Ecuador hosts the largest number of refugees in Latin America. Most are Colombians who fled the armed conflict that began in their country in the 1960s. An estimated 160,000 people need international protection, but only about 53,000 have been granted official refugee status. Refugees have settled mainly in the provinces of Pichincha, Sucumbíos, Esmeraldas, Carchi and Imbabura. The people who suffer most as refugees are children, women, indigenous people and Afro-Colombians, the poor and people with disabilities.
In partnership with the Scalabrinian Mission, we work with Colombian refugees and representatives of the communities where they resettle.
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In Ecuador, Catholic Relief Services helps Colombian refugees through local partners such as the Scalabriniana Mission. »»
When decades-long fighting spilled onto their land, Colombians fled their homes. Now, CRS supporters are helping them build new lives. »»
|Population:||15,223,680 (July 2012 est.)|
|Size:||109,484 sq. mi.; slightly smaller than Nevada|
|People Served:||23,000 (2012 est.)|
Catholic Relief Services began working in Ecuador in 1955, providing food, medicine, clothes and school nutrition programs. Over the years, however, development indicators showed that charity and direct assistance were not breaking the cycle of poverty.
In response, the Catholic Church began working with indigenous communities to strengthen local organizations, improve access to land and introduce new farming methods. Such initiatives proved that sustainable development requires integrated economic, social and organizational programs. We have built on that approach, serving vulnerable and marginalized communities in Ecuador with humanitarian aid, natural disaster preparation and response; rural, health and childhood development programs and microfinance. In 2009, CRS decided to change its strategic focus on country. We now focus on aid to and integration of Colombian refugees as well as sustainable livelihoods projects along the northern border.
Civil Society and Governance