SOS Children's Villages'

Family & Community Development Center


Chocó: A region left behind 

Due to its strategic location between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the region of Chocó on Colombia's west coast, faces a complex reality marked by a lack of development opportunities, social vulnerability and the presence of illicit activities, such as drug trafficking. Largely populated by Indigenous and African descendant communities, children and families in Chocó are uniquely vulnerable to poverty-related threats.

45% of the people in Chocó are living in poverty—the highest rate in the country.

79% of the population are living without basic needs, including adequate nutrition, clean water, access to education, health care and human rights’ protection.

Armed conflict in Colombia results in constant human rights violations, disproportionately affecting children and adolescents. 

A lack of state presence, weak institutions, and a high unemployment rate, result in multiple socioeconomic gaps.

A critical need

Families in Chocó face structural inequities, extreme poverty, threats from illegal armed groups and a lack of economic opportunities. These life-threatening challenges compromise parents’ ability to protect and care for their themselves and their children. 

Violence and child abuse further exacerbate this situation, violating children’s rights and threatening family stability. 

Our strategic response

In 2008, SOS Children’s Villages initiated activities in Chocó through an ambitious effort aimed at protecting, educating and advocating for the most vulnerable children, young people and families. 

Scaling on our successes, in 2020 we permanently established our family strengthening programing and services in Quibdó, to maximize our impact empowering participants, uplifting families and fostering a stable and resilient community.

SOS Children’s Villages' 

Family & Community Development Center

The Family and Community Development Center 
in Quibdó is a physical space in the community where people come together to grow. 

Here, programs and services are offered to those at high risk of separation due to issues related to poverty, violence and child abuse. We serve the most at-risk children, young people and families, including Indigenous people, women displaced by conflict, single mothers and LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Our impact 

Through the Family and Community Development Center, SOS social workers, psychologists and educators are driving change in family and community development, coordination of strategic alliances, productivity and employability, promotion of human rights and access to legal counseling. Our multidisciplinary approach ensures comprehensive care for the well-being and development of the community.


Each year, the Family and Community Development Center hosts 50 families, reaching more than 120 children and adolescents and 215 parents or primary caregivers. 


Since 2015, 330 families have strengthened their protection and care skills, preventing separation and ensuring protective environments for children in this conflict-affected area.


More than 300 children and adolescents have participated in protection skills-building activities—participation which contributes to child protection (use of free time) and reduces risks such as child recruitment.



Hope for a brighter future: Meet Yuli

An Indigenous Colombian girl participates in youth leadership activity in Choco


After crossing the Atrato river by boat, you’ll reach Bahía Solano—a neighborhood with one of the highest poverty rates in Chocó. It’s also where you’ll find Yuli*, a bright 14-year-old girl, who lives there with her mother, grandmother and her 8 siblings.

Yuli and her family, along with 74 other families from her community were selected to participate in the project “Joining Forces for the Protection of Children in Emergencies” at the SOS Children’s Villages Family and Community Development Center in Quibdó.

“When I arrived the first time, I thought the talks they gave us were very cool. What they taught us seemed important to me, and I decided to come every day to listen to the teachers.” Yuli says.

Activities at the Center helped Yuli gain self-confidence and learn how to protect herself. “I was very frightened and I hardly liked going out in public, but here I learned to express myself, and the truth is they give me the floor for my opinions to say what I know and what I have learned.”    

On learning to protect herself against potential child recruiters, Yuli explains, “[My SOS teacher] has helped me at school too, because what they have taught me — when [recruiters] approach me at school, I already knew what I was going to say.”

Yuli is part of the “Community Friends” team, a strategy of SOS Children's Villages that strengthens and empowers youth leadership within the communities to be multipliers of knowledge about children's rights and resources for other young 
people on topics such as life skills, protection, healthy communication and more.

Yuli is proud of her accomplishments on the Community Friends team: “I want to tell you that I am part of the community friends. I like helping the teachers, taking care of the kids, I like all of that. For me, a community friend is not just putting on a sweater and saying that; it’s like leading something, helping teachers, guiding people to be better and teaching them what we know so that they learn too.”

*Name changed to protect identity.

Children are at risk.
You could be the answer. 

Children are now facing a difficult reality. Next year, changes in Colombia’s government funding agenda will leave the most vulnerable communities in Chocó without support. While other organizations are supplying toys and sports activities for children, SOS is filling a critical gap for young people—providing education and protection services achieved by family strengthening.

Locally staffed and operated, we’ve seen first-hand the transformative impact of the Family Development Center on the lives of young people. But the reality is, without new funding by 2025, our ability to deliver support will be jeopardized.

The time to act is now.



You can be the difference between poverty and possibility.

Your investment will expand the reach of SOS Children’s Villages Family and Community Development Center, scaling capacity to provide comprehensive support to children and families in Chocó. 

Your support will strengthen existing programs, empowering more young people to stay safe, educated and become confident role models in their community.

SOS Children’s Villages is partnering with young people in Quibdó. And together, we are committed to building a more inclusive and peaceful society—a place where every citizen, regardless of their background, has access to the opportunities and services they need to thrive.  

Are you with us?

Contact us

Learn more about how you can support children in Chocó: Eranga Fernando, Donor Experience Manager | (202) 300-9126.