The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from war, conflict and disaster and the host communities which support them, as well as those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home.
The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela continues to intensify. Venezuelans face hyperinflation, which puts them out of reach of basic goods and services, including health care and food. A shortage of medical supplies means that it is difficult to diagnose and treat communicable diseases and sexual and reproductive health needs, among other services. The lack of food has resulted in hunger and malnutrition. From 2015-2018, over three million Venezuelans left to seek goods and services in primarily neighboring countries.
IRC has responded to the crisis by supporting Venezuelans crossing the arc of the migration pattern, including Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. In Colombia, IRC works in the areas of health, protection, education, and multipurpose cash assistance in Cúcuta, Medellín, Cundinamarca, Norte de Santander, and Nariño (specifically Ipiales). In Venezuela, IRC has been developing programs through the support of local partners. Since January 2021, we have expanded our response in Ecuador and in 2022 to Peru, establishing projects and strategic alliances with local partners, with emphasis on border corridors. IRC works to strengthen the capacity of local partners to provide access to quality sexual and reproductive health services, nutrition, basic needs, and dignified livelihoods for the migrant population.
IRC EDUCATION & EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (ECD) PROGRAMMING
Lego Foundation Programming
Play Movement (Colombia: 1 Feb 22 – 31 Jul 2023)
The Play Well project (27 May 2020 – 31 Jan 2022) with funding from the Lego Foundation in Colombia and Venezuela leveraged IRC’s world-class educational content designed for crisis settings to provide: (1) remote, contextualized learning and support content for communities with limited internet connectivity; and (2) easy to use, modular content to support caregivers of children ages 6-12 to strengthen social and emotional learning (SEL) skills at home. After great success, Play Well transitioned in the Play movement where the project partners with local actors in Colombia to create, adapt and disseminate play-based SEL content for children via radio and other audio-supported devices for COVID-safe, in-home learning and development. Play Movement will reach children, caregivers, and decision makers at all levels.
Playful Beginnings (Colombia & Venezuela: 4 Jan 21 – 30 April 22)
The Playful Beginnings project, also known as Jugar Para Sonar within Colombia and Wapushii in Venezuela, has achieved significant progress since its launch. Playful Beginnings offers three complementary Play-Based Nurturing Care models and despite the variations across models and country contexts, three key intersections that have provided IRC and LEGO Foundation with valuable learning opportunities. These models are: (1) Changing caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors to improve engagement in play-based learning activities and responsive caregiving behaviors through user centered design approaches. (2) Providing local partners with knowledge, skills, and behaviors to support play-based learning. (3) Integration of child protection principles and methodologies in content and trainings (partner staff, teachers, facilitators and promoters). A follow-on project to Playful Beginnings may be development over time.
Hilton Ecuador (1-Oct-21 to 28-Feb-24)
To address the myriad challenges faced by newly arrived migrants and refugees, as well as vulnerable members of the host community, the IRC is working to co-create localized solutions to address the most pressing needs for families with young children age 0-5. During the inception phase of this project, we are working with partners to map service gaps, prioritize needs, and co-develop innovative solutions to the barriers faced by our target population. We have conceptualized an approach that would center around three core elements, which may be adjusted and further refined for each project location. (1) Establishment of Community Play and Learning Spaces; (2) Establishment of employment avenues tailored to the needs of caregivers with young children. We will work with local partners to provide a package of business, entrepreneurship, and vocational training; employment placement support; and stipends to allow caregivers/households to earn higher income in shorter work hours than is currently possible, lowering the number of hours separated from their children; (3) A ‘one stop shop’ resource center per implementation location.
Hilton Colombia (1-Jun-21 to 30-Apr-22)
The project aims for integrated programs and partnership models ready to deliver on the promise of a “two-generational” approach in ECD and livelihoods for families. The program design is threefold: (1) Support organizations in Colombia working in the typically siloed ECD and livelihoods spaces to identify joint, multifaceted solutions that address the needs of families, and apply the latest research. (2) Test these solutions through an iterative, prototyping approach with families to improve them and ensure they are optimized for value, impact and scale. (3) Support the development of partnership models and create requirements needed to integrate systems and change the normal ways of working in service of families. IRC will deliver a minimum of two prototypes that are ready to be piloted and will deliver on the target population’s intersectional needs and values. This work will also be prototyping partnership models that support and sustain the cross-sectoral and cross-functional collaboration of a two-generation, intersectional approach.
The Program Manager is a new position that sits within the Grants Department of the IRC Venezuela Crisis Response. The Program Manager is the focal point for ECD programs funded by the Lego Foundation and Hilton Foundation and responsible for proposal development, donor reporting, grants information management and grants management capacity-building efforts. The Program Manager supports programmatic monitoring, including budget, timeline and program plans as well as compliance with donors and internal IRC rules and regulations. The Program Manager is also involved in managing and assisting on coordination of IRC’s partnership work for the ECD projects under Hilton and Lego funding. The Program Manager will work closely with the in-country program teams and the headquarters based technical units and will report to IRC’s Senior Grants & Partnerships Coordinator.
- Increase efficiency and quality of education programs by analyzing gaps and barriers, identify optimization opportunities, and troubleshoot issues in processes and workflows - Conduct evolving assessments and analyses of processes and workflows - Generate templates and tools to optimize work processes for the ECD team - Produce and oversee finalization of internal and external products for teams, such as fact sheets, webpages and model guides - Support the team on maintaining project momentum or organization via trackers and agendas and other project management tools - Oversee knowledge management maintenance, including the creation of comprehensive resource and material maps for relevant content, documents and templates. Standardize and unify filing and archiving practices and policies - Assistance to any project within the Education Technical Unit as needs arise
- Spearhead project cycle meetings (design, opening, implementation, closing, and learning) to identify and help resolve needs, constraints, and other project cycle issues. - Maintain knowledge of grant agreement language and regulations, serving as a knowledge resource on assigned donors and advancing questions where needed. - Submit high quality donor reports, narrative and financial, according to IRC and donor regulations. Ensure all required documents are included, complete, correct, approved and informed by the respective Program Coordinator/s, Technical Unit contributors and country management. - Raise compliance issues, projected barriers to meeting contractual obligations, spending variances, etc. with supervisor. Actively mitigate risks in consensus with leadership. - Lead grant opening meetings, quarterly grant review meetings, and grant close out meetings in collaboration with the Grants Coordinator. - Lead management meetings, including monthly review of Budget vs Actual (BVA) reports with budget holder to address any projected underspend or overspend. - Maintain and coordinate partner program, finance and compliance monitoring schedules and coordinate support for partners with other IRC staff to address any challenges that may arise - Undertake other key grants management, program development, monitoring and evaluation, communications and external relations activities as requested