Facts About Our Work in
Food For The Poor (FFTP) began serving in Colombia in 2014, partnering with the Order of Malta, which is one of the oldest lay religious orders of the Catholic Church. The Order of Malta is a neutral, impartial and apolitical organization that facilitates the distribution of needed medical supplies within the South American country.
In 2019, FFTP formed a partnership with Minuto de Dios, a Colombian nonprofit that for more than 60 years has provided counseling, job training and homes to families living in poverty. Together, FFTP and Minuto de Dios have been helping the tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants who have fled their home country to escape shortages of food, water, and medicine, and ultimately achieve a better life in Colombia.
Food security is a critical need in Colombia. In fact, the World Food Programme (WFP) anticipates food insecurity to deteriorate further “over the coming months due to a combination of political instability, economic challenges and the ongoing impact of the regional migratory crisis amplified by internal displacement.” According to the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview, 7.3 million Colombians are food insecure and in need of food assistance.
- For example, the average monthly cost of a food basket for one person in 2020 was approximately $42. Currently, the minimum salary in Colombia is approximately $256. For a family of at least four with a breadwinner earning the minimum salary, $160 is already spent on basic food baskets, leaving a family of four $96 to spend on other necessities. With rent, transportation costs, public utilities, and school costs, it is almost impossible for impoverished families to survive. What is most concerning is the high inflation rate on food and beverages, and is likely to continue affecting the purchasing power of vulnerable households.
- The Ombudsman’s Office raised the alarm for acute malnutrition in children under 5 years of age across various departments in Colombia. Within the data they revealed that Bogotá is the region with the highest number of reported cases of children in early childhood with acute malnutrition with 1,525, followed by La Guajira with 691, Antioquia with 598, Cundinamarca with 577, and Norte de Santander with 487.
- By the end of 2020, Colombia is now marked as the second most unequal country in the Latin America and Caribbean region next to Haiti and the fifth most unequal country in the world.
As stated by the Executive Director of Minuto de Dios Fr. Mario Polo, it is much more difficult to escape poverty in Colombia than it is in Honduras. To reduce food insecurity in Colombia, FFTP is committed to supporting agricultural livelihoods, whether it be rural farmers or families with home gardens, with essential supplies and proper technical training
The WFP expresses that despite Colombia’s “gradual recovery from the contraction in 2020, still-depressed employment opportunities, coupled with rising prices and declining purchasing power, are exacerbating economic losses caused by the pandemic.”
Understanding the importance of economic development and supporting micro-businesses, FFTP provided support to many Venezuelan migrant care centers throughout Colombia. These centers offered empowerment support to overcome the struggles that come from migratory grief along with economic assistance in the form of seed capital to help put viable micro-businesses in a much better position to increase their levels of income, and offered job skills training workshops to help Venezuelans access the Colombian job market and obtain jobs. Monalissa Rodriguez was one of our beneficiaries who fled her country and became a rising entrepreneur thanks to the program. Click on the link to watch her testimonial: https://youtu.be/uKBpxptQdDA.
In 2021, FFTP sent 34 containers of aid to Colombia.
- In 2021, FFTP supported a total of 270 Venezuelan migrant entrepreneurs in the following locations:
- 50 Venezuelan migrants in Villavicencio
- 50 Venezuelan migrants in Pasto
- 50 Venezuelan migrants in Bucaramanga
- 70 Venezuelan migrants in Bogota
- 50 Venezuelan migrants in Medellin
The Palma Real Sustainable Community Development Project in Colombia is currently being implemented in Granada, located nearly two hours south of Villavicencio, the capital of Meta state. The sustainable community will have 60 three-bedroom houses with clean water, sanitation and electricity. FFTP participated in the second inaugural event of Palma Real in November 2021, delivering keys to the next group of 20 families to their new homes. Click on the link for a recap: https://youtu.be/sEmNy15G7C4. You can also hear the words of gratitude from one of the beneficiaries via this video: https://youtu.be/8M6nL-bbjxo.
- FFTP will build an Integral Development Center, which will deliver services to the community and assist with social development, income-generating activities, and training, as well as other social programs.
Through FFTP, the Order of Malta Colombia is currently building the City of God Entrenubes Sustainable Development Project in San Cristobal, Bogota, which will be inaugurated in 2022. The sustainable community will have 72 two-bedroom homes with clean water, sanitation and electricity. As part of the building’s design, there will be communal spaces which will deliver services to the community and assist with social development, income-generating activities and training, as well as other social programs. See the latest visit we made to the project site in November 2021: https://youtu.be/CwgJT9pvRFU.
At the end of 2021, we, alongside Order of Malta Colombia, installed four potable water systems to four communities in La Guajira benefiting a total of 1,150 families or 3,995 persons. La Guajira is Colombia’s desert, very arid and dry, so water is extremely hard to come by within this region. Hear the responses from some of the beneficiaries of the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uVgxalR6bo.
Colombia is located within the northwest region of South America and is the continent’s most populous Spanish-speaking nation. Roughly twice the geographic size of France, Colombia is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, as well as Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.
The population is approximately 50,355,650. The language is Spanish, and its largest religion is Catholicism. The currency is the peso, and it is South America’s fourth-largest economy with a GDP per capita of $13,400.