Across Latin America, HIAS and AECID Provide Humanitarian Support

By David Quijano and Beverly Goldberg

Across Latin America, HIAS and AECID Provide Humanitarian Support

A migrant woman participates in a GBV prevention workshop at the Migrant Reception Center in San Vicente. Darien Province, Panama. August 3, 2023. (Tarina Rodríguez for HIAS)

Since 2022, HIAS and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) have provided humanitarian support to more than 8,000 displaced people through its multi-country program in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

The program provides humanitarian assistance to women, children, LGBTQ+ people, and other at-risk groups. Participants receive emergency mental health and psychological support (MHPSS), legal advice regarding protection services available to them, and gender-based violence (GBV) response services, including case management and referrals to specialized care providers.

Additionally, our multi-country case management system has provided continous support to GBV survivors who have been referred from other countries where HIAS had previously provided them with humanitarian assistance.

Andrea*, a 34-year-old single mother, left her home country last year. “I have four dependents at home my parents and two children. But what I was earning was only enough for a few days of food for everyone,” she said.

She received legal support and mental health services through the AECID program in Panama. “Here, people treated me well. This is something I hadn’t experienced in other places I went to before,” she said.

I was scared, I didn’t know what to do. But since I got here, HIAS has been a lifesaver.

Lina*, program participant in Costa Rica

In 2023, the program received a recognition as one the top 10 global best practices designated by the United Nations Network on Migration (UNNM) and the International Migration Review Forum (INMR).

Lina*, who is 43 years old, left her country as she was unable to find proper medical care for her two daughters who suffer from heart disease. The field team provided her with protection support and legal support in Costa Rica. “I was scared, I didn’t know what to do. But since I got here, HIAS has been a lifesaver,” Lina said.

“They gave me with legal advice right away and helped us to access medical services,” she said.

“The growing humanitarian needs in the region require a coordinated response to bring relief and dignity to people in need,” said Cristina Garcia, senior vice president of HIAS Latin America and the Caribbean.

“This is why HIAS has coordinated a response that monitors the context and adapts activities according to current needs, to provide life-saving services in coordination with local actors.”


*Participant names have been changed to protect their identity.

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