USAID/Colombia Venezuela Response and Integration
More than 2 million Venezuelans have migrated to Colombia since 2016, fleeing social, economic, and political hardship in search of employment and essential services. This massive population influx, coupled with sizeable numbers of Colombian returnees displaced by 50 years of armed conflict, has acutely strained public and private services and systems, particularly in urban areas and border towns with high concentrations of migrants. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has depleted fiscal reserves, reduced private sector risk tolerance, and aggravated xenophobia, further threatening to destabilize receptor communities.
USAID/Colombia designed the Venezuela Response and Integration (VRI) activity to work with the Colombian government, private sector, and migrant community to respond to these challenges and co-create the institutional, economic, and social architecture of inclusive prosperity. VRI serves as an umbrella delivery mechanism under which USAID/Colombia issues individual task orders to strengthen governance, combat xenophobia, and increase formal economic opportunities for migrants, returnees, and receptor communities.
The first task order, the Migration Management Activity, or Integra, strengthens Colombia’s governance capacity and service delivery systems and provides a behavioral science-based strategic communications platform for VRI to combat xenophobia. The second task order, Migrant Economic Integration Activity, supports migrant economic participation by aligning the skills of migrants with private sector needs, catalyzing investment in migrant workers and entrepreneurs, and ensuring a supportive policy environment.
By supporting the Colombian public and private sectors to strengthen public systems and catalyze migrant economic participation, VRI will improve socioeconomic integration and stability in areas impacted by migration.
Photo Credit: Hanz Rippe and Fernanda Pineda for USAID/Colombia.