Main Report Findings on Early Childhood in 7 Cities in Colombia


Equity for Children in partnership with the Fundación Corona, the Red Colombiana de Ciudades Cómo Vamos [1], and with the support of the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana Cali, recently completed the first phase of a study providing evidence on living conditions and inequities affecting early childhood in the main cities of Colombia.

The findings are summarized in the report “Primera Infancia Cómo Vamos” (How are we doing with early childhood).

The report provides an analysis of 6 dimensions, 18 components and 25 indicators measuring early childhood living conditions in Bogotá, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Manizales and Medellín, as monitored by the Red Colombiana de Ciudades Cómo Vamos (the Colombian network of Ciudades Cómo Vamos) programs.

The information, analysis and recommendations presented are useful tools to help local citizens monitor the living conditions of children under 5 in their communities, as well as the policies that affect them. The data allows local community members to better understand challenges and improvements made in the different cities of the study thanks to indicators comparable over time.

The proposed indicators were conceived based on a framework of childhood rights included in the Convention of the Rights of the Child; Colombian public policy outlined in the national early childhood strategy, De Cero a Siempre (from Zero to Always); the analysis of quality of life within local contexts of the Cómo Vamos program; the analysis of social inequalities proposed by Equity for Children; and, theoretical references and methodologies of international literature.


“By focusing on equity, we want to emphasize the urgent need for public policy responses targeting the most disadvantaged children, with the goal of creating a more just, inclusive and participative society”, states Alberto Minujin, Executive Director, Equity for Children.  


Equity for Children’s work seeks to translate academic knowledge into useful tools, to strengthen the program and public policy impacts that guarantee rights and affect child wellbeing, promoting their voice and participation.


Key Findings

Como Vamos 2The report findings provide a baseline for early childhood analysis in cities. The Cómo Vamos program pioneered a focus on citizen monitoring for childhood wellbeing in the different cities of the Red Colombiana de Ciudades Cómo Vamos network.

Study findings include:

More than 60% of child deaths could have been avoided [2]. Children’s lives are still being determined by the place and conditions in which they are born. Seven children die every day while in the cities examined, 1,568 boys and girls were saved thanks to timely medical diagnoses, immunizations, preventive and appropriate treatments of diseases, as well as improved sanitary environmental and socio-economic conditions.

Chronic malnutrition is an indicator of health inequities.  This is underscored by the existing gaps between cities; for example the level of malnutrition for children in Bogota is more than double the child malnutrition rate in Bucaramanga and Medellín. The root causes of these gaps require further exploration.

More in-depth quantitative analyses are needed to take stock of improvements resulting from early childhood-focused policies. By leveraging official data to build indicators, important information gaps can be noted both locally at the city level and nationally; in the majority of cities public funds going towards early childhood are not clearly accounted for.

Further disaggregated data is needed, by area, gender, vulnerable groups, etc…,  in order to better understand inequities and to focus on appropriate actions, such as the ones proposed by the Colombian national strategy “De Cero a Siempre” (“From 0 to Forever”).


“Both at the Fundación Corona and at the Red de Ciudades Cómo Vamos the challenge is to make the most of available information, generating new ways of analyzing data. This provides input for informed decision-making at the government level and fosters citizen empowerment.” Ángela Escallón Emiliani, Director, Fundación Corona 


On June 10, 2015, Equity for Children presented the results of this study to local government officials and the Colombian press in Cali, Colombia. An additional presentation with local officials and members of the press was held in Manizales, Colombia on June 11, 2015.


For general information on the project, click here.

Download the Executive Summary of the Primera Infancia Cómo Vamos report in Spanish here.

Download the full report in Spanish here.


Download the general presentation slides for the project in Spanish here.

Download the comparative results in Spanish for all the cities analyzed here.



 [1] The Red Colombiana de Ciudades Cómo Vamos is a Colombian network of local governmental and non-governmental organizations partnering to evaluate quality of life changes within specific cities.

[2] Barranquilla: 68,35%; Bogotá: 56,17% Bucaramanga: 60,20%; Cali:63,23%; Cartagena:68,54%; Manizales:56,6; Medellín:56.76.

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