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IRC Crisis Research Trends: Information Needs in Latin America – Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

New York, NY, October 18, 2022 — As humanitarian crises evolve and spread across Latin America, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) presented an analysis of information-seeking trends in relation to the needs of Venezuelans in Colombia, people in the north from Central America and along the migration corridors in Mexico.

The IRC has set up three digital information platforms in the region to support people in humanitarian contexts: InfoDigna in Mexico; CuéntaNos in northern Central America; and InfoPa’lante, in response to the needs of Venezuelans in Colombia and Ecuador. After analyzing information searches made by users of the three platforms during the first half of 2022, the IRC identified that:

  • **A quarter of visits to Mexico **were related to aspects such as safety, security and healthcare.
  • More than half of visits to northern Central America were related to mental health orientation.
  • At least 16% of visits to Colombia were linked to the processes of regularization of Venezuelans.

** Julio Rank Wright, IRC Acting Vice President Latin America, said: **

“When people face a humanitarian crisis, access to reliable information can mean the difference between being in danger or going to safety. Clear communication, accurate sources of information and referrals to trustworthy service providers are essential in decision-making moments.

“With InfoDigna, CuéntaNos and InfoPa’lante, we strive to support people across Latin America who live in need of humanitarian assistance during these moments of decision making. Whether in their host communities, in transit or as they integrate into a new community, we put access to information at their service to help them survive, recover and rebuild their lives.

Mexico: Information on the Way

Since 2020, the IRC InfoDigna supported displaced populations along the country’s main migration corridors. After analyzing a sample of the ten most visited content, the IRC identified that users of the platform were mainly looking for information related to:

  • Travel throughout Mexico (25% of visits), including aspects such as alternatives for tracing those detained in the country; have access to COVID-19 vaccines; and payment of fines resulting from the expiration of the immigration permit, a requirement for leaving the country.
  • Northern border issues (21% of visits), especially when it comes to searching for people detained in the United States – which was the most visited content of any topic – and understanding Title 42.
  • Migration and regularization issues in Mexico (6% of visits), mainly looking for information on the process of obtaining the multiple immigration form (FMM) and obtaining Mexican nationality.

North of Central America: support in the middle of the crisis

The CRI launched CuentaNos in 2018, in anticipation of the end of Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans in the United States. Since then, the IRC has extended CuéntaNos to Guatemala and Honduras. After analyzing the ten most visited content across all topics by country, the IRC identified that:

  • Mental health was the most searched content across all countries, accounting for 57% of total sampled visits to content that addresses aspects such as access to free psychosocial support or overcoming difficult situations.
  • Women-focused news was the second most relevant topic, garnering at least 11% of sample visits– as users were primarily looking for advice on preventing and responding to gender-based violence.

Colombia: meeting Venezuelans in the largest host community

Through InfoPa’lantethe IRC has been supporting people who have arrived in Colombia from Venezuela in their integration process since 2020, recently expanding the Signpost instance to Ecuador. During the first half of this year, the main information needs of Venezuelans in Colombia were:

  • Regularization process (36% of visits), with Venezuelans seeking advice on the different stages of temporary protected status.
  • Border Affairs (15% of visits), including aspects such as bridge opening hours, the obligation to enter Colombia and/or Venezuela, the risks associated with irregular border crossings, among others.
  • Obtaining Colombian nationality (12% of sampled visits), being an article related to the passport application, the most visited content on the whole platform.

InfoDigna, CuéntaNos and Infopa’lante are digital information platforms part of the global Signpost project, which are powered by Zendesk. Signpost empowers users to make informed decisions about how to stay safe and access essential services and focuses on communities through dynamic two-way communication.

The IRC in Latin America

The IRC responds across the arc of crisis in Latin America. Currently, the IRC’s work focuses on: protecting women, children and members of the LGBTQ+ community, including preventing and responding to gender-based violence; economic well-being through emergency cash assistance and livelihoods programs; primary, sexual and reproductive health; mental health and psychosocial support; education; early childhood development; and cultural orientation. To empower people in key decision-making moments, the IRC also promotes access to critical information across Latin America through InfoPa’lante, CuéntaNos and InfoDigna, digital platforms that are part of the Global Signpost project.