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Regional Information and Communication Needs Assessment; Understanding the information and communication needs of refugees and migrants in the Venezuela Situation, November 2019

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About the Assessment

The objective of the Information and Communication Needs Assessment in the context of the Venezuela Situation was to create a common baseline to understand the information and communication needs of different population groups. The feedback gathered from refugees and migrants will guide and improve our strategies, interventions and tools for communicating with communities in 2020.

Several initiatives have been carried out in the region to collect information on the communication needs and information sources used by refugees and migrants, however they were not standalone exercises (i.e. part of general participatory assessments), coordinated among the actors on the ground and have not been carried out in a structured and systematized way in all countries. The objective of this exercise is to carry out an evaluation with basic questions in countries involved in the Venezuela Situation response to be able to analyze the information, compare trends and measure the impact throughout the region. It will serve to gather evidence-based data to help develop information-sharing tools, prevent creating and duplicating tools and enhance access to communication and information to refugees and migrants.

It was the first time that a simultaneous evaluation was carried out in the context of this emergency, or focusing on refugees and migrants’ information and communication needs across the region. The questions cover the channels used, access to information, needs, preferences, reliable sources and how individuals would like to interact with humanitarian actors and how they receive information from community structures. This assessment allows us to see the different needs of refugees and migrants with a focus on age, gender and diversity7 . The methodology and tools were developed and contextualized using various sources for the assessment of information and communication needs such as those from “Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC)”8 , UNHCR Communicating with Communities9 , Internews assessments, among others.

The “Regional Information and Communication Needs Assessment for the Venezuela Situation” was carried out in fifteen countries: Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay. This exercise led by UNHCR and IFRC, was conducted within the framework of the interagency coordination, with the participation of refugees, migrants and host communities and different humanitarian actors, including national and international NGOs, United Nations agencies, National Red Cross Societies and the IFRC, church-based organizations, human rights committees, refugee organizations and state institutions, among others. It was a joint effort between the CwC/C4D Working Group of the Regional Platform and National Platforms, leading the implementation phase, coordinating efforts with the different members that integrate them. It was a positive interaction between the organizations engaged in the platform, with structured planning and joint complementary assessments.

The exercise was implemented in several stages, 1) conducting a desk review; 2) developing and testing the tools; 3) collecting data; 4) reviewing, analyzing and reporting the data. The targeted population were refugees and migrants from Venezuela and from other nationalities, in-destination (residing in host countries) or in transit in countries majorly affected by the Venezuelan situation, humanitarian actors, local authorities, and host communities. An online training with focal points was carried out by the regional CwC/C4D Working Group and others were organized at local level to review the tools and methodology with respondents before starting the process and carrying out the surveys and focus group discussions. Personnel with experience in data collection and protection background were identified and prioritized to carry out this exercise. Observation was also an important aspect of assessment process.

The tools were developed in a consultative process, designed and reviewed with the regional and national actors. These included a 1) main survey conducted with enumerators (main survey); 2) online self-administered survey (online survey); 3) interviews with key informant people (KII); and 4) Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). With the exception of focus group discussions, the tools were designed using Kobo Toolbox, using an internet browser on a mobile phone or tablet. The tools were also available offline.

A piloting exercise was conducted in Colombia before launching the assessment, this helped to adjust the tools and test them in real time with refugees and migrants. Feedback on the tools was also collected and integrated to reflect the different contexts and different profiles of the population interviewed. This was an important aspect of the assessment, as in the Venezuela context, people are very mobile so there was a need for different iterations of the tool and to change significantly the tools that were adopted from other contexts.

A detailed three-month planning with timeframes was established and implemented by regional and national actors. Guidance was provided on the minimum number of interviews and FGDs to be conducted in each country, however all were conducted according to their capacities and their existing resources. Not all locations within each country with presence of refugees and migrants were part of this assessment. In many of the countries the number of interviews conducted is not representative with the number of refugees and migrants. Therefore, it is important to note that the information collected serve as an indication and the results are not representative of the overall situation in each country.