Over the past few years, the migrant population in Ecuador has grown exponentially.
Just like in other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the country has received millions of Venezuelan people seeking to improve their living conditions. The region is home to over 80% of the 5.6 million citizens who have left Venezuela to date. This migration flow represents significant challenges for transit and host countries.
Ecuador is the fourth country in the region to receive the largest number of Venezuelan migrants.
On one hand, it serves as a transit country for those heading to other countries further south, such as Peru or Chile, but it has also become a host country. According to estimates presented by IOM in the Monitoring of Venezuelan Population Flow in Ecuador, between 400,000 and 500,000 Venezuelan individuals in situations of human mobility are residing in this country.
However, Ecuador does not have the capacity to respond to the issues affecting people in human mobility, such as poverty, unemployment, and lack of opportunities.
For this reason, Ayuda en Acción has developed projects to support the migrant population through a consortium of European organizations, members of Alliance2015, in partnership with ACTED and HELVETAS. The project was not limited to Ecuador, as it extended its operations to Colombia and Peru, providing protection to migrants (especially women and youth) against various forms of violence.
Trainings were also provided to Venezuelan NGOs and human rights organizations, as well as organizations focused on prevention and case monitoring. In host countries, relevant information was provided to migrants in coordination with humanitarian and public actors.
Regarding food security, in Venezuela, food was provided to children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers in vulnerable neighbourhoods. Additionally, actions were coordinated with community kitchens operated by organizations already working in these areas, although their capacity was limited due to the overwhelming magnitude of the crisis. Existing community kitchens in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador were also supported to cater to migrants in transit or those seeking to settle.
Jasmine Monsalve, a Venezuelan citizen who embarked on a journey with her mother to the city of Ibarra, located in northern Ecuador three years ago, is one of the women who participated in the program. Leaving behind her hometown of Mérida, her friends, and her family was not easy.
“The truth is that migrating to another country has not been easy. I have been looking for work, but so far, I haven’t found anything,” she commented to Ayuda en Acción when she started the program.
Indeed, this lack of access to livelihoods and decent work is likely the most relevant problem affecting Venezuelan citizens in Ecuador. 55% of them lack the capacity to generate income that covers their basic needs (IOM).
The need is such that, even though the project has ended, the mentioned countries continue to be a priority in the work of the organizations that form Alliance2015. For example, Ayuda en Acción continues to work with the migrant population through its INTEGRA program. It falls within the framework of humanitarian assistance to the migrant and refugee population from Venezuela, in which Ayuda en Acción and its partners are working in several countries in the region, in this case, in Ecuador. This intervention focuses on the integration of the migrant and refugee population and support for host communities around two key areas:
- Improving access to basic social services such as healthcare, education, and housing.
- Promoting economic inclusion through the promotion and strengthening of employment opportunities and income generation
Author: Ayuda en Acción.