene, education and development, to the inclusion of children in national policies, laws and budgets. Communications activities also paid special attention to the promotion of gender equality, as well as the elimination of violence against children and peacebuilding in Colombian territory.

UNICEF contributed to the communications work of the wider UN system, collaborating with the inter-agency stand at the Book Fair, formulating joint public announcements against different types of violence, coordinating the participation of the Good Will Ambassadors as facilitators in the World's Largest Lesson event, related to the SDG, where 5,000 children and 600 young people participated.

Our strategy involving Good Will Ambassadors who participated in eight visits to field projects and fund-raising campaigns, produced a strong communication resource and raised the voices of children and adolescents.

In terms of innovation, we made progress in traditional media, accounting for 82% of the messages about children in a selected sample of the most important child-focused organizations in Colombia. We increased our reach in social networks by 22%, eliciting 525 million hits on UNICEF produced messages on children in both traditional and digital media.

Our communications strategy was aimed at conducting advocacy, raising public consciousness and support for children's rights and strengthening UNICEF's position to mobilize and raise funds for children.

We also recognized that some traditional forms of communication still work better in certain circumstances, for instance, when making use of face-to-face and local community networks to facilitate information regarding UNICEF's work.

Campaigns such as Father's Day, Girl´s Day and World Children's Day, carried out with support from Caracol TV and Caracol Inspira, among others, enhanced our communications footprint.

We supported the visit of the UNICEF Norwegian National Committee, generating human interest stories for their national Telethon based on the Schools for Peace and Mine Risk Education (MRE) strategies in former conflict zones, which in turn helped raise significant funding for those projects.


We wish to acknowledge and thank each of our individual donors, operating partners, civil society, communications agencies, the media, the private sector, the academia, the United Nations system and donor countries. UNICEF’s work in favor of children’s rights is only possible when it’s carried out as part of a team.

We wish to thank TBWA, the strategic and creative agency that for another consecutive year provided the creative work required by UNICEF for several campaigns.

We also express our gratitude to Publik and to Caracol Television’s social responsibility area for raising the voice of Colombian and the world’s children and adolescents.

We are grateful for the pro bono work that the NetBangers digital agency carries out by managing different digital issues in social media for UNICEF.

We acknowledge the fundamental and representative support provided during 2017 by: UNICEF’s US National Committee (UNICEF USA), USAID, The United States of America Government, UNICEF’s German National Committee, the MDTF, UNODC, the Government of Colombia, UNICEF’s Iceland National Committee and the European Commission (EC).

From our Good Will Ambassadors


We need to understand that child malnutrition, illiteracy, sexual abuse and abandonment in Colombia are a scourge of our society.


Children must be protected so they can live in dignity and enjoy opportunities and rights. As a UNICEF ambassador, I've finally become what I wanted to be when I grew up and it is to BE A GIRL again.


The world would undoubtedly change, if we could at least spare one generation of children from mistreatment, neglect and deprivation. I invite you all to give it a try.


Children must be protected because they are the seeds of society and because whatever we don’t do for them now, we won’t be able to do later.


Children are important to my country because they are the soul, they are the present, they are the pure essence of our life. How boring and sad this world would be without children’s laughter.


Both the State and society have a vital, fundamental and serious obligation towards our children and adolescents, their development and the respect for their integrity and their rights. I commit myself to this.

ambassador ambassador

We live in times where reality exceeds our discursive capacity. Consequently, awareness and protection of children’s rights are important, and we need to facilitate education and development opportunities so children can contribute to our country. We are responsible for providing them with tools that foster empathy, love, education, safety and health.

ambassador ambassador

Since I became an aunt, I developed a special sensitivity for children and now that I am a mother, it has become stronger. I am concerned that our children are unprotected, that we are not currently taking care of them. Children need us more than ever. Let's take off the blindfold of this complex situation.


We must focus our attention on children and protect them because they are the starting point where we can all plant the good things we want to achieve in our country.


Children need us; they need our attention, love, education, privileges and protection. Children must be protected from the corruption of civilization.


Our job is to preserve the lives and good conditions of our children. Children’s love and tenderness in all their actions are the best reward.


Children are the present, we must help them, educate them. We must protect their happiness and teach them values, so that we as society can reap the fruits and have a better world!


If we manage to raise awareness on children’s social, economic and cultural problems through our work, we are taking giant steps to improve their conditions.


When they ask me why children should be protected, I feel that our species is in danger. I have no answer, it is something that we should all know by nature, without the need for an explanation.