What value do community networks have in confronting the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela?

Antonio Suarez,  Public Policies and Community Engagement expert, explains the crucial role that community networks play in responding to humanitarian crises in Venezuela. 

“Community-based networks are sets of relationships formed to generate actions and solutions that meet community needs. These networks are made gradually, through building relationships and fostering communication between certain groups of people. An example of this partnership could be an organized info session where members of a certain community are invited to cooperate with national authorities, international agencies and NGO’s in order to discuss potential solutions to a particular problem (e.g distribution of food and water, health systems and nutrition ). This way, community-based networks make up a large part of the “Community Social Capital” that shapes and generates public goods oriented to meet the needs of the community.  

Communities play a big role in programming and implementing response actions for humanitarian crisis situations. Arguably, the best way for planning and implementing effective humanitarian action is by directly involving the community in all stages of the response programs. This way, we ensure that the program is designed efficiently, by taking into account the communities’ expressed needs, struggles and ideas. This approach facilitates program implementation since the community become active agents for change, mechanisms for enhanced community engagement are established, and as result, implementation costs tend to become minimal. Enhanced community engagement ensures that humanitarian response programs are easily and efficiently executed.  

Community-based networks can improve the impact of Humanitarian Response programs in two ways:  

  • Facilitate the targeting of beneficiaries and enable greater geographical coverage of the support program 
  • Paves the way to established feedback mechanisms through which benefiting communities can directly inform implementing bodies of the progress of the project and shed light on areas that need to be addressed when programming future support.“ 

 

Several examples of community organizations throughout the national territory can be mentioned: Committee of water, Committee of Lands, Committee of Health. Community Councils, Convite AC, among others. 

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