In dire need of protection of life: The dynamics between health and security during the Covid-19 pandemic in conflict-affected territories in Colombia

Research Question

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of populations in the fragile, conflict-ridden countries in the Global South such as in Colombia - specifically in rural areas that are often characterized by an absence of basic health infrastructure and widespread state neglect in service and security provision.

How can we explain differing local dynamics of health and security protection in rural areas and which strategies by non-state actors have proven effective and conductive for the ongoing peace process?


  • Understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected local communities in countries characterized by high levels of violence, concretely Colombia.
  • Reflect on strategies by non-state actors to deal with health and security risks at the local level through participatory action research.
  • Influence policies and transfer precise and timely knowledge on the needs of communities through collaboration with the research network CAPAZ (German-Colombian Peace Institute).


Statistical data point to a drastic effect of the pandemic:

Poverty rate: 3 meals a day - 92% in February 2020 to 64% in May 2021

Violence / Forced Displacement - Increase of 135% between first semester 2020 and first semester 2021



We will acquire original data on the relation of increased violence, health risks and poverty and the strategies of non-state actors by applying a mixed-methods approach:

1. Quantitative Modelling

2. Qualitative participatory action research in three municipalities (Buenaventura, La Montañita and Cabrera)

3. Community-based micro surveys in 20 PDET regions


Field Research

11/2021 - Colombia

Main Investigators

Solveig Richter

Heisenberg Professor for International Relations and Transnational Politics

Leipzig University, Germany


Leonardo H. Salcedo G.

Assistant Researcher 'Covid-19 Project'

Leipzig University, Germany


Pablo Ramos

Director of the Ecology Program

Javeriana University, Colombia


Laura Barrios

Director of the Master’s Program in Conflict, Memory and Peace

Rosario University, Colombia



Research Assistants

Andrés Mauricio Escobar Moreno

Research assistant, Leipzig University



Javier Eduardo Álvarez Ramírez

Student Assistant, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana



Isabella Romero Ángel

Student Assistant, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana 


Camila Forero

Student Assistant, Universidad del Rosario


Paula Roth

Student Assistant, Leipzig University




Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Leipzig University

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogotá

Universidad del Rosario