Ecuador & Colombia Scoping Mission

After 10 days of interviews with organizations, spontaneous meetings with people in parks, and a day and a half at Ecuador’s northern border with Colombia, we have concluded Dahlia’s scoping mission on the communication and information needs of Venezuelan migrants, the coordination mechanisms in place between institutions, and attitudes in the host country toward the foreigners.

I was fortunate enough to stay at the apartment of my supervisor’s cousin in Quito, which made my stay very comfortable. Unfortunately, I spoke a little less Spanish than I should have, since her partner was French, meaning we usually resorted to that in conversation. But I am quite certain my Spanish has been at least slightly reinforced after all the reports I read and all the interviews we led on the field in Spanish, with which I’m quite content.

Starting the very first day after our arrival in Quito, my supervisor and I were out to attend all the meetings that had been set up from our office in Madrid, as part of a busy agenda. We spoke to members of various local and international organizations that have been at the frontline of humanitarian efforts in the region, such as ADRA, Red Cross, UNICEF, UNHCR, and others. Our job was to understand how information flows between organizations and Venezuelans, within migrant circles, as well as between organizations — what institutional coordination efforts look like. We looked for gaps, good practices, and other particularities of this work that would help us develop an assessment of the situation with a list of recommendations for going forward. Broad in scope, our methods included interviews with both organizations and Venezuelans, primarily through informal and arranged interviews. One of the team members was a journalist affiliated to Dahlia who was in charge of video.

Dahlia has long been an organization that has tried to bring innovative practices in the evaluation cycle, with multiple projects that intentionally challenge the standard format of evaluation report + executive summary that dominates the shelves of humanitarian agencies but doesn’t clearly demonstrate an evolving sector to the best of possibilities. In Ecuador again, our goal was to stray away from excessively formal, technical, or dense jargon that clogs evaluations and hinders their usability. Using video in intentional ways meant creating a product that accompanies and complements the textual version of our work, increasing its reach by reducing barriers to accessibility and readability. It also mean a more direct engagement with affected individuals on the ground.

Over the next weeks, we will be working together to wrap all this up and provide feedback to the organizations and individuals we interacted with.

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