With more than 4.3 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants living outside of the country, the displacement of Venezuelans is the largest outflow of a population in recent Latin American history and one of the largest in the world. Since 2014, the number of Venezuelans applying for refugee status worldwide increased by 4,000%, especially in the American continent.
Many Venezuelans who could meet the criteria to be recognized as refugees do not seek international protection through asylum procedures but opt for other legal forms of staying in host countries. The goal is to have access to work, education and social services faster.
However, there are still hundreds of them that do not have any documentation or permission to remain regularly in nearby countries. Therefore, they lack formal access to basic rights and services, which makes them particularly vulnerable to labor and sexual exploitation, human trafficking, violence, discrimination, and xenophobia.
AVSI and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched the project "ACTIVADOS: Promoting Integration of Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Host Communities". The aim is to strengthen local networks and capacities in the communities of El Florón (Portoviejo) and El Palmar (Manta) and to foster local integration, peaceful coexistence and the protection of Venezuelan refugees and migrants' rights. AVSI will also improve access to formal work for Venezuelans and for the Ecuadorian local community, through a strategy based on market research (mapping and identifying local livelihoods and opportunities).
Initial activities will include:
- active engagement of communities to identify needs and challenges
- mapping of local services
- development of action plans to respond to the identified challenges
Information on rights, obligations, and services, will be disseminated through established channels and media based on an assessment of needs. Finally, through market analysis and the identification of job insertion needs, a sustainable and effective economic inclusion opportunity plan will be created. The project will reach 944 people, including both Venezuelan refugees and members of host communities.