Since 2005, RET has directly supported more than 107,380 direct participants in Ecuador, 58% of them are vulnerable women and indirectly benefitted 536,900 participants and supported the opening of more than 199 facilities throughout 28 projects focused on Protection, Education, Gender Equality & Social Inclusion, Health & Wash and Democracy & Governance.
RET entered Ecuador in 2005 to strengthen the resilience of Colombian refugees and vulnerable members of the host communities. After the earthquake of 2016, RET deployed its expertise in the use of education to protect children, adolescents and youth in collaboration with the state and international organizations.
More recently, one of Latin America’s largest mass population migration in history have had its impact on Ecuador, with some 547,000 Venezuelans entering Ecuador through the Colombian border (UNHCR, 2018). RET, operating from its main offices in the provinces of Sucumbíos, Esmeraldas and Pichincha, provides humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and refugees, enabling their socio-cultural integration into the host communities as well as providing emergency care for displaced children and adolescents in different localities throughout Ecuador.
RET is also involved in strengthening and supporting adolescents and young people, and in the protection of children and adolescent by integrating them in the local education system. RET guarantees the sustainability of its actions by strengthening the social structures that facilitate inclusion, integration and resilience of vulnerable populations. RET is currently implementing projects aimed at strengthening local capacities of adolescents and young people and the promotion of participation and inclusion spaces, in response to the Venezuelan migration crisis.
Improving access to quality Education for Venezuelan Refugees and migrants and Host Communities
The political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has triggered a massive mobility of the Venezuelan population in the Americas, with influx of refugees and migrants transiting and residing in Ecuador. According to the analysis developed by UNICEF between 2018 and 2019 and based on official data on the inclusion of Venezuelan refugee and migrant children into the national education system, currently 18,293 out of the 37,000 Venezuelan children and adolescents between 3 and 17 years of age residing in the country need urgently access to education. As of February 2019, 58.8% of the Venezuelan children and adolescents between 3 and 17 years were excluded from education (8,568 girls and 9,662 boys). The main reasons are economic, administrative (enrolment processes, overcrowded schools and lack of information/awareness), along with discrimination by peers and teachers and/or bullying by peers.
In order to respond to the needs of the Venezuelan refugees in Ecuador along with the challenges the host community children are facing, RET and in partnership with Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is currently implementing a project aimed at improving access to quality formal education services for migrant and refugee children and adolescents from Venezuela and from the host communities in Quito and Esmeraldas. The project aims to strengthen the capacities of public officials of the Ministry of Education both at national and subnational levels to ensure a) access to public education and b) the implementation of inclusive education for Venezuelan refugee and migrant population; the distribution of essential supplies and support to eliminate the existing economic barriers to education for migrants and refugees from Venezuela; the support of host schools of migrant children with essential teaching and WASH material and finally the distribution of information to migrants and refugees from Venezuelan and host community families with out-of-school children and adolescents.
Strengthening Local Capacities of Adolescents and Young People, from San Lorenzo Canton, Esmeraldas Province, for the Promotion of Participation and Inclusion Spaces
The project aimed at strengthening the local capacities of young people, adolescents and parents in the San Lorenzo canton, Esmeraldas province, for the promotion of participation and inclusion spaces with an emergency attention to children and families displaced from the community of El Pan and La Nueva Delicia neighborhood of San Lorenzo. The project empowered groups of young people with the knowledge and life skills necessary for the prevention and protection of rights, through the development of a network of adolescents and youth who can pursue their own agenda and action plans to act within their families, communities and institutions. The project also aimed to create maps of vulnerabilities and risks, identified by the adolescents and youth, through an understanding and acknowledgement of their rights.
Strengthening of the Community Protection System in the Nuevo Renacer Citadel and in the institutional environment of the Muisne canton
The project aimed at strengthening the Community Protection System in the Nuevo Renacer Citadel and in the institutional environment of the Muisne canton, to mitigate the risks for children and adolescents, through the generation of community and institutional protection mechanisms. (Muisne, Esmeraldas). In addition to build the capacities of adolescents, youth and their parents to promote spaces of participation and inclusion, support was provided to displaced children, adolescents and youth and their family members.