Rapid needs assessment of older people - Venezuela, November 2019

Originally published



Older people’s right to humanitarian assistance

HelpAge International’s vision is of a world where older women and men lead active, dignified, healthy and secure lives. This applies to all older people, including those affected by humanitarian emergencies.
The four principles of humanitarian action – humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence – afford everyone the right to safe and dignified access to humanitarian assistance and protection without discrimination and on an equal basis with others. Commitment to international humanitarian law and these principles means everyone responding to a humanitarian crisis has a responsibility to ensure all those affected, including older people, have these rights upheld.
We want older people to be able to access humanitarian aid with dignity and in safety. Older women and men are not inherently vulnerable to disasters. However, when disasters strike, they are at risk of having their rights denied.

Rapid needs assessment of older people

This document assesses the specific needs for humanitarian support of older people affected by the crisis in Venezuela. The aim of this Rapid Needs Assessment (RNA-OP) is to inform the design of our own and other agencies’ humanitarian responses to the impact of the crisis. The assessment focuses on the states of Bolívar, Lara and Miranda. Bolivar was selected due its proximity to the Brazilian border, Lara because of its high concentration of older people, and Miranda due its socioeconomic diversity.
The report contains key findings of the assessment, together with observations and analysis by HelpAge’s humanitarian team and advisers. The report also aims to help all organisations operating in the affected areas - including humanitarian agencies, donors and cluster groups - develop inclusive programmes and at the same time forms part of our work advocating for the rights of older people.
Convite, a rights-based organisation working across Venezuela with support from HelpAge International, conducted the assessment in September 2019. HelpAge International welcomes comments and questions based on this report and offers technical support for inclusive responses.


The rapid needs assessment data collection was carried out through face-to-face individual interviews using a structured survey created by HelpAge International. Local community leaders were used to conduct the interviews due to the insecure conditions and their knowledge of the community and ability to identify older people in the restricted zones. The assessment used a two-step purposive sampling approach in order to reach women and men aged 50 and over. Initial respondents were identified through chain sampling based on referrals from the core community leaders and thereafter snowball sampling to meet required targets. Based on the targeted approach, the sample is not representative of the demographics of the population in Venezuela, but highlights trends across the older people group.
Of the 903 respondents, 448 were rural and 455 urban – almost an even split. The total RNA-OP sample was spread across the three states as follows:

• Bolívar: 21%.

• Lara: 35%

• Miranda: 44%

Prior to the data collection, HelpAge International provided a training of trainers for Convite leadership on the RNA-OP purpose, tool, process and methodology, which they then used to train their 22 data enumerators. A field-based pilot test was conducted to identify and resolve any issues with the tool and data collection.