PADF and OAS to Support Colombia in the Comprehensive Plan to Help at-risk Youth

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Washington, D.C (Jan. 30, 2013) – The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the government of Colombia signed a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan for the Promotion of Children and Adolescents with Opportunities (PIP) promoted by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and designed to combat the forced recruitment of children by armed groups and criminals, through the creation and instrumentation of multisectoral centers.

The PIP, created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia in collaboration with PADF, aims to generate environments and spaces that ensure the safe development of children and adolescents, through the promotion of educational, sports and cultural initiatives that take place during extracurricular time.

At the signing ceremony, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, the Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, stressed that the initiative "provides opportunities for the Colombian youth" and expressed gratitude for the trust the government of that country has deposited in PADF through the OAS. He also highlighted the leadership demonstrated by Colombia in projects related to the development, innovation and creation of opportunities. "I hope these cooperation initiatives multiply and serve as an example of how the OAS can support its member countries," he added.

The Deputy Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer of PADF, Dr. Judith Hermanson, expressed thanks for the trust placed in the institution and said that the PIP program has a strong impact on the lives of countless at-risk youth in Colombia. She considered the agreement an opportunity to reaffirm the ongoing partnership with the OAS, "an organization that has been instrumental in the establishment and operation of our Foundation." "We feel very privileged to be part of this process and to contribute to the peace process that is taking place in Colombia," she added.

For his part, Ambassador Andres Gonzalez, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the OAS, welcomed the support of the OAS and the PADF. "This initiative is very important for the future of our young generations, which are the starting point of development," he said, and added that "another priority of our country is the poverty that always affects first the most vulnerable: children, and female heads of households. "

PADF is a private non-profit organization created by the OAS in 1962, dedicated to the implementation of development projects in the countries of the Americas, especially those targeting poor populations, entrepreneurs, community enterprises and helping civil society organizations with support from the public and private sectors.

About PADF

PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integrated socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2011, it helped more than 7.5 million persons in 23 countries.  Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia and other countries.

About the OAS

The Organization of American States (OAS) is the world’s oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, which was held in Washington, D.C. from October 1889 to April 1890. Today, it is comprised of 34 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean. The Pan American Development Foundation, which was created in 1962, is an affiliate of the OAS.