Costa Rica

Since 2010, RET has directly supported more than 29,407 direct participants in Costa Rica, 55% of them are vulnerable women and indirectly benefitted 147,035 participants and supported the opening of more than 17 facilities throughout 26 projects focused on Protection, Economic Growth & Development (Self-Reliance & livelihoods), Education, Peace, Stability & Transition, Gender Equality & Social Inclusion, Health& WASH and Migration & Mobility. 

RET started activities in Costa Rica in October 2010, with a vision of consolidating protective environments for the social inclusion of refugee populations. Costa Rica has a large proportion of refugees, predominantly from Colombia, but also Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, as well as Cuba and lately Venezuela. It is estimated that the immigration from Latin American countries with internal conflict situations reached approximately 55,000 people arriving to Costa Rica. Migrants represent 13% of the country’s population with approximately 20,000 registered Venezuelans living currently in the country. This displacement into Costa Rica creates great challenges within the country, and the Costa Rican community is showing signs of xenophobia and violence. Asylum seekers, migrants, as well as the local population, are facing major risks and have become vulnerable to violence.RET in Costa Rica implements projects responding to violence linked to drug trafficking particularly, at the grand metropolitan area and other regions such as the Caribbean shores, Nicaraguan frontiers (Upala and los Chiles), in addition to interventions aimed to prevent bullying and sexual violence, and to promote the development of vulnerable young people by facilitating their participation and integration in the formal education system. Additionally, RET provides holistic programs answering the specific social and economic integration needs of refugees and asylum seekers.RET is currently implementing projects aimed at integrating Venezuelan asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants in Costa Ricaand providing a response to the migration crisis of the Nicaraguan refugee population and asylum seeker.

Current Projects

Management and self-sufficiency: a proposal for the integration of Venezuelan asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants in Costa Rica

Over the last 3 years, a significant increase has been seen in the population arriving to Costa Rica and seeking refugee status or asylum as a result of conflict situations in different countries in the region. To respond to the high influx of migrants in Costa Rica, RET is currently implementing a project aimed to improve the self-sufficiency of asylum seekers and vulnerable Venezuelan migrants in Costa Rica using an integrated approach in coordination with public institutions and local institutions.The project was designed to provide vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers with access to humanitarian assistance, education and legal counseling in coordination with public institutions. In addition, the project provided individual and psychosocial support for vulnerable families; improved the response and protection services to gender-based violence survivors and at-risk women and girls, through humanitarian and legal assistance in coordination with national and local authorities and finally, supported the government institutions by strengthening their capacities for the provision of services to Venezuelan asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants.

This project, implemented between November 2018 and December 2019, is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM) and implemented by RET in Costa Rica.

Response to the migration crisis of the Nicaraguan refugee population and asylum seeker. 

The political crisis in Nicaragua (2018) had a direct impact on the growing number of refuge requests of Nicaraguan people fleeing their home in search of international protection in central America and particularly in Costa Rica.
The project addressed the needs of the Nicaraguan population in Costa Rica through the provision of basic humanitarian assistance such as health, education, shelter and food, laterally promoted socio-cultural integration through awareness campaigns for the prevention of violence and xenophobia. The project facilitated the access to refugee rights through legal counselling and coordination with state and local institutions and finally promoted the educational inclusion of Nicaraguan NNAJ refugees and asylum seekers for integration into the educational community in the host community.RET implemented this project in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), with a focus on the vulnerable communities of Guararí, Desamparados and Cartago and in the districts of Aguas Zarcas, Alajuela and the cantons of Garabito, Puntarenas and Santa Cruz and finally Guanacaste.

Building Local Governments Capacity to prevent and provide services to Gender Based Violence (GBV) Survivors

The project aimed to strengthen the local government capacities to prevent and provide services to survivors of gender-based violence in the fourteen Cantons of Curridabat, Montes de Oca, Moravia, La Union de Tres Rios, Desamparados, Alajuelita, Escazú, Mora, Belén de Heredia, Alajuela, San Jose, Tibas, Goicoechea and Santa Ana.

The project is aligned with the “Digital Local Government Platform” to prevent and assist survivors of GBV, coordinated through a network at the GAM level and using innovation methodologies for socio-economic inclusion of female survivors of GBV. The project will support the training (TOT) of local government officials to assist women with entrepreneurship initiatives, identifying business opportunities, business planning and critical thinking. Coordination mechanisms were put in place between public officials and members of civil society with the goal of preventing GBV and providing assistance to GBV survivors.

This project, implemented respectively, between (September 2018 and September 2019) and between (September 2019 and September 2020), was funded by the “The International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office” (INL), U.S. Department of State’s Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and implemented by RET in Costa Rica.

Responding to the specific needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Costa Rica 

The project aimed to offer a structure of support and response to the specific social and economic integration needs of people of concern to the UNHCR. RET worked to empower individuals to access their rights in society; enabling a participatory platform for social integration and strengthening their emotional or mental health through psychosocial support and attention. The project offered individual attention as well as differentiated group spaces for men, women and young people, in which different formative processes were used for their empowerment and eventually integration in the country.

The project dealt with the main emotional aspects that emerge from the traumatic experience of flight: mourning, economic uncertainty, gender-based violence; and facilitated integration, solidarity and resilience through self-help groups. Vulnerable women & LGBTQ community were among the groups that required the most psychosocial attention, which was implemented in the Great Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica. RET intervened on a community-based level through coordinating with community leaders, non-government organizations, civil society organizations and public institutions with the goal to narrow the gap of human rights access for the population of concern.