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Emergency preparedness workshop Colombia

A break-out session during one the workshops with our partner Pastoral Social Quibdó.

CAFOD has an extensive network of small, local partner organisations. This Autumn Appeal, we'd like you to meet some of our partners in Latin America.

The Church as first responder

In recent years, Colombia has seen an increase in crises that have multiple causes, especially in remote rural areas. Each community in Colombia is different and therefore needs a unique and holistic approach to responding to these crises.

Our partner Caritas Colombia has the capacity to reach places that, due to their distance or because they’re located in regions under ongoing armed conflict, other agencies cannot attend. For this reason, the Catholic Church is recognised in Colombia as one of the first responders in case of humanitarian crisis.

How you can help: support preparedness efforts before the emergency happens

Through community workshops, we help our church partners identify lifesaving networks in a race against time, ensuring key people know how to act when an emergency hits and providing the best chance of survival and recovery.

During a crisis, there is little time for critical thinking and decision making, so emergency procedures and existing relationships are key to accessing help. The workshops, led by CAFOD staff, provide training on how to access emergency relief funding and how to establish processes to ensure that, when a disaster strikes, they are prepared for whatever comes.


Julio took part in one of the emergency preparedness workshops in Colombia earlier this year. Credit: SNPS

Julio's story

"I’m from the Vicariate of Puerto Carreño in Vichada. I’m a community leader and I’m also involved in logistics. We’ve learnt how to draw up an action plan, and how to quickly respond to an emergency. It is crucial since we’re such a small area.

"Now, having these procedures in place, it’ll be easier for us to submit proposals for funding to meet emergencies such as floods. Now we know how to identify and focus on the issues faced by the people we’re going to support, and how to act ourselves.

"Everything we’ve learnt is crucial because it improves our ministry so much, and it improves our abilities to better respond to an emergency.”

Your donation can reach people like Julio around the world

Julio’s story is an example of how important our partnerships are to help people in remote communities be ready for disasters. This minimises damage and loss of life, and it empowers local church organisations to grow and become resilient and independent. We are appealing for your support this autumn so we can strengthen and future-proof the valuable work of our partners in Colombia and around the world. For example:

  • £5,145 could support local Colombian organisations to replicate these workshops across their Diocese so communities are better prepared for emergencies.

  • £35,400 could fund a holistic approach including training on agricultural risk management especially aimed at vulnerable women, as well as provision of diversified seeds and livestock.

And this year, the first £60,000 donated to the Major Gifts Autumn Appeal will be matched by two generous supporters. With your help, we could raise £120,000 to support work like Julio’s around the world.

We work to keep you informed about the impact of your donations, so you can always make the best decision. If you're thinking of making a large donation and need more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at