Preventing Child Recruitment in Putumayo

Gran Tierra Energy, the FC Barcelona Foundation, Colombia’s Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN) and the World Vision International Foundation, continue their strategic alliance to increase resilience in vulnerable children and reduce their susceptibility to two important Human Rights concerns in the area: substance abuse and militia recruitment.

Financed by GTE, the program is implemented by the Youth Violence Prevention Program of the Barça Foundation and uses football as a unifying tool for children from vulnerable populations, children living in poverty and descendants of Afro-Indigenous minorities to learn about conflict resolution, prosocial behaviour development and other important life skills. Expected long-term outcomes include stronger, more stable communities, greater education attainment, increased employment and positive health indicators.

According to the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), the project has been effective in preventing forced recruitment of minors, having documented multiple cases of preventions in program participants. The project also helps female victims of sexual and physical violence with psychiatric, emotional and legal support.

Approximately 1,000 kids from the Putumayo and Cesar departments in Colombia participated in GTE’s Preventing Child Recruitment Program in 2023, a 29% increase over previous years.

“The kids love the program — they’ve become less aggressive and more nurturing, and I’ve seen improvements in their handling of interpersonal conflicts. And the kids can use the skills they’re learning in this program in other parts of their lives.”
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