Strengthening Colombia’s Social Service Workforce through Collaboration and Learning
The Colombian Family Welfare Institute (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar, ICBF) provides violence prevention and protection services for children, adolescents, and families across Colombia, reaching more than eight million Colombians. But ICBF also faces severe challenges to ensuring the rights and welfare of the people it serves, including conflict, illiteracy, unemployment, and ongoing humanitarian crises. As the number of children’s and adolescents’ rights violation cases rises each year, ICBF has committed to making internal organizational and human resource changes to strengthen the quality and reach of their work.
The USAID Human Resources for Health in 2030 Program (HRH2030), which supports low- and middle-income countries to develop the health workforce needed to improve health outcomes, has been supporting ICBF since April 2018 to strengthen the Colombia social service workforce through funding from the USAID Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG) Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF). The HRH2030 Colombia activity incorporated CLA approaches into this work from the very beginning, in order to build a trusting, open relationship with ICBF, ground activities in technical evidence, and provide opportunities for learning throughout the course of the activity and beyond. The approach places a strong emphasis on external collaboration with ICBF, robust formative evaluation to provide a technical evidence base for intervention planning, and formal opportunities to reflect and reinforce M&E for learning. As a result of this approach, and made possible by the enthusiasm and openness of ICBF, the activity has been able to achieve new insights about the Colombia social services workforce and use this information to tailor interventions and recommendations. HRH2030 and ICBF hope that this invigorated focus on learning will benefit the children, adolescents, and families of Colombia well into the future.