To keep Venezuelan refugees and migrants safe in Ecuador, and to promote integration and peaceful coexistence with the local community, AVSI Ecuador is implementing, in partnership with UNHCR the project "Activados."
October 6, 2019 - Since 2014, the number of Venezuelans applying for refugee status worldwide has increased by 4,000%, especially in Latin America. Many Venezuelans who meet the criteria to be recognized as refugees do not seek international protection and opt for other legal forms of stay in host countries to have access to work, education, and social services. Although with no documentation or permission to stay, hundreds of refugees are still particularly vulnerable to labor and sexual exploitation, human trafficking, violence, discrimination, and xenophobia.
To keep Venezuelan refugees and migrants safe in Ecuador, and to promote integration and peaceful coexistence with the local community, AVSI Ecuador is implementing, in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the project "Activados."
To guarantee economic inclusion sustainably and effectively, AVSI Ecuador has been carrying out a study that identifies the demands for work, services and products, and market systems. Based on the results, AVSI Ecuador will design a pilot integration plan with concrete guidelines for its implementation. The strategy will be shared with the different actors involved in the project.
The project was also designed to inform the local communities about Venezuelan refugees and migrants. By raising awareness, AVSI Ecuador hopes that the host community will develop and strengthen the partnership with refugees and migrants.
One of the main components of the projects are the community assessments. Using as a starting point essential themes such as homelessness, job insertion, housing, health, integration, access to information, regularization, separated or unaccompanied adolescents, education, and child labor, AVSI Ecuador generates a dialogue that wouldn't take place otherwise. Different communication tools will be used during community assessments. AVSI Ecuador is motivating older adults, women, men, youth, and even children to discuss these different themes by asking them to pretend they are community reporters. Hand-crafted materials with cardboard boxes that simulated a TV, video cameras, mobile phones, hearing aids, radios, and a megaphone were specially designed to fulfill this playful activity.
Between August and December 2019, the project will reach 944 people in the cities of Manta and Portoviejo and foster peaceful coexistence between the host communities and the refugees and migrants.