February 2015 - Latin America
Livelihoods are all the assets that allow a person to cover their basic needs, including food, education and protection. In conflict or post-conflict situations livelihoods are usually profoundly affected. Recovering them is therefore necessary to allow youth to rebuild their social and economic environments. Ultimately, this plays a core role in protecting vulnerable young refugees by helping them overcome the crisis.
RET’s actions in Latin America and the Caribbean are based on a holistic approach with the objective of ensuring protection as well as socio-economic integration for young refugees and their families. At present these actions are developed mainly in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama and Venezuela and have a strong focus on improving livelihoods.
In the region, RET’s focus since 2009 has been on strengthening livelihoods through a non-formal education process ranging from the first stages of general training, up to social and technical follow up. The process is not limited to the delivery of working equipment or provisions as so often with traditional livelihoods programmes. Rather, it pursues profound socioeconomic impacts through educational activities oriented towards resilience and effective integration in the communities.
Through its actions RET challenges commonly held beliefs that refugees, by the very nature of their situation, are economically isolated. This leads to beliefs that they represent a burden for the host countries and are hopelessly dependant on international humanitarian aid.
According to the Centre of Refugee Studies of the Oxford University, refugees develop in a short period of time an intense economic activity through networks of goods and services and generate productive initiatives.
With adequate follow-up and training, young people who were forced to leave their home countries are able to support themselves economically, integrate into the socioeconomic dynamic of the host country and contribute to its development.
RET’s teams of specialists in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama and Venezuela provide protection to vulnerable young people in crisis, while achieving lasting impacts through education, including training, capacity building and follow-up to ensure the reconstruction of their livelihoods.