BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has become the second largest displacement crisis in the world. The Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants (R4V) reports that some seven million Venezuelans have been forced to leave their homes and seek refuge across the globe.
Through her Voices of Venezuela initiative, Nery Santaella is making a profound impact in the realm of empowering Venezuelan migrants. As one of our Changemaker finalists, she has an innovative approach: ensuring that every individual has equal access to information and the resources they need. Through the power of media and communication technologies with a migrants-helping-migrants model, Nery has ignited an extraordinary level of community engagement, driving the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Through the initiative’s helpline service, Nery has impacted over 640,000 individuals, becoming a source of hope in their search for crucial information and resources. This innovative approach has not only informed and supported migrants but has also managed to reach four million people all the while dispelling misinformation, raising awareness, and fostering community engagement. Voices of Venezuela has become a voice for those in need.
Through innovative technology like AI and chatbots, Voices of Venezuela has exchanged over a million messages, creating a responsive feedback loop, and achieving media engagement rates 40 times higher than the rest of the migration sector. The initiative’s collaboration with humanitarian organizations and the bridging of gaps between stakeholders and governments has also led to more efficient and equitable outcomes for migrants.
Nery Santaella’s engaging community reports have also been lauded for their multiplier effect, bringing Voices of Venezuela notable recognition, including the 2022 USA for UNHCR Gene Dewey Refugee Award.
Voices of Venezuela is currently focused on expanding its activities and creating a platform that will enable local organizations to connect, learn, and collaborate with vulnerable populations. This platform will act as a centralized hub, enabling humanitarian organizations to share best practices, exchange knowledge, and enhance their collaborative efforts.
Nery Santaella’s vision highlights the strengths and resilience of migrant communities, demonstrating their ability to unite to drive change and create a more equitable, efficient, and impactful humanitarian ecosystem. Nery actively works to prevent poverty and hunger, reduce inequalities, and promote peace and justice for migrants.
Nery Santaella has set off a chain reaction of positive change. Her approach has led dozens of international stakeholders, embassies, NGOs, and UN agencies to ask how they can learn from her or collaborate with her. She embodies the spirit of individuals who are driving transformative change and demonstrates the power we all possess to unite and make a difference, highlighting her extraordinary contributions as a changemaker.