In 2022, the City of Bogotá, Colombia, was selected as a grantee of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees (GCF), the MMC’s instrument to channel international funding directly to cities to implement inclusive projects of their own design. With support from the GCF, the City of Bogotá established its first-ever center dedicated to improving the nutritional conditions of migrant and refugee children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. The center has worked with more than 300 children and their caregivers to deliver individualized care plans to support their health and well-being, including saving the lives of over 20 children who arrived at the center critically malnourished.
Colombia is home to over two million Venezuelan refugees and eight million internally displaced people. Bogotá hosts more than 500,000 Venezuelan migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, the largest number of any Colombian city. Nearly half of them are women and girls.
Venezuelans in Bogotá face several barriers to accessing basic healthcare and social services, including discrimination, economic insecurity, and a lack of documentation. They also experience higher rates of malnutrition, food insecurity, and domestic violence and have poorer health outcomes than their non-migrant neighbors. The Covid-19 pandemic compounded these challenges, as prevention measures halted the informal economy and further isolated Venezuelans and other newcomers to Bogotá.
The Nutritional Center for Migrant and Refugee Children is the city’s first-ever nutritional support center dedicated to serving refugee and migrant children aged 0-5, as well as pregnant and nursing women. The center offers a diverse suite of services, including individualized nutritional and pediatric care, referrals to rights-based social inclusion and integration services, psychosocial support, and educational workshops.
Located in Bogotá’s Santa Fe neighborhood, the center has screened over 1000 migrants and refugees. Of these, more than 300 children and caregivers experiencing poor nutritional conditions have accessed the center’s services.
At the center, clients receive individual medical attention from nutritionists and pediatricians. Children diagnosed with or at risk for malnutrition are administered appetite tests and treated with nutritional formulas. Staff also provide clients food vouchers and conduct home visits to reinforce good hygiene, nutrition, and childcare practices as well as administer nutritional treatments.
The center takes a two-generational approach to simultaneously support migrant children and their caregivers. Pregnant and nursing clients receive home visits, lactation counseling, and nutritional treatment. Center staff also refer caregivers to follow-on
support services, including employment assistance, legal assistance to support the regularization of their status, and healthcare.
Claudia López Hernández, Mayor of Bogotá
With the support of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees, we are strengthening Bogotá’s commitment to defend the rights of all residents – especially our youngest and newest residents.
Through their GCF project, Bogotá has provided nutritional care to over 300 children and caregivers, conducted 99 home visits to strengthen childcare and hygiene practices, and delivered 71 nutritional treatments to children without access to public healthcare. The center’s food voucher program has enabled 250 clients to access a basic food basket every month. With these offerings, the
center has helped more than 50 percent of its clients diagnosed with moderate acute malnutrition recover from their illness.
The city of Bogotá brought together more than 12 public and private sector partners to implement this project. The center created
new connections between Bogotá’s Secretariats of Health and Social Integration, improving intergovernmental coordination on migration. The city of Bogotá also collaborated with CAFAM, a local organization with decades of social policy implementation experience, furthering important localization efforts.
Bogotá’s project has filled a critical gap in service provision for the city’s migrants and refugees, who face institutional barriers to accessing non-emergency healthcare. Through its wraparound nutritional and psychosocial services, the center has made strides toward eradicating malnutrition in Bogotá.
The City of Bogotá has committed to keeping the center open in 2024, a one year period from the end of their GCF grant.
Génesis, Project Client, Bogotá
Right now, it’s not easy what I’ve been going through because my daughter is malnourished. But thanks to [the Center], I’ve gained the strength to keep moving forward.
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