Colombia + 1 more

Colombia: Population Movement (MDRCO014) Final Evaluation


Executive summary

In the past, Venezuela hosted thousands of refugees from the region and other parts of the world. However, since 2014, there has been a significant increase in Venezuelans seeking refugee status worldwide, principally in the Americas. Colombia continues to be the number one receptor of Venezuelan migrants, with 1.7 million (35%). As of December 2020, 56% of the Venezuelan migrants in Colombia had an irregular status; this amounts to more than 983,000 people.

With the increase in the flow of the migrant population since 2014, there has been a corresponding rise in humanitarian needs. Aware of these growing and changing needs, the Colombian Red Cross Society (CRCS), in close partnership with other Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) movement partners, has been engaged in various initiatives targeting migrant populations. In March 2018, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the CRCS 2 worked together to put in place an Emergency Appeal (the Appeal, herein) aimed at providing health and complementary services (i.e. shelter, WASH, livelihoods, among others) to people in need, affected by the migratory situation in the departments of Arauca, Atlántico, Bolivar, Cundinamarca, La Guajira, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Santander, Valle del Cauca, and Vichada, as well as other departments. Over the years of operation, the Appeal required a total of 10,000,000 CHF from donors. Donors' response generated coverage of 8,180,061 CHF. The expenditure to date3 is 7,365,917 CHF.

In 2021, IFRC commissioned IWORDS Consulting (part of IWORDS Global) to evaluate the Appeal against four criteria: relevance and coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability. The evaluation was conducted virtually due to challenges such as COVID-19 and public order instability in Colombia. The latter led to a limited engagement of beneficiaries and volunteers that leaves an important gap in the data collection process, despite the measures taken for mitigation. The evaluation process involved a thorough desk review; 41 key informant interviews with individuals involved in planning, implementing, and monitoring and evaluating the Emergency Appeal at the different levels; 5 interviews with beneficiaries engaged in the livelihood component (seed funding for enterprising); and participation in a lessons-learned workshop.

Key findings

Relevance and coherence

• The Appeal is aligned to priorities agreed by existing multisector/multi-partner partnerships focused on addressing the needs of migrant populations, such as the Inter-agency Group for Mixed Migratory Flows (GIFMM, Spanish) and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT). By actively participating in coordination platforms, the CRCS and IFRC have gained first-hand information on the evolving needs of the target populations and the interventions delivered by others which, in turn, has supported the alignment of the Appeal to national-level strategies and response plans, and the process of continuous adaptation.

• The Appeal revisions have been informed by multiple studies and the monitoring of data. This has led to a response that is relevant to meet the most pressing needs of beneficiaries. For instance, selecting target populations and geographical areas of interventions build on an index that compares the incidence of migration and related health conditions among the 32 provinces of Colombia. The index considers COVID-19, neglected tropical diseases, the incidence of chronic disease, malnutrition, gender-based violence, and multidimensional poverty. The index analysis is complemented by assessing institutional response capacity, surveys and reports generated by other authoritative sources.

• The Appeal aligns with the "IFRC Global Strategy on Migration 2018 - 2022 Reducing Vulnerability, Enhancing Resilience" and other relevant frameworks, such as the CRCS's 2018-2021 National Strategy for Attention to Migrants the IFRC's Minimum Standards for Protection, Gender, and Inclusion in Emergencies.

• Efforts implemented through the Appeal give continuity and/or support other initiatives implemented by the CRCS with the support of other movement actors. It is worth highlighting that during the life of the Appeal, over 15 additional initiatives related to migration have been implemented by the National Society.

• The Appeal has kept its relevance by continuously adapting to meet beneficiaries' needs, including responding to the challenges brought by COVID-19. For instance, over different kits (i.e. dignity kits, food kits, psychosocial kits) and multiple types of cash-based interventions and vouchers were delivered during the implementation period. While such level of adaptation constitutes success in terms of acknowledging the differential needs of the target population in an emergency, key informants expressed concern about the dispersion of efforts. Potential problems linked to this include lack of resources to effectively implement activities that require sustained efforts or increased costs in operation, i.e., large bulk purchases, cannot be implemented.

• Increased coordination with Red Cross National Societies (NSs) in border countries —notably Venezuela and Ecuador— could have amplified the appropriateness of the response for migrant populations.