Colombia - A helping hand during very difficult times
UN Women

Colombia - A helping hand during very difficult times

Barbacoas, Colombia, has been heavily affected by armed conflict. And, as in many places around the world, the pandemic led to increased violence against women and made access to care and justice more difficult.

A UN Women-led project funded by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), implemented by Fundeas and local municipalities, aims to strengthen the emergency response to gender-based violence.

Resilience kits with emergency aid, food, hygiene kits were delivered to women-headed households, and education materials regarding referrals for violence, food security, and COVID-19 prevention.

“It’s not easy now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, when the cost of food and other items has increased, and many of us don’t have a permanent job,” said Ananis Caroline Cortes Henao, who received some of the supplies.

Updating the care routes for women affected by violence has also been necessary. Training was delivered to civil servants and local leaders to ensure they knew the system and could refer people effectively. “[These are] topics [one can] put into practice with one’s community and with one’s own family,” noted Estella Segura, a local leader in Barbacoas.

The project provides technical assistance and equipment for the shelter for women victims in Pasto, guaranteeing access to women with disabilities and prioritizing women from Barbacoas and Pasto, to provide care and protection for women throughout the region.

“For me, this humanitarian aid has been a support. Women are going through very difficult times in Barbacoas due to the pandemic. These grants are a helping hand for us as well as for our families,” said Cristina Castillo, a woman who participated in the project.


CERF is one of the fastest and smartest ways to help people affected by crises. The fund enables timely, effective and life-saving humanitarian action by UN agencies and others to kick-start or reinforce emergency response anywhere required. Allocation decisions for underfunded emergencies are based on detailed analysis of more than 70 humanitarian indicators and wide consultation with stakeholders.

Since its creation by the UN General Assembly in 2005, and with generous contributions from 129 Member States and Observers, as well as other donors, CERF has assisted hundreds of millions of people with over $7.5 billion across 110 countries and territories.