NRC works in Venezuela providing legal assistance to population in need of international protection to know their rights.

Context: During the refugee status determination process, people in need of international protection without identification could be deported to Colombia, where they fled from because armed conflict. Movility, access to food or work restrictions increased during the first period of time in Venezuela.

Estado de Barinas - Venezuela
Photo: Fernanda Pineda - NRC
2015
Legal counselling in Estado de Barinas. Photo: Fernanda Pineda/NRC

NRC in Venezuela

   
About the figures for Venezuela

Venezuelans in other countries who are believed to be in need of protection but are not registered as refugees are included in the total figures for 2019 and 2020, as opposed to 2018, on the recommendation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The figures for 2018 would have been 2.6 million higher if the same method of calculation had been used then. Nevertheless, Venezuelan refugees without formal refugee status are not included in "new refugees".

 

 

Facts

A total of

121,331

people in need received our assistance in 2021.

 

Humanitarian overview

The crisis in Venezuela remains unsolved and has worsened with the Covid-19 pandemic. The collapse of basic services, the loss of income opportunities, and an economy that continues to present year-to-year inflation of approximately 500% are the leading promoters of the displacement crisis, which includes internal displacement, pendular migration, and the outflow of 4.6 million Venezuelans into neighbouring countries. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 – Venezuela has been witnessing an increasing number of returnees from bordering countries. The use of illegal and often dangerous border crossings routes continues to be a common practice.

Negative coping mechanisms are still in place, particularly in the border states with Colombia and Brazil. People often rely on informal employment, smuggling, enrolment in armed groups, and transactional sex work. Children drop out of school to work, and a large proportion of households go without basic goods.

Despite the apparent increase in funding to support NGOs in 2021, the response capacity remains insufficient to respond to critical needs affecting millions of Venezuelans across the country.

  • 10,343
    people benefited from our education programme
  • 36,700
    people benefited from our food security programme
  • 13,262
    people benefited from our ICLA programme
  • 61,026
    people benefited from our WASH programme

 

NRC's operation 

NRC has been active in Venezuela since 2005 and in 2019 became an independent country office in light of the deteriorating humanitarian crisis. NRC is one of the largest NGOs in Venezuela with an annual budget of USD 9.8 million. Our work includes water, sanitation, and hygiene, education, livelihoods and food security and information, counselling and legal assistance.

The country office is located in Caracas with two area offices (Bolivar and Tachira states), and two field offices in Zulia and the border area with Colombia. In addition to direct implementation and capacity building of local communities, NRC also plays a critical role in coordination at multiple levels.

NRC EducationEducation

 

NRC supports vulnerable families to keep their children in school despite the challenges of displacement and poverty, and works with teachers, parents, education authorities and community leaders to identify long-term solutions to educational challenges. Displacement and financial desperation often result in children dropping out of school to support their families through informal employment, or because they are not enrolled in schools in areas of displacement. For this reason, the NRC education team works closely with our ICLA team to enable access to education. Additionally, the social-economic crisis has led to a lack of school supplies and deteriorated infrastructure, and caused many teachers to abandon their posts. The Covid-19 outbreak has required a transition to remote schooling methods, as well as the upgrade of WASH infrastructure in schools. Our WASH and education teams have worked together to provide proper hygiene and sanitation facilities to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission when schools reopen.

  • work with the Ministry of Education to identify children at risk of dropout, and teachers most likely to benefit from training and support
  • provide technical support to educational authorities in designing remote education models during school closures, and general curricula development
  • distribute education materials to students, teachers and institutions in order to facilitate learning
  • upgrade school infrastructure to improve hygiene, accessibility and reduce overcrowding
  • build the capacity of teachers in how best to support students with a focus on those returning to education after a long period of absence, and also on psycho-social support in recognition of the trauma caused by the humanitarian crisis

 

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

 

NRC established an office in Venezuela in 2005 with the primary focus on providing support to Colombian refugees seeking safety and services on the other side of the border. However, these dynamics have changed significantly, and the ICLA team has shifted their focus to prioritise Venezuelans facing protection risks mainly due to lack of documentation.

Our team provides information, counselling and direct accompaniment/referrals for people seeking legal services usually focused on civil documentation essential for employment, entitlement to government benefits, school enrolment and property ownership. Since general protection information is limited in Venezuela, the NRC ICLA team has tailored the awareness-raising activities to include information on essential service availability and referrals to external service providers.

 

NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion

 

The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has resulted in the collapse of water and waste management systems, creating profound gaps in essential WASH services at household, community and institutional levels. Homes, schools and hospitals lack running water, sewage and disposal systems. Additionally, hyperinflation and the loss of income opportunities have left populations unable to purchase basic hygiene goods such as soap or menstrual products. The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the health risks associated with these service gaps. Our team provides services including:

  • construction of potable water points, handwashing stations, toilets and showers for people in transit, host communities, health centres, schools, markets, transport hubs and quarantine centres
  • provision of safe water at household level through water trucking and water treatment supplies
  • capacity building and awareness-raising on construction, maintenance and water quality testing to communities and schools
  • construction and rehabilitation of culturally appropriate gender-disaggregated toilets and showers
  • provision of collective/community waste management supplies and capacity building on maintenance, cleaning, desludging
  • provision of dignity kits to women and girls, along with training on appropriate use and disposal of menstrual products
  • provision of hygiene kits to people in transit and vulnerable host community members
  • provision of targeted awareness-raising campaigns (prevention of disease transmission, menstrual hygiene and protection messaging)

 

NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

 

The loss of income opportunities, hyperinflation, lack of imports, stalled agricultural production, and subsequent market volatility have left millions of Venezuelans food insecure. Our LFS activities are designed to address the immediate needs of people affected by the social-economic crisis while looking for sustainable solutions to increase food security and resilience. Our team provides:

  • immediate assistance through food distributions, using vulnerability assessments to ensure that services reach those most in need
  • tools, seeds and training to cultivate community and family gardens
  • information and awareness-raising campaigns on food production, hygiene, preparation, and nutrition
  • enhancing agro-based local markets through technical support in food production and processing practices that increase profitability
  • technical training to farmers
  • school feeding programmes to encourage student and teacher retention, as well as improving food security levels

 

About NRC in Venezuela

Established
2005/2019
International staff
16
Areas of operation
Caracas (Country Office); Miranda, Táchira, Zulia, Barinas, Mérida, Bolívar, Apure, Portuguesa
Budget 2020
USD 9.8 million
National staff
95

NRC in Venezuela

Country Director

Giovanni Rizzo

Phone