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Using communication and education to integrate the Venezuelan community in Colombia

© Casa de las estrategias
© Casa de las estrategias

This project aims to address discriminatory narratives in the media toward displaced Venezuelans, helping them integrate better into Colombian society. This project is being implemented through funding provided by the EU Lives in Dignity (LiD) Grant Facility. It is one of two projects that the LiD Grant Facility is funding in Colombia.

Scope and objectives

Colombia continues to receive the largest number of displaced Venezuelans. Close to 2.5 million Venezuelans are living in Colombia (according to ICG), having fled their home country’s economic collapse and political crisis. Due to discrimination, Venezuelans affected by displacement often face challenges in accessing clean drinking water, personal hygiene items, adequate shelter, healthcare, and opportunities for education and employment.

The situation affects not only their well-being, but also their cultural and economic integration within Colombia. It is exacerbated by a lack of understanding of the Venezuelan displacement phenomenon in the media and educational establishment, resulting in widespread stigmatisation being amplified by the country's media.

This project aims to combat this in 3 ways. Firstly, through public policy and open dialogue. Secondly, through education - targeting educational institutions, care centres and shelters that receive significant displaced and returnee populations. Thirdly, the project will implement a communication strategy to de-escalate the discriminatory narratives that have been built around the issue of the integration of displaced people.

Expected results

Through education, communication and dialogue, displacement-affected populations will have better access to quality integrated basic services, an improved sense of security and better realisation of their human rights.

Increased access to quality integrated basic services

  • 70% of the target population increase participation in the socio-economic life of their community
  • 722 people affected by displacement obtain or improve their access to basic education and health services
  • 90 teaching tools to promote inclusive practices in healthcare created and disseminated
  • 20 Venezuelan women affected by displacement participate in the construction of an agreement to increase or improve the access of people affected by displacement to basic services
  • 72 teachers acquire new skills and knowledge about caring for migrants, refugees and other people affected by displacement
  • 180 training materials for inclusive education with a gender approach developed
  • 180 teaching materials free of discriminatory social norms and gender stereotypes have been developed
  • 75 displacement-affected families supported by mental health services

Increased sense of security and greater realisation of human rights of people affected by displacement

  • 70% of assisted displaced people report feeling safer and experience greater realisation of their human rights
  • 70% of people participating in the project take responsibility for the implementation of actions for the safety and realisation of rights of people affected by displacement, and recognise them as important actors in the development of their community
  • 200 people affected by displacement participate in support or media programmes aimed at combating discrimination against the displaced
  • 6 campaigns launched to inform people affected by displacement about care routes, participation scenarios and mechanisms against physical and psychological violence that promote the realisation of their rights
  • 6 campaigns implemented to promote new narratives between the Venezuelan community in Colombia and the host community that increase the sense of security and the realisation of the rights of people affected by displacement

Context

The EU-UNOPS Lives in Dignity Grant Facility was founded in 2020. The facility aims to promote development-oriented approaches and solutions to new, recurrent and protracted displacement crises. It funds innovative projects that support the resilience of communities and empower their members through livelihoods and basic services, making a concrete difference in the lives of displaced people.

The project is a partnership between the House of Strategies Foundation, which has a long history of working with disenfranchised youth in the city of Medellín, and the Barrio U Laboratory of the Faculty of Communications and Philology at University of Antioquia. The university is a leader in Colombia in the field of communications.

The project was chosen because it seeks to tackle a complex problem through both practice and research, and the project has potential for replicability both in Colombia and globally. There is a strong involvement of the displacement-affected population and it focuses on root causes that hinder integration. It is an innovative project characteristic of those funded by the Lives in Dignity Grant Facility.

Implementing organisations

House of Strategies Foundation and Barrio U Laboratory, Faculty of Communications and Philology, University of Antioquia