It is estimated that more than 1.32 of 6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants are in Peru (UNHCR, 2021). Among them, 810,000 are in a situation of extreme vulnerability in terms of food, health and access to life opportunities. In addition, 531,000 have applied for refugee status (UNHCR, 2022).
Venezuelan people in Peru have many unmet basic needs. Sometimes they do not access health services due to xenophobia, or their diet depends on what they have been able to produce that day. If today they don't work, tomorrow they don't eat. --Julio Moreno, a UN Volunteer specialized in training and gamification processes for volunteers, currently assigned to UNDP Peru
To face this reality, WFP, UNDP and UNV have united in their commitment to volunteering as an engine to guarantee the right to food, health and social protection.
So far, there have been 13 UN Volunteers specialized in digital volunteer management who have mobilized more than 5,500 volunteers from civil society.
After an induction and training process, they have made about 86,000 telephone calls to guide more than 65,000 Venezuelan families in Peru on nutrition, food purchases, and social protection.
Due to their previous experiences in the Lima 2019 Pan American Games and the Peru Bicentennial Special Project, these UN Volunteers are experts in mobilization and the management of volunteer programmes.
"Through innovative virtual teaching methods, we seek that volunteers from civil society learn about the task at hand, but also develop skills and abilities. That is the added value of UN Volunteers," highlights Julio.
Why is it important to work with the Venezuelan refugee and migrant population? Because they are part of the citizenry in Peru. The families live here and feel very grateful, protected and accompanied after our calls. --Patsy Gutiérrez, an Expert UN Volunteer serving in volunteer management for UNDP Peru
“In training, we meet migrants who join in as volunteers in order to help their peers. That means that there is a dialogue between the Peruvian and Venezuelan community where labels no longer matter: what matters is that there are people wanting to help”, highlights Julio.
A sustainable planet is one in which people rely on others to guarantee a dignified life. From this perspective, WFP and UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean are committed to volunteerism as a method for building inclusive, supportive and community-based citizenry, where no one is left behind.
This article was translated with the kind support of Online Volunteer Bryan Parrish.