Since 2005, RET has directly supported more than 175K direct beneficiaries in Ecuador, 57% of them are vulnerable women & girls, and indirectly benefitted more than 1.7 million beneficiaries in Ecuador. RET also supported the opening of more than 199 facilities throughout 36 projects focused on Protection (Child Protection and Prevention and Response to Early and Forced Marriage), Economic Growth & Development (Busines Development & Entrepreneurship, Self-reliance, and Socio-economic Strengthening), Education, Prevention & Management of Disasters and Natural Hazards, Youth Development.
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.
In 2005, RET opened its first office in Quito’s Latin American region by establishing channels for integration and promoting education. RET provided opportunities to young displaced youth, particularly Colombian refugees, to reduce the education gap regarding accessibility, safety and quality, and post-primary education. It also provided emergency support for the early recovery of internally displaced populations and Colombian refugees at the border between Ecuador and Colombia in Lago Agrio, San Lorenzo, Tuclan, Quito, and Ibrra.
RET programs between 2011 and 2015 focused on efforts to eradicate child labor in Lago Agrio, Esmeraldas, san Lorenzo, Atacames y Quito. RET provided programs to prevent school drop-out, Technical and vocational training for worker adolescents, access to basic services and social programs, youth initiatives and life skills, and sensitization to parents.
During the fiscal year 2016, RET started implementing a multi-year program in the northern border cities of Lago Agrio and Esmeraldas, strengthening the capacities of vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees and public institutions’ ability to accomplish refugees’ and asylum seekers’ integration and self-reliance in Ecuador. The program sought to increase the self-reliance of vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees in Ecuador based on cross-sectoral interventions to humanitarian assistance, protection mechanisms, livelihoods, and socio-cultural integration.
RET in Ecuador also participated in the following inter-institutional networks: The Third Youth Environmental Conference “Youthab”, the Gender Board, the Board for Violence Against Children and Adolescents, the Human Mobility Board in Esmeraldas, the Livelihoods Board in Lago Agrio, the Education Board in UIO and Esmeraldas and the Durable Solutions Committee in three localities.
Moreover, RET implemented programs to build the capacity and ensure the Rights of Children and Youth in Disaster Risk Management and Emergency Situations”. The program involved the creation and implementation of a virtual training tool along with a government guide (“Actions for Resilience of Children and Youth”) to build the capacity of key government, non-government and international entities responsible for the protection of the rights of children and youth during disasters and emergencies.
A pilot program was also applied in 16 schools in Ecuador and led to the development of guidelines and methodologies through field assessments of “codes of school life,” which promote a culture of peace in Four Cantons of the Northern Border in Sucumbíos. Based on these results, a guiding document on building such “codes of school life” was published in a participatory manner. The same process was replicated in the Province of Esmeraldas throughout 14 schools, to provide “Technical Assistance in the Field Assessment and Participatory Development of Codes of School Life” and eventually, the program was expanded to reach 50 additional schools in the affected rural communities of Muisne (Bolívar, Chamanga, Daule, Galera, Quingue, Salima and San Gregorio).
On April 2016, a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale struck the northern coast of the country, leaving 668 dead, eight missing, and 16’600 injured. A state of emergency was declared, and humanitarian efforts were put in place. Immediately, RET activated its emergency response and coordination mechanism with the Education and Protection Cluster in coordination with UNICEF and local institutions such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social and Economic Inclusion, and the Secretary of Risk Management.
RET implemented a program to raise the awareness of adolescents and youths on the consequences of earthquakes. Participants identified weaknesses and opportunities in their communities regarding three main themes: Education, water and sanitation, and living conditions. RET reached an agreement with UNICEF to be a direct implementer for an emergency recovery program funded by ECHO, which focused on water and sanitation, disaster risk reduction, and protection.
More recently, Latin America’s largest mass population migration in history has impacted Ecuador, with some 547,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador through the Colombian border (UNHCR, 2018).
RET, operating from its main offices in the provinces of Sucumbíos, Esmeraldas, and Pichincha, provided humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and refugees, enabled their socio-cultural integration into the host communities, and provided emergency care for displaced children and adolescents in different localities throughout Ecuador. RET was also involved in strengthening and supporting adolescents and young people and protecting children and adolescents by integrating them into the local education system.
Process of educational integration for children and adolescents in mobility and host community- 2022
The objective of the project is to promote and improve the educational inclusion of vulnerable migrant children, adolescents, and young people and favor their access to the national education system while ensuring retention, quality learning, and the completion of education. The project promotes the success of children and adolescents in the education system in two provinces, Esmeraldas and Pichincha’s.
RET, through its educational methodology, «Inclusive Educational Communities,» and the holistic approach of its interventions, seeks to identify children and adolescents outside the educational system and carry out educational inclusion processes. The project reduces gaps in access and permanence by providing educational kits and monetary transfers to support school children and their families as part of the school retention strategy; it strengthens learning and knowledge retention by offering spaces for remedial and educational reinforcement.
Moreover, some activities will also be carried out with parents and caregivers to strengthen their capacity to support their children’s learning and well-being, including spaces for psychosocial support. On the other hand, RET will promote integration spaces for adolescents in human mobility and host communities.
RET will coordinate project activities, particularly those related to case referrals, with the Working Group for Migrants and Refugees (GTRM) partners, the GTE (the education working group for the GTRM) of which it is co-leader, the Durable Solutions Committee, Ministry of Education and other civil society organizations that develop activities for the population in human mobility. The project will positively impact the lives of 900 children, adolescents, and their parents.
This project, implemented between July 2022 and November 2022, is implemented in partnership with IOM in Ecuador.
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.
This project, completed between November 2019 and November 2020, was implemented in partnership with Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and (UNICEF) in Ecuador.