The International Rescue Committee (IRC), in partnership with Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and Encuentros Servicio Jesuita para Migrantes (Encuentros), held an event to relaunch the Veninformado-InfoPa'lante Peru service, which provides online guidance to help migrants access reliable information. In addition, an interactive map presents the range of services available throughout the country during emergencies.

In 2018, LWR and Encuentros created VenInformado digital platform to deliver key information that would allow Venezuelan nationals restart their lives in Peru and provide support to family members left behind. Since its inception, this service has personally and directly provided support for more than 60,000 cases and has created a community of over 50,000 people through Facebook and Instagram. In November, Veninformados made a strategic alliance with Signpost, a global IRC initiative from 2015 that is now present in more than 20 countries and is partnered with Zendesk, to send more agile responses and track the care provided. The synergy between Signpost and Veninformado maximises local impact and will allow for the expansion of regional reach.

Before launching this new project, an information needs assessment carried out in different localities in Peru showed that 84% of the participating population use social networks. The respondents indicated needing to receive more information on migration issues, health, employment in Peru, services for women, food, shelter, and cross-border routes.

For ease of use, 63% of the participants responded that they use Facebook regularly; likewise, they answered that they prefer to receive secure information through their family or friends and Whatsapp. The study also reflected that there is a gap in accessing reliable sources of information due to lack of knowledge of technological tools.

Julio Rank Wright, Regional Vice President for Latin America at IRC, who participated in the event, said:

“People on the migration route and those who want to settle in their host countries continue to face challenges and needs. Access to reliable information becomes a valuable tool that allows them to continue their journey safely protecting them from risks arising from misinformation. We are proud to present a platform like VenInformado-InfoPa'lante Peru that will bring people experiencing displacement closer to organisations that can provide vital services. We want them to make informed decisions with credible, vetted information, which will allow them to have a more dignified life.”

Latin American countries such as Peru have hosted many people from Venezuela: 1.5 million people have arrived in the country and 532,000 people have requested refuge. There are funding gaps, insufficient support from the international community, a combination of contrasting immigration policies, overburdened national systems and constant challenges that migrants face. This is why it is important to develop projects that allow for greater impact and scale, that are based on the needs of the population, and that leverage technology-supported resources.

IRC's response to the Venezuelan crisis

IRC is on the ground providing a collective response to support Venezuelan people in a holistic and timely manner where they need it most: implementing programmes with a mixed model of partnerships with local organisations and direct implementation in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and providing support to at-risk populations through local organizations in Venezuela.