HIAS in Guyana
Country Director: Alex Theran
About 22,000 Venezuelans — more than half of them women — live in Guyana, as do the Warao indigenous community seeking international protection, and Guyanese returning to Guyana from Venezuela. HIAS Guyana focuses on helping these groups, particularly single women, women-headed households, survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), survivors of torture, older people, people with disabilities and serious medical conditions, and LGBTQ refugees.
COVID-19 has destabilized the lives of refugees and migrants across Latin America and the Caribbean, cutting off access to income and increasing vulnerability to violence. To respond to their heightened needs, HIAS Guyana has modified its services by implementing remote support and developing other innovative solutions.
HIAS PROGRAMS AND FOCUS
HIAS protects and supports refugees to build new lives and reunite with family members in safety and freedom. In Guyana, HIAS provides a comprehensive response to the situation facing Venezuelan refugees and migrants through interventions for GBV prevention and response, community-based mental health and psychosocial support, humanitarian assistance, and integration.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE (GBV) PREVENTION AND RESPONSE
Women, girls, and LGBTQ individuals are disproportionately affected by forced displacement. HIAS’ GBV services are driven by the needs and the voices of survivors, and our GBV programming helps forcibly displaced women, girls, and LGBTQ individuals to pursue their potential, free from violence and gender-related oppression. HIAS Guyana promotes beneficiary-centered and evidence-based protection interventions for Venezuelan refugees and migrants and other persons of concern, including members of the host community. HIAS’ comprehensive response helps to reduce the risk of GBV and trafficking, and ensures GBV survivors can access quality response services. This response includes providing practical information on GBV and anti-trafficking, hosting group orientation sessions for women at risk, and providing cash and voucher assistance to survivors.
COMMUNITY-BASED MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT
Refugees and forcibly displaced people face adversity and extreme stressors, including loss of loved ones, violence, and disruptions to daily life. HIAS’ mental health programs train community members to recognize acute emotional distress in children and adults as a result of crisis, and how to respond with empathy and respect. HIAS Guyana supports Venezuelans’ well-being by implementing culturally appropriate support programs focused on community-based approaches. HIAS Guyana supports the development of community and peer groups, facilitating opportunities for connection in a safe environment.
HIAS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (LAC)
HIAS advocates for the protection of refugees, other forcibly displaced populations, and local host communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. As part of a comprehensive regional response to meet the urgent needs of these populations, including the millions of displaced Venezuelans, HIAS participates in several regional coordination platforms and partnerships with a focus on protection, food security, GBV, and cash and voucher assistance, including:
REDLAC (IASC Regional Work Group Risk, Emergencies and Disasters)
UNHCR/IOM Regional Platform for the Venezuela Situation Response (R4V)
Interagency Group on Mixed Migration Flows (GIFMM) in Colombia
Working Group for Refugees and Migrants (GTRM) in Ecuador and Peru
HIAS currently has programs in nine countries in LAC (Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela) and partners with a wide range of government agencies, UN entities (UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, UNVFVT), the private sector (Airbnb, TATA Consultancy Services, and Manpower), and other NGOs and consortia, including Jesuit Refugee Service, Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council, Plan International, and Girls not Brides.
Find us on Facebook and Instagram at @HIASGuyana
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