HIAS in Colombia

Founded: 2019
Staff size: 71
Country Director: Camilo Ramirez
Office Locations: Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Ipales, Pasto, Popayan, Santa Marta

Download the country fact sheet here.
Spanish version

Colombia is host to 1.7 million Venezuelans, which represent more than 37 percent of the estimated 4.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean. Colombia shares a 2,200-kilometer border, seven formal border crossings, and hundreds of informal crossings with Venezuela. HIAS supports refugees to build new lives and reunite with family members in safety and freedom. HIAS Colombia focuses on single women, women-headed households, survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), survivors of torture, people with disabilities and serious medical conditions, and LGBTQ refugees. HIAS Colombia works with Venezuelan refugees and migrants, Colombian returnees, and host communities. 

Colombia 2022-23 Strategic Overview


HIAS Colombia focuses on the prevention and response to GBV, community-based mental health and psychosocial support, economic inclusion, and protection actions including temporary housing and supplementary food support. Working closely with government institutions, partner organizations, the private sector, and refugee communities, HIAS Colombia promotes local integration and access to rights and services. HIAS Colombia operates with the support of UNHCR Colombia, Internet Society Foundation, Airbnb, and USAID-Laser Pulse. 


Women, girls, and LGBTQ individuals are disproportionately affected by forced displacement. HIAS’ GBV services are driven by the needs and the voices of survivors, and our GBV programming helps forcibly displaced women, girls, and LGBTQ individuals to pursue their potential, free from violence and gender-related oppression. In addition to providing GBV case management, HIAS staff work at the community level to identify, train, and support community members who work with and advocate for survivors of GBV, while adhering to international humanitarian principles. HIAS also helps both women and men develop skills and abilities to promote GBV risk reduction, including positive masculinity programming.


Refugees and forcibly displaced people face adversity and extreme stressors, including loss of loved ones, violence, and disruptions to daily life. HIAS’ mental health programs train key community members to recognize acute emotional distress in children and adults as a result of crisis, and how to respond with empathy and respect. HIAS Colombia provides Venezuelans culturally appropriate support through psychological first aid training; identifying and assisting isolated and stigmatized individuals; and helping those who require specialized mental health services. Other activities include safe spaces for groups of women, children, youth, and other vulnerable individuals to share challenges related to integration, work, and education. HIAS also provides individual and group mental health and psychosocial interventions. 


Access to dignified, sustainable, and safe livelihoods are at the core of HIAS’ economic inclusion work. Our methodology enables refugees, vulnerable migrants, and host communities to find opportunities to increase resilience, regain dignity, and provide opportunities to build independent and meaningful futures. HIAS Colombia’s programs include accelerated business incubation through HIAS’ Entrepreneurship School with a Gender Lens; digital and financial literacy; vocational training; asset seed capital support. HIAS Colombia has developed and updated The Employers’ Guide to Hiring Refugees and Venezuelan Migrants in Colombia, in partnership with Tent, the Colombia Ministry of Labor, and UNHCR.


HIAS considers the basic and specific protection needs of its target population and works to provide information and orientation on how to access services. Additionally, HIAS Colombia provides temporary housing through our partnership with Airbnb Open Home, prioritizing families that just arrived in the country, GBV survivors, people with medical needs, and other vulnerable groups at risk of being homeless.


HIAS advocates for the protection of refugees, other forcibly displaced populations, and local host communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. As part of a comprehensive regional response to meet the urgent needs of these populations, including the millions of displaced Venezuelans, HIAS participates in several regional coordination platforms and partnerships which focus on protection, food security, GBV, and Cash and Voucher Assistance, including: 

REDLAC (IASC Regional Work Group Risk, Emergencies and Disasters)
UNHCR/IOM Regional Platform for the Venezuela Situation Response (R4V)
Interagency Group on Mixed Migration Flows (GIFMM) in Colombia
Working Group for Refugees and Migrants (GTRM) in Ecuador and Peru

HIAS currently has programs in nine countries in LAC (Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela) and partners with a wide range of government agencies, UN entities (UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, UNVFVT), the private sector (Airbnb, TATA Consultancy Services, and Manpower), and other NGOs and consortia, including Jesuit Refugee Service, Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council, Plan International, and Girls not Brides. 


Camilo Ramirez • Country Director • infocol@hias.org • www.hias.org 

Find us on Twitter and Instagram at @HIASColombia


HIAS’ services are free. If someone tries to charge you for services claiming they represent HIAS, please report it at our confidential email address: ethics@hias.org. HIAS has a zero-tolerance policy on fraud and corruption. 

For any other inquiries please email us at info@hias.org.