Colombia Youth Resilience Activity

Latin American teen

Ongoing internal conflict has plagued Colombia since 1985, seriously affecting the country’s children and youth. In addition, youth have faced challenges due to low economic opportunities and resulting despair; the appeal of illicit activities; intrafamily violence; weak relationships with parents and caring adults; bullying; self-harm; substance abuse; normalization of intergenerational and community violence; and significant social stigma against former youth offenders, disengaged child soldiers, and migrants upon return to their communities.

The Colombia Youth Resilience Activity (YRA) aims to address these challenges in high-risk communities across the country by designing a holistic solution that fosters youth assets and agency, while also strengthening protective environments, healthy relationships, and economic opportunities.

YRA, designed with and for Colombian youth, boasts an inclusive systems approach with and through a diverse range of local actors in target municipalities to jointly analyze the root causes of youth vulnerability, identify critical leverage points to address systemic issues, and co-create activities that drive sustainable change. Using a socio-ecological perspective, YRA’s approach starts with the youth themselves and targets multiple social and environmental layers impacting youth’s positive development.

AIR is providing technical assistance to support systems-oriented collaboration, learning and adaptation and monitoring and evaluation (MEL) activities. We are helping the YRA team design and implement an MEL system that incorporates systems-level measurements such as a youth resilience metric—Youth Resilience Assessment Tool, to comprehensively assesses five dimensions and 19 risk and protective factors. Furthermore, AIR will support the YRA learning agenda and provide capacity building support and targeted technical assistance as needed to local partners to conduct action research and periodic studies and assessments.