In December 2020, USAID/Colombia awarded a cooperative agreement to ACDI/VOCA for the prime role of implementing the five-year Youth Resilience Activity. This $50 million investment by the U.S. government will support youth in high-risk environments to reach their full potential as safe, productive, healthy, and engaged participants with positive enabling environments where violence is prevented, and risks associated with crime are mitigated. This will be achieved as the Youth Resilience Activity works to establish healthy relationships and networks and create protective, youth-centric environments. The Activity will also work to empower youth economically and use strategic communications to support greater social cohesion within their communities.

After decades of armed conflict, Colombian youth are especially vulnerable to crime and violence. While a large portion of Colombian youth lack job skills and opportunities, many also face the risks of becoming involved in illicit activities.  

Youth in high-risk environments for this Activity include disengaged child soldiers, abuse survivors, former youth offenders, and youth living in low socioeconomic conditions and migrant receptor communities. The Activity will also work with youth who are vulnerable to recruitment and utilization or at risk of gender-based and intrafamily violence.

Over the next five years, ACDI/VOCA plans to reach 65,500 participants, including 30,000 youth, and facilitate the recovery of 117 public spaces for community use. We aim to support at least 50 institutions in their delivery of improved youth-centered relief services. The Youth Resilience Activity also plans to facilitate 150 public-private partnerships and develop 120 outreach events and products through its consortium of partners.

These partners include World Vision, Pastoral Social, Fabiola Morera Comunicaciones, American Institutes for Research, and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Youth Observatory.

ACDI/VOCA has implemented several programs in Colombia with aspects focused on positive youth development and empowerment. These have included the USAID-funded Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Program and the ongoing Program of Alliances for Reconciliation among others. Learn more about our work in Colombia.