ICYE Colombia

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ICYE-Colombia is a non-for-profit association founded in 1981 and was accepted as a member of the ICYE Federation in 1982. The Colombian committee is a team of about 18 people working in Bogotá. Most of its members are university students, teachers and returnees. There are four officials: General Director, General projects Coordinator, Outgoing Coordinator and Administrative Coordinator, all of whom work at the ICYE office in Bogotá.

Most exchangees live with host families in Bogota and surrounding areas.

The majority of voluntary service projects work with children – i.e. kindergartens, orphanages and support centres for street children. Other projects include work with abandoned children, sexually exploited children, deaf children, young offenders.


Colombia is a constitutional republic in north western South America, bordering with Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. With a population of over 45 million people, Colombia has the second largest population in South America.

Colombia is characterized by its geographical and environmental diversity. The majority of the urban centres are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains, but the Colombian territory also encompasses the Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines.

Colombia is also ethnically very diverse, and the interaction between descendants of the original native inhabitants, Spanish colonists, Africans brought as slaves and twentieth-century immigrants from Europe and the Middle East has produced a rich cultural heritage. Since the 1960s, government forces, left-wing insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries have been engaged in the continent’s longest-running armed conflict. Fuelled by the cocaine trade, this escalated dramatically in the 1990s. However, in recent years the violence has been decreasing. Many paramilitary groups have demobilised as part of a controversial peace process with the government, and the guerrillas have lost control in many areas where they once dominated. Colombia is a standing middle power with the fourth largest economy in Latin America, with substantial oil reserves, and is a major producer of gold, silver, emeralds, platinum and coal. Income inequality is prevalent and wealth is badly redistributed.

Projects available

In Colombia you can volunteer in the areas of Youth Work, Education, Community Development, Disability Support, Human Rights, Women’s Empowerment.

Read our volunteer case studies to find out more.