Almost 8,000 victims benefited from the work of Heartland Alliance International during 2020

According to Ramón Rodríguez, director of the Victims Unit, the actions of that allied organization empowered the victims and taught them to take advantage of their resilience and transformation.

Bogotá, D.C.Bogotá, D.C.

"Strengthening the care of almost 8,000 victims in different areas of the country is a great achievement that we praise from the 2020 management of Heartland Alliance International (HAI)," said Ramón Rodríguez, director of the Victims Unit, after hearing the report balance of this cooperating partner during this term.

In compliance with the letter of understanding signed since October 21st , 2019 and whose validity extends until June 2021, the cooperating partner Heartland Alliance International Colombia, under the country leadership of Esteban Moreno, developed comprehensive actions for psychosocial care for victims of the armed conflict, that allow the recognition and effective enjoyment of their rights under a psychosocial approach, action without harm, gender and life project.  

HAI's country director, Esteban Moreno, reported on the scope of the two programs in force in Colombia. In this context, he explained that MAS Resilience is the abbreviation of the project: "Improving Access to Health: Resilience, Healing and Protection."

Moreno specified that it is a humanitarian initiative financed by the Office of Population, Refugees and Migration of the United States Department of State and that its execution began in September 2019, with a duration of 36 months, with which it is expected to serve more 40,000 people with quality mental health and psychosocial support services, as well as socio-legal counseling and guidance in Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Nariño and Córdoba.

“Being a response program to the emergency generated by the internal armed conflict, which also serves the migrant, returnee and host populations, it is committed to building on the basis of local knowledge and capacity, which is why it uses a methodology based on the community through which survivors of the conflict are trained as Community Agents to be emotional caregivers and counselors for those who have also suffered from violence, ”he stressed. 

Speaking of the challenges and challenges for 2021, the director of Heartland Alliance International, pointed out that Más Resiliencia, hopes to overcome the changes in face-to-face care imposed by COVID-19 and isolation measures, as well as to prepare in a qualified way the teams and participants, and improve connectivity conditions, among others.

More good practices

About the ACOPLE project - Alliance with Organizations for the Emotional, born in 2010 as an initiative of several national and international organizations convened by Heartland Alliance International to offer mental health services and psychosocial support to victims and survivors of the Buenaventura and Quibdó armed conflict, through culturally appropriate services, ended in 2020.

During its decade of operation, it had the support of the National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES) for its implementation and funding from USAID Colombia. The implementation cost of the project was approximately eight million dollars. 

In 2020, ACOPLE was established as a national non-profit organization promoted and created by the Heartland Alliance International organization , as a founding partner. In 2021, the ACOPLE Foundation will seek, in addition to financial resources, to strengthen its organizational capacity to continue accompanying victims and vulnerable populations on the Colombian Pacific coast.

During its term, ACOPLE provided psychosocial support services to 3,650 victims and survivors of the armed conflict, strengthened the capacity of 1,326 officials from governmental and non-governmental organizations on issues related to mental health care and psychosocial support for victims of the armed conflict, and trained more than 100 community leaders to become community psychosocial agents. 

The implementation of the ACOPLE program left lessons learned and good practices for support and psychosocial rehabilitation. In addition to having provided psychosocial support to a significant number of victims on the Colombian Pacific coast and installing community and organizational capacity for psychosocial rehabilitation, it is a benchmark in psychosocial support and mental health in Buenaventura and Quibdó and at the national level, facilitating the positioning of community methodologies for psychosocial accompaniment to victims.

2020 Figures

* Face-to-face psychoeducation workshops at Regional Victims Attention Centers, CRAV, on mental health and psychosocial well-being issues: 2,895 beneficiaries.

* Mental and psychosocial health care for people who are victims of the armed conflict, individually or in groups, according to previous agreements with the Subdirectorate for Prevention and Attention to Emergencies, SPAE and the Psychosocial Group of the Unit in which aspects are determined at the moment, mode and place, according to the needs of the Unit: 3,184 people who received care through the More Resilience program and with the Acople program, a total of 292 participants, victims of the armed conflict had access to mental health services and psychosocial support in 2020 .

* Promote spaces for joint work and exchange on methodological approaches and approach strategies in psychosocial care. The Unit participated in the expert peer review of the ACOPLE care protocols in its individual and group modalities, to strengthen and qualify tools and methodological strategies for care.  

* Carry out training workshops for officials, contractors and collaborators of the Unit on issues of mental health, psychosocial care and emotional self-care: The strategy for care of equipment with SPAE was presented at the national level, two sessions of equipment care were held with each group in which 20 people participated, between October and December 2020. In Territorial Córdoba, there were five sessions with 12 participants per session; With the Cauca territory, during December, a face-to-face work session was held with 4 groups in which 4 caregiver care sessions were held and similar activities are expected to be carried out during the first quarter of 2021 with the Nariño territory.

* Delivery of protection elements in six CRAVs in: Quibdó, Popayán, Santander de Quilichao, Tumaco, Santiago de Cali, and Buenaventura, to complement personal protection measures for officials and victims in the framework of the health emergency, under the coordination of HAI , the Territorial Directorates and the Mayors of the targeted municipalities.