Panama, 30 January 2020
A regional survey on the information and communication needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela found that half of them feel that they don’t have enough information on their rights and where to obtain assistance. The study was carried out by over 30 organizations across Latin America and the Caribbean, under the framework of the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V).
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean host an estimated 3.9 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela. With rising numbers, increasing needs and limited resources, humanitarian organizations have come together to understand the needs and at the same time support adaptation processes that put people at the center of the response.
The assessment aims to understand what the communication preferences and habits of people on the move are, identify the best way to reach those in need, and inform them about their rights and assistance available to them.
According to the exercise, the main communication channels and sources of information for refugees and migrants from Venezuela are WhatsApp and Facebook. In addition, face-to-face communication with family, friends and humanitarian actors are among the most trusted sources of information, especially for those in transit.
“There is a lot of information on social media but it is incorrect or inaccurate. We would like to receive information through social networks but from trusted sources; true and accurate information.” Main survey, Venezuelan woman in Peru.
While some 70 percent of interviewees said they have access to information and to a mobile phone, a considerable number – 30 percent – do not have access to a mobile phone to communicate with friends and family or to look for information, with differences across the countries and depending on whether they are in transit or in-destination.
Implementing strong and inclusive communication mechanisms, including the establishment of feedback and accountability systems shape the way timely and potentially life-saving information is shared through communication channels of choice which help people make decisions at any stage of their journey. Trust, availability and inclusivity are all criteria that must be considered when formulating the correct approach to establishing such communications.
Increased community engagement and participation of refugees, migrants and host communities throughout all the interventions that affect their lives is needed to ensure assistance responds to actual needs and priorities.
The exercise was jointly led by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IFRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as part of the Communicating with Communities/Communication for Development Working Group of the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform (R4V), co-lead by UNICEF, in coordination with regional and national inter-agency structures.
The report is available here (link)
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