Since 2012, RET has directly supported more than 35,217 direct participants in Venezuela, 60% of them are vulnerable women and indirectly benefitted 176.085 participants throughout 13 projects focused on Health & WASH, Nutrition & Food Security, Self-reliance & Livelihoods, Basic Infrastructure & Equipment and Education.
RET began its activities in Venezuela in 2012, in the states of Bolívar, Mérida, Táchira, Trujillo and Zuliawith a vision to support both the host and refugee communities, especially Columbian asylum seekers in need of international protection. RET therefore opened offices in Caracas, San Cristóbal and Maracaibo. Since the beginning of its operations, RET developed programs aimed at strengthening the formal and non-formal educational opportunities, providing employment guidance, livelihoods and programs for youth, as well as was involved in violence prevention. Venezuela, despite the critical situation it is currently facing, is still a host country for Colombian victims of armed conflict.
The economic and social crisis in Venezuela has aggravated the living conditions of the host and refugee communities present in the country. People are struggling to survive due to the deterioration of the productive system and the unavailability of basic services such as: essential goods; an unproductive agriculture sector; a lack of health services and health supplies and a lack of consistent access to reliable water and/or energy sources. This in turn has led to a high rate of crimes, violence, and poverty in the country, leading to internal and external displacement of large populations, an increase in the occurrence of common diseases and malnutrition (in both children and adults).
Throughout 2019, RET continued its operations in Venezuela, responding to the challenging living conditions of vulnerable people and assisting them with international protection and multi-sectoral humanitarian interventions.
Addressing the urgent food, health and sanitation needs of vulnerable communities in five states of Venezuela
Venezuela is dealing with a complex situation, related to its economic, political and social instability and characterized by the deterioration of the productive system and the quality and availability of basic services. This has resulted in a shortage of supplies, such as: essential goods; an unproductive agriculture sector; a lack of health services and health supplies (according to the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation, the level of scarcity of medicine was at 85% in 2018); and a lack of consistent access to reliable water and/or energy. This in turn has led to the reappearance of previously eradicated diseases, an increase in the occurrence of common diseases, malnutrition (in both children and adults).
In response, RET project proposed a multi-sectoral and comprehensive response to address the essential needs of the population in the States of Mérida, Zulia, Táchira, Bolivar, Trujillo, which have been identified as among the most vulnerable regions in the country, with scarcity of basic goods; poverty and deteriorated living conditions; malnourishment; lack of safe water and deficiency in health services.
The project strategies address several of the goals from the 2030 “Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in a multi- sectoral response through the prioritization of sectors corresponding to: Food Security and Nutrition (SDG 2), Health (SDG 3) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (SDG 6). It guarantees the complementary nature of actions planned for the three sectors and the interdependence between them, providing the required comprehensive approach to achieve better results.
Additionally, the technical design of this program is in accordance with national priorities that have been established in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2015-2019 and agreed on by the Government of Venezuela and the United Nations Country Team. Three main sectors have been identified as fundamental to improve the life quality of the Venezuelan most affected population:
Agriculture & Food Security: Agro-ecological strategies, such as family gardens that involve the provision of seeds and seedlings based on the needs identified with participants in coordination with the National Institute ofAgriculture (INSAI). Strengthening of the existing agricultural structures through the provision of technical assistance, tools and supplies. Collection and certification of harvested seeds. Implementation of strategies for the household hermetic storage of seeds. Moreover, the chosen approach also includes an alternative food program (to take advantage of the gardens products). In the family gardens, a quarter of the land that is planted will be allocated for the production/ harvesting of new seeds and seedlings, their certification and subsequent household level hermetic storage. The implementation involves local expert, RET technical staff and the provision of technical assistance through partnerships with the Ministry of Agriculture, INSAI, the farmers’ associations the universities and when needed external consultants. This local engagement facilitates the integration of the local agro-food production structure, ensuring the sustainability of the process.
Provision of Health Services: Corrective maintenance of wards and water facilities of the primary care health centers and/ or Integral Diagnostic Centers (CDIs). Provision, repair and/or maintenance of basic medical equipment. Supply of prioritized of(basic) essential medicines. Training of staff from the primary care health centers and/or CDIs in first aid and obstetric emergencies care. Implementation of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health and provision of post rape treatment kit in crisis situations. Holding of Integrated Health Fairs that are organized in partnership with primary care health centers or CDIs (general medicine, gynecology, physiatrists, nutrition including medical exams and the provision of available medications. Capacity-building and empowering of Community Health Workers in the topics described under each sub sector. The following strategies are key to promoting sustainable health services: 1.Comprehensive health workshops in alliance with the primary health care centers and CDIs. 2. Provision of supplies and medication. 3. Corrective maintenance of WASH and sanitation areas in primary care health centers.
Access to safe water and improvement of hygiene conditions: This sector is addressed through a three-fold strategy: A WASH family approach that includes training on WASH in emergencies, to family members complemented by the provision of hygiene kits to be distributed based on individual needs and gender. Creation of Hygiene Promotion Clubs made up by young people who will receive training on hygiene and hand washing accompanied by the distribution of hand washing kits. They will design and implement hygiene campaigns in their respective family and community environments. Corrective maintenance of basic infrastructure for sanitary facilities and water system in schools, guaranteeing access to drinking water and sanitation conditions for students and the education community. Moreover, the education community is in charge of monitoring the improvements made in schools, as result of the trainings and awareness raising campaigns carried out. The role of the Hygiene Clubs will be strategic to ensure future sustainability for the interventions along with Water Committees run by members of the local population who will be responsible for supervising and safeguarding the resources delivered during the project, as well as identifying risks and proposing water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to local authorities.
Providing direct assistance in Water Sanitation, Hygiene and Education to Venezuelan people inside Venezuela and also to promote the access to an inclusive, quality education for migrants and refugees
The schools, community and health centers in Venezuela lack infrastructure and equipment, making it difficult to provide quality education for children and youth. The aim of this project is to provide access of vulnerable Venezuelans to a Water Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) assistance and to promote the access to an inclusive, quality education for migrants and refugees in the states of Mérida and Táchira. RET will be working in partnership with Plan International, Don Bosco Foundation and HIAS to recover the water supply systems in schools, health & community centers and facilitating the access of young migrants into the formal education system; in addition, RET will be implementing initiatives to raise awareness among the families on the importance of education as an enabling right.
Nutritional care for children under 5 years of age, mothers, and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers (Zulia, Tachira, Bolivar)
This project contributes to ensuring that children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers have access to nutrition services and programs that are relevant and of good quality.