Habitat for Humanity in Colombia
Habitat for Humanity Colombia enables vulnerable communities to gain access to adequate housing through holistic programs for neighborhood improvement and home improvement in poor settlements. Learn more at hphcolombia.org.
Housing need in Colombia
In recent years, the economic growth of Colombia has placed the country among the world’s “emerging economies,” but nearly 34 percent of the population still lives in poor conditions (DANE, 2005). Colombia also is the world’s seventh most inequitable country (World Bank, 2012).
Colombia has been experiencing violent internal conflict for more than 50 years. Since 1985, 5.9 million Colombians have been violently displaced as a result of this conflict (CODHES, 2014).
In search of safety and a better future, the displaced population migrates to urban areas, and informal settlements proliferate on the cities’ periphery. As a result, 3.8 million households, or 29.1 percent of all households in Colombia, do not have adequate housing (according to Ministry of Housing estimates from 2013), and 662,146 families, or 5 percent, are homeless.
Habitat’s contribution in Colombia
Challenges posed by the informal settlements include lack of secure tenure; lack of access to basic services; poor structural quality; low accessibility to resources for the progressive construction of a house; and unequal access to educational equipment, social and health services, and employment possibilities.
Habitat Colombia enables holistic slum improvement projects led by the communities, with the active participation of public and private partners, donors and volunteers. The goal is to reduce the qualitative housing deficit in urban zones by 10 percent by 2018. This is performed through strategies at the community, sectorial and societal levels.
- Community: Housing solutions and housing access services
Through participatory territorial diagnoses, construction technical assistance, training, and workshops that promote community self-management, Habitat Colombia enables the construction of progressive housing and the improvement of community infrastructure in informal settlements.
- Sector: Territorial development of markets and advocacy
Habitat Colombia seeks to create the necessary market knowledge for the private sector to develop affordable and high-quality products and services for home improvement in informal settlements. Likewise, Habitat Colombia advocates for home improvement, secure tenure, access to basic services and the improvement of collective infrastructure.
- Society: Awareness and Mobilization
Habitat Colombia designs and implements campaigns, events and actions to raise awareness, share experiences and promote adequate housing access alternatives for vulnerable populations.
Through our construction and non-construction volunteer opportunities, we support the growth of communities. National and international volunteers can donate time, work and talent to help families access a decent and adequate home.
Habitat Colombia also saw the need to diversify our local funding sources by seeking donations with a good level of commitment and frequency. We are continually expanding our communication channels with donors, making our collection processes more transparent, developing management and transparency reports on the contributions, demonstrating that the investment is managed efficiently and reliably, inviting donors to participate in our projects, and showing them the great work Habitat Colombia is doing.
Meet a Habitat family
Yeimy Pachón started building her house in 2010 with one room and a bathroom, but she could not live there with her children, Zuly, 11, and Harvey, 7, who has autism.
Habitat for Humanity sent 13 volunteers from the Global Village program to the country in November 2013 to help Pachón improve her house with a new roof, hydro-sanitary installation, a kitchen, another room and a finished floor.
“Each thing a person does for others is then multiplied,” Pachón said.
After the Global Village project, Pachón built two more rooms, and she is currently building a second story.roject is aimed at educating and accompanying partner families in the planning and administration of their home economy.
To learn more about Habitat’s projects in Colombia, please contact us
Telephone: 001157 (1) 2350090
Date of Independence or creation of the state: July 20, 1810
Life expectancy: 77 years
Unemployment rate: 9.65 percent
Percent of the population living below the line of poverty: 34 percent, with 9.6 percent living in extreme poverty.