With two million inhabitants, Cali is the capital of the Valle del Cauca department in the south of the country. The third most populated city in Colombia has seen economic progress over the years, and a number of multinational companies have made it their base.
Despite these gains, many families still live in poverty. Because of the armed conflict, many used to live in rural areas in southwestern Colombia but were forced to leave their homes and move to the city. They now have to make a new life in an urban environment.
Since 2007, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Cali.
The rapid urbanization process in Colombia, and internal displacement resulting from the long civil war, have led to a shortage of urban services. This means that housing, water, sanitation, and quality public transportation are not available in sufficient quantities. This can also lead to high unemployment, underemployment, insecurity and violence in the cities.
The slums around Cali are a case in point. Children and young people living in these conditions, often don’t go to school and parents are unable to provide for their most basic needs.
Across Colombia, 7% of the population lives in extreme poverty and cannot meet their minimum basic food needs. As a result, 4 million people are undernourished - and 12% of children are stunted, which means they are not as tall as they should be for their age.
Stunting is the result of inadequate nutrition. For children to reach their full physical and cognitive potential, access to adequate health care and nutrition is essential.