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Spurring Innovation to Help Venezuelans


Better Together

The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Inter-American Development Bank launched the BetterTogether, or Juntos-Es-Mejor, Challenge.

Spurring Innovation to Help Venezuelans
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The mismanagement and corruption of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro has plunged Venezuela into the worst humanitarian, political, and economic crisis in its history.

The United States has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to support relief efforts for Venezuelans both inside and outside of their homeland. However, providing humanitarian aid is a short-term remedy. We need new ideas for long-term solutions. That is why the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Inter-American Development Bank launched the BetterTogether, or Juntos-Es-Mejor, Challenge.

The BetterTogether challenge “is another application of open innovation where anyone, at any time on any subject can from anywhere in the world can submit ideas to try to help the Venezuelan people, both outside of Venezuela, but also inside Venezuela,” said former executive director of USAID’s Global Development Lab, Harry Bader. The Lab is transforming into the Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub as part of the Bureau for Democracy, Development, and Innovation:

"People who have experienced the trauma and the difficulty and the deprivation of living in Venezuela and then escaping the regime and trying to find a way to temporarily build a life outside, they can use their personal experiences and develop ideas that no development agency would have knowledge of or the ability to contemplate, because it's not us that are doing it. It's the lived experiences of the Venezuelans that can be turned into the idea that they themselves create.”

“The exciting thing about these awards is they can be large or small,” said Mr. Bader:

“We're doing… projects like clean water access. We're creating these digital forums for helping people find relatives. We're creating forums for helping people find jobs consistent with the rules and regulations of the countries that they now find themselves in, where they have migrated to find security and to help their families.”

As part of the BetterTogether initiative, USAID works with Venezuelans both inside and outside Venezuela, and with Brazilian, Peruvian, Colombian, and American groups across the region.

In late October, USAID Acting Deputy Administrator John Barsa announced the latest recipients of USAID grants: “I’m pleased to announce today that USAID is funding three new projects in Venezuela, Chile, and Colombia, with $1 million under the BetterTogether Challenge,” he said.

“These new awards, which will improve the lives of thousands, bring us to 19 total projects supported by USAID and the IDB, with more awards coming.”

For more information on the BetterTogether Challenge, please visit www.JuntosEsMejorVE.org

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