September 2014 - Colombia
The armed conflict in Colombia has a profound impact on the population. Throughout the country adolescents and youth see their rights violated, including often the right to education. To make matters worse, numerous natural disasters have further limited access to education.
Recently, two important laws have been promulgated: the Victims Law and the Attention to Populations in Emergency Law. This new legal framework will provide a stronger base for the National Ministry of Education and RET International to collaborate on establishing adequate risk management.
The key issue of this coordinated action is to guarantee the right to education of vulnerable young people, throughout the Colombian territory.
This is already complex in stable environments and is therefore extremely challenging in armed conflict and fragile contexts. It is equally difficult to raise awareness of the need to incorporate a human rights approach to risk management. This is however possible through RET International’s long experience in education in emergencies in Colombia.
RET International was therefore trusted with the mission of strengthening the capacities of 94 Education Secretariats and preparing technical committees specialised in education for vulnerable populations and victims of violence.
In a second phase RET International’s expertise also served to help 376 educational institutions develop School Risk Management Plans. This allowed the implementation of an information system that strengthens the actions of the Ministry of Education and also ensures the protection of the population.
This project funded by the Colombian Ministry of Education is thus highly complex. It ranges from an emergency response perspective to one that implies being able to guarantee the continuity of education for the most vulnerable populations. This requires preparing teachers, raising awareness of authorities and developing the technical skills in the National Secretariats in conjunction with guidelines from the Ministry.
For RET International it is clear that for government policies to work they have to be the result of contributions made by the educational communities in every locality. This guarantees that local needs are being met. Coordination of all actors is fundamental, which is why RET International is an active member of the National Group for Education in Emergencies.
All this must lead to an increase of resilience of the Colombian educational system, which in turn will help young people all over Colombia.