Woman stands next to a lamp post talking on her cell phone surrounded by luggage and belongings of fellow migrants at the border crossing

A view of the UNHCR tent at the border crossing in Tumbes, Peru, where Venezuelans can receive assistance in applying for refugee status.

VenInformado: technology to support Venezuelan migrants & refugees

  • Yesibeth Centeno
  • Sep 16, 2021

Adaptado de este blog en español: VenInformado: una plataforma digital para migrantes y refugiados venezolanos en Perú

Migrating is a complex and challenging process for anyone who decides to undertake the journey. Many are forced to migrate because they can no longer find a viable alternative in their homeland.

Such is the case in Venezuela, where the political and economic crisis has subjected many to violence, persecution and limited access to health care and food, forcing more than 5.3 million people to flee to surrounding countries in search of decent living conditions. In Peru, there are more than 1 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants, each with unique needs relating to legal status, health, education, shelter and employment.

Developing a digital platform to inform and guide

Lutheran World Relief developed the digital platform VenInformado to help connect the Venezuelan refugee and migrant population with critical, accurate information and personalized virtual legal, psychosocial and livelihoods assistance. VenInformado launched in October 2018 with the support of our local partner Encuentros Servicio Jesuita al Migrante.

The free digital platform was created to inform and guide migrants and refugees on migration issues, reducing the gap in access to information and promoting sustainable solutions for local integration. Lutheran World Relief soon learned that to provide greater support and promote integration into society, the platform also needed to prioritize mental health. In October 2020, VenInformado launched a new feature that focused on psychosocial and emotional health by collaborating with the Center for Psychosocial Care (CAPS), a local nonprofit that advocates for mental health care for people affected by political and social violence.

A VenInformado staff member in her cargo vest uniform shares information about the program with a man sitting in front of a blue wall

A VenInformado staff member shares information about the program

Encouraging conversations around emotional well-being

Together, Lutheran World Relief and CAPS created the channel #SaludableMente (#HealthyMind), a space that addresses various issues around change, grief, depression, violence, xenophobia and other important content to empower and encourage conversations around emotional well-being with migrants and refugees.

The platform's mental health efforts are supported with thematic articles, weekly publications and live webinars. Most recently, we created VenInformado Contigo, a new podcast that allows us to connect with the platform's followers in an innovative way.

Currently, the podcast is showcasing a miniseries called El Poder de la Escucha (The Power of Listening). We tell the story of Yani, a Venezuelan teenager in Peru who, because of the overwhelming process of leaving her home country and starting a new life, is struggling with her mental health. Yani's family worries about her well-being and contacts a psychotherapist at CAPS who is now accompanying her to confront and overcome these challenges.

Migrants and refugees can identify with stories from people like Yani and use the podcast as a tool to find support during their process of social integration.

Close up of hands holding cell phone showing VenInformado platform

Estefany Gabriela Martinez, 24, arrived in Peru as a Venezuelan refugee and was unsure about her residency status. She found her answers through VenInformado, a digital platform offering practical information and real-time advice.

One-stop shop for useful, verified information on immigration

VenInformado is a digital platform that evolves and transforms. It is providing free guidance to more than 4,000 monthly users and reaches 700K unique accounts through posts across its social networks. On the multichannel space users can reach personalized guidance from specialists and access content that is shared across social media posts, in-depth blog articles, live webinars with professionals, and now audio content through podcasts. It serves as a one-stop shop for Venezuelans to find useful, verified information on immigration, laws, and life in Peru.

Lutheran World Relief and our local partners are committed to supporting Venezuelan migrants and refugees and the communities that host them. Access the VenInformado platform at the links below. 

Yesibeth Centeno, Sep 16, 2021