Our work with the Government of Colombia continues to grow and expand. Yesterday, PADF signed a new agreement at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. that will help us support even further Colombia’s priority to prevent at-risk children and youth from being recruited by illegal armed groups.
The agreement called “Integral Program – Boy, Girls and Adolescents with Opportunities” (“Plan Integral para la Promoción de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes con Oportunidades”) or “PiP + 20” for short, will support Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs strategy during 2013 – 2014 to help local groups establish 20 new locally run multi-service centers in 14 departments (states) to aid and counsel at-risk youth, similar to the Boys and Girls Clubs or YMCAs in the U.S. This is a new initiative that President Juan Manuel Santos is spearheading as part of his administration’s efforts to accelerate the peace process in Colombia, reintegrate ex-combatants, and combat recruitment by illegal armed groups and gangs.
This program is intended to nurture an environment that reduces the vulnerability of children and youth to illegal activities by using recreation and sports, art and culture, and educational strengthening and leisure activities. Our office in Colombia, which has already worked since 2011 in a pilot program on this same issue, is getting ready to begin this new phase.
During yesterday’s agreement signing ceremony at the OAS, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, OAS Assistant Secretary General and Vice Chairman of the PADF Board of Trustees said, “I want to thank the Government of Colombia for the trust and confidence in PADF through the OAS. It’s a great opportunity to see this funding being trusted to execute programs in Colombia that will provide new opportunities for young people.”