The Secretary General of Bogotá, Margarita Barraquer recognized the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for its insight on the inclusion of the migrant population in the city. It took place at the discussion ‘A search for the inclusion of the Venezuelan migrant population in Bogotá’, convened by USAID's Regional Governance Program (RGA).
The objective of this event was to present the RGA’s results on strengthening the scope of the District Administration regarding migration flow.
This program focused on re-enforcing the institutional response to the migrant population. To this effect, the RGA provided support to the Secretariats of Social Integration, Women, Security and Government, by financing professional consultancies that allowed the improvement of the District’s management of the provision of goods and services for the migrant population.
Likewise, it allowed the development of the communication campaign 'Migration without Prejudice,’ the objective of which is to contribute to the transformation of representations and stereotypes that legitimize discrimination and violence against the migrant population.
The event was attended by Larry Sacks, USAID Colombia Mission Director; Yaneth Caballero, Director of the Regional Governance Program (RGA); Jerónimo Castillo, Director of Security and Criminal Policy of the Ideas for Peace Foundation; Ariel Ávila, Deputy Director of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation; Hugo Acero, District Secretary for Security and Justice; Xinia Navarro, District Secretary for Social Integration; Yenny Guzmán, Undersecretary of Equality Policies of the Secretariat for Women and Camilo Acero, Undersecretary of Governance and Guarantee of Rights of the Government Secretariat.
At the podium, the Secretary General of Bogotá Margarita Barraquer recognized the importance of a strategic alliance with USAID and the progress that has been made to make the New Social and Environmental Contract for Bogotá in the XXI century a reality. “Bogotá has welcomed approximately 340 thousand people due to mixed migratory flows coming from Venezuela, the work we are doing to move towards a caring city cannot leave the migrants out,” highlighted the Secretary General.
She also spoke of the different approaches with which the administration utilizes toward the care of the migrant population. “The Secretary for Social Integration has sought to include more than 50 thousand people in all our projects: we have guaranteed access to the education of more than 45 thousand migrant boys and girls; access to healthcare for more than 85 thousand people; and we are developing campaigns for the prevention of xenophobia and the integration of this population into our society”. Informed Barraquer.
In his presentation, the USAID Colombia Mission Director spoke of the social impacts of migration processes, “We are convinced that migration has a positive effect on medium and long-term economic growth in Colombia, that is why we are working hand-in-hand with the National Government and local governments to strengthen the institutional response, facilitate access to services by the migrant population and strengthen co-existence in host communities”, highlighted Larry Sacks.
Then the Secretary of Integration spoke of the strategies that Bogotá has been developing with all its secretariats and different national and international organizations through an inter-institutional roundtable for attention to migrants. “Through this roundtable, we will approach this with socio-cultural integration and not an emergency response like the one that has been used. With the new social rescue project for Bogotá, the migrant population will benefit from food support and temporary accommodation in different spots in Bogotá,” reported the Secretary.
Another issue of vital importance was that of differential approach, addressed by the Undersecretary for Equal Policies of the Secretariat for Women. According to whom, “Situations of violence differentially affect migrant women, that is why It is important to acknowledge their complexities and the needs to better give appropriate answers. It is necessary to disclose and disseminate offers so that they know the access routes to the programs they can access”.
At the end of the event, the attendees agreed on the importance of USAID's contribution, which, together with the work of the Bogotá Administration, has made it possible to move from a humanitarian emergency assistance model to a concept of socio-cultural integration that, through the implementation of cross-cutting policies, allows support in the improvement of quality of life by the migrant population.