CANADEM's Humanitarian Response in Latin America
~ Finding Solace and Care ~
Maria Ariza with UNFPA in the Latin America Regional Office
Regional GBV Coordinator
As Venezuela’s security and economic conditions continue to deteriorate, hundreds of people flee on a daily basis in search of safety and better living conditions. Population movements continue unabated, with over 6 million refugees residing in host countries in Latin America and the Caribbean . Brazil is no exception. According to the Coordination Platform for Venezuela R4V, to date the country hosts 489,000 individuals. Between 500 to 600 people enter the country on foot every day through both regular and irregular border crossing points after transiting through rough terrain and enduring multiple threats to their safety and dignity including looting, armed robberies, sexual exploitation and other forms of Gender Based Violence. As per IOM findings, some women transiting the route from Santa Helena to the state of Roraima have had to exchange sex for transportation and temporary accommodation during the journey.
After the perilous journey, refugees and migrants go to government are served in government run reception areas hosting UN agencies and NGO offices where they can access multisectoral lifesaving services such as temporary accommodation, cash assistance, health care, access to regularization procedures and protection and community services. In these reception areas, UNFPA operates women and girls safe spaces as an integral programmatic intervention that enable women to partake in activities to improve their wellbeing and facilitates their access to Gender Based Violence life saving services. The array of activities available in these spaces allow women to express themselves freely and safely, rebuild networks of support and in turn reduce the risk of Gender Based Violence and prevent further harm. UNFPA’s staff skillful facilitation of group activities and rapport built in individual sessions provides opportunities for refugee and migrant women and girls to discuss freely the challenges and stressors they face, build ties of trust and empathy with their peers and receive confidential referrals to reproductive health and GBV case management services.
CANADEM deployed two experts that train women and girls center staff in the Latin America region on case management and psychosocial support, group activity facilitation and provides mentoring and supervision for case workers. Their work contributes to maintain quality of activities offered in women and girls safe spaces and support case workers to better serve women at risk including Gender Based Violence survivors. The two GBV experts deployed support case workers to nurture competencies and skills to provide survivor centered care that meets Inter agency standards of quality.
 The humanitarian response for Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Brazil is led by the federal government and is called Operacao Acolhida, (Portuguese for operation welcome) which allows for people from Venezuela to enter the country regularly, apply for asylum and be relocated to other areas in the country. As per federal police, 763000 entered he country between 2018 and 2022 in search for opportunities. See “UNFPA Fundo de Populacao de ONY complete 5 anos na resposta humanitaria a crise migratoria no norte do Brasil”. Dec 26 2022 accesed through brazil.unfpa.org/pt/br/news
 IOM, Queen’s University, Monitoring of Gendered Threats for Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Women and Girls from Venezuela, 2022