Interreligious committee for refugee self-sufficiency in Peru
The project in brief
CIREMI - Interreligious Committee for Refugees and Migrants
The project began in 2018. Currently, the Interreligious Committee for Refugees and Migrants (CIREMI) project continues to be implemented, intends to continue and has expanded its activities to other regions with high level of populations of persons of concern of Peru in 2020.
The Interreligious Committee for Refugees and Migrants (CIREMI) is the result of efforts from the different faith communities in Peru to support the most needed and vulnerable, especially after the arrival a significant number of persons of concern of Venezuelan nationality to Peru. They have put all their efforts together and are coordinating jointly to continue developing and implementing crucial activities in the support of refugees and migrants in Peru. Further, they would like to serve as an example to other countries, especially in the continent.
These inter-religious communities have come together to address different situations in the country, and they did so during the period of internal violence (1980-2000), in humanitarian emergencies and the fight against structural problems such as poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition.
- Maximize and optimize the impact of the response of religious communities to refugees and migrants through dialogue, empowerment and community integration;
- Capacity development of the CIREMI members;
- Achieve effective communication channels with the refugee and host communities;
- Maximize the participation and the influence of the CIREMI in national debate spaces;
- Decentralize the response capacity of different services for refugees and migrants in the main cities of Peru.
UNHCR has collaborated with the CIREMI through the assignment of a full-time staff member, who is responsible for continuous technical support for the CIREMI to achieve its objectives. It has collaborated with other religious organizations (international and local) according to their most urgent needs.
Main activities of the Good Practice
The religious communities provide support such as emergency food and non-food items distribution (training, community-bases distribution protocol development, coordination and donation acquisition), soup kitchens (managing food donations), physical and mental health care (coordination of professional volunteers), and access to education (through the provision of scholarships and financial support for the most vulnerable families). Further, some have even used their spaces to create orientation and information centres for the refugee and migrant community and participate in other regional protection platforms such as the inter-agency R4V Support Spaces network. The CIREMI communities have provided an essential link between the community and other protection actors, they identify and refer vulnerable protection cases to UNHCR partner and other actors services, they have also led consultations with the community and support the representation of refugee community needs in various platforms.
The CIREMI recognizes that improving refugee self-sufficiency is a longer-term commitment and empowering process. Religious communities collaborate with refugees to support their access to essential support/ tools such as documentation, forming collective support networks, psycho-social support and peer-led community support groups within the community, to empower themselves.
VIDEO: Con el corazón abierto, niñas y niños venezolanos dicen ¡Gracias #Tacna!
- UNHCR Peru
- Communities of different religions and NGOs including Religions for peace, Encuentros, Caritas, ADRA
Challenges and how they were overcome
- Access to technology due to lack of resources and lack of technical expertise of some of the members of the CIREMI.
- Enhancing the capacity of the CIREMI members to influence the construction of clear and strategic messages and the identification of arguments for public advocacy.
- Decentralizing services in different cities of Peru.
How they were overcome
- Linkages with other UNHCR offices in the country and CIREMI networks to identify communities to participate in CIREMI coordination in different locations of Peru.
- Capacity development of their members on protection issues and ongoing capacity development through regular coordination and peer learning.
Results of the Good Practice
- Community Integration of refugees: Faith-based communities have developed spaces where persons of concern can develop community support networks and integrate into the local community
- Strengthening protection skills of religious communities: Religious communities are improving their responses to the needs of persons of concern by enhancing humanitarian assistance capacity; implementing a referral mechanism for protection cases; communicating essential information with communities; and holding community integration activities.
- Implementation of safe spaces for emergencies: Religious communities have opened their community spaces for the reception and shelter capacities of persons of concern, especially in emergency situations (such as in Tacna at the Chilean border).
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
This project is very much aligned to one of the four objectives of the GCR, since it contributes to burden and responsibility sharing and has the potential to be adapted and / or be replicated by other countries, especially in Latin America where faith organizations play a fundamental role in society and can eventually influence the national politics.
- UNHCR to train CIREMI members on Community Based Protection, Public Information and Information Management issues.
- Improve the linkage of CIREMI coordination and UNHCR protection partners for quality and timely protection case referral.
- Conduct periodic review and planning sessions with the CIREMI communities to continue to adapt planning and coordination to the context.
Elias Szczytnicki, Representative, Interreligious Committee for Refugees and Migrants (CIREMI)
Margarita Vargas Angulo, Deputy Representative, UNHCR Peru