OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Citizen Fund Venezuela: The power of migrants to transform

Unite 100K Venezuelan migrants in a solidarity network that helps transform Venezuela through the support of social and humanitarian project

Photo of Simon Pestano
8 2

Written by

What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Venezuela has been immersed in a deep political, economic and social crisis that has resulted in one of the humanitarian crises that has generated the most displaced migrants and refugees in the history of the Americas. Families of all social classes have been affected by the phenomenon of migration, being separated and dispersed. One of the factors that we have identified as a pattern in this displaced population is their desire to support those who remain, because they have lived through what is happening in the country and they know that many of the reasons why they left was because of : lack of access to food / medicines, lack of opportunities, lack of institutional support, but they do not have a credible platform where they can channel their help and ensure that their contribution is generating results. Millions of dollars will be required to rebuild the country and Venezuelan migration can play a fundamental role in achieving it. Currently, Venezuelan migrants channel economic resources mostly to their families, through remittances, which represent an estimated market of 2 billion dollars annually with the possibility of continuing to grow. The solution that is being worked on is to create a donation marketplace, which becomes a trusted organization to: - Create and promote a solidarity network of 100,000 Venezuelan migrants - List all NGOs that are generating social impact in Venezuela - Have a secure, credible and easy-to-use donation system under a monthly subscription model - Certify projects and audit the use of funds. The project serves 2 different audiences: migrant Venezuelans who want to help and low-income Venezuelans who are planning to migrate / take refuge through NGOs that develop humanitarian and social projects to support them.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

As the project serves two different audiences, these are located in: - Venezuelan migrants: focus will be on the: United States of America and Spain. For being the countries with the diaspora that have greater purchasing power. - Venezuelans with low economic resources who plan to migrate / take refuge: Focus will be placed on border regions: Nueva Esparta State, Zulia State, BolĂ­var State and the capital Caracas.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

The project will favor the creation of bridges between: - Venezuelan migrants, creating a solidarity network where they can recognize each other - Low-incomes Venezuelans who plan to migrate / take refuge - Venezuelan, American, Spanish and others NGOs. - Regional and local governments - International organizations and diplomatic missions What makes it a project with multiple stakeholders that will unite them to generate a greater impact

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Venezuelan migrants will have the opportunity to: - Channel their wishes for transformation, for a better future. Having a role in the reconstruction of their country, after a crisis of enormous proportions, makes you continue to feel part and increase your hopes to return. - They will be able to recognize, as part of a solidarity network and share their experiences of being part of the Citizen Fund, of how their contributions are generating impact in Venezuela. Citizen Fund seeks to create a movement of conscious Venezuelan migrants that, despite the distance, we are all co-responsible. Low-income Venezuelans who plan to migrate / take refuge, make the decision to leave because they feel inconsiderate and neglected. The project seeks that they feel that they have others, that they know what they are going through and they recognize their dignity as people and that is why they support them.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

1. A solidarity network of Venezuelan migrants will be created. There is no organization that is looking to systematically organize the social fabric outside and inside Venezuela around the reconstruction of the country and involving migrants in the process. They can recognize themselves, direct resources, accompany projects and more. 2. The resources raised will be destined to humanitarian and social projects that are being executed in Venezuela by social organizations of recognized trajectory. 3. The impact of the executed projects will be measured, presented to all those who contributed to make it possible, resources will be audited to promote transparency. 4. The self-esteem of migrant Venezuelans and also of Venezuelans who are thinking of migrating / taking refuge will be increased by creating a support network. All these results will begin to be possible in the short term and their scope will be increased in the long term.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

According to UNHCR, the Venezuelan exodus is over 4,000,000 people, which represents more than 15% of the country's population. It is estimated that by the end of 2019 they will be more than 5,000,000. In 2017, Venezuelans lost an average of 11 kilos because they cannot find or pay for food. The Central Bank of Venezuela reported a 47% contraction in GDP between 2013 and 2018. The IMF estimates inflation for 2019 of 10,000,000%. These are some data by which millions of Venezuelans are moving around the world. They recognize the level of severity of the situation in Venezuela and all the time they contact those who still live in the country asking how they can help and channel aid to different causes, but not being focused, the impact dissipates. Venezuelan migrants feel the need to get involved, but they don't know how to do it effectively from afar. Citizen Fund would be their answer.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Venezuelan migrants are people who are adapting to the culture and customs of the country they came to. They work long working hours and in some cases have more than one job. They are worried about what is happening in their country. They constantly check their social networks to see the latest news. They talk frequently with family and friends who live in Venezuela. They look for ways to help, but they don't have much time. They send money to their relatives frequently. Low income Venezuelans who plan to migrate / take refuge are employed, but their salary is not enough for their basic needs. They depend on the monthly food box provided by the State. In his house there are problems with electricity and water. They should look for water and charge it to their home. Every so often they have illnesses due to the food and water they drink. They think about leaving the country to generate income and send remittances to their family.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Venezuelan migration needs bridges that connect it. Let it connect with each other and with their country. That connects it with organizations that are generating changes, with people who need support. Social organizations need to connect with Venezuelan migration, because in an environment of economic and humanitarian crisis, foreign aid is prevalent. People who need support also need to connect with organizations that can provide support and capabilities to overcome the crisis. They also need to connect with their fellow citizens, who know what they are going through and therefore are with them to help them. Bridges seek to generate: sense of belonging, hope, joys, strengthen the dignity of people and their self-esteem, social capital. This will be reflected in the contributions, actions and projects that are executed throughout the most disadvantaged regions of the country.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

The project is in its initial stage of conception, but it has been validated with different possible allies that have expressed their interest in getting involved once it starts. Among them: Regional government of Nueva Esparta State (potential ally), Network of 100 regional schools of Nueva Esparta State (potential ally), Civil Association Opportunity (potential ally), Social Responsibility Committee of the Venezuelan-American Chamber (potential ally), International organizations and diplomatic missions (potential ally), Municipal Government of Baruta, Caracas (potential ally), Network of social organizations of Venezuela (RedSoc) (potential ally), Venezuelan, American and Spanish NGOs, among others.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Other

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Fondo Ciudadano

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

The group that designed the project is made up of Venezuelans of different professions (internationalists, architect, engineer, administrators, journalists), one resides in Venezuela and six reside in different countries: USA, Spain, Mexico and Argentina, who from their experience as migrants added to have a proposal tied to the reality of the Venezuelan diaspora. The project is led by a young professional whose profile covers the social sector, academy and multinational corporations. It maintains relations with different actors in the country (communities, NGOs, academic institutions, governments) from where it raised its needs and internationally as part of the Global Shapers Caracas of the World Economic Forum from where it has been able to present and validate the project before different international organizations in global events. The executing team is being formed and will be finalized once the first funds that make its implementation possible are raised.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are not yet a registered organization but plan to in future

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State


In preparation for expert feedback: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in these categories? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea. (600 characters)

1. How can we test our monthly subscription donation model, with our specific audience, without even having a nonprofit constituted? So far we have done it through surveys and intention measurement with more than 150 migrants, is that enough? 2. What do you think may be the best way to promote the Citizen Fund in a massive way to Venezuelan migrants? To reach our goal of 100K migrants. 3. What can be the best way to integrate donor migrants into the organization's decision-making processes? Example: Which projects to support first, selection of social allies in Venezuela, etc.

Did you use the resources offered during the Improve Phase (mentorship, expert feedback, community research)? (2000 characters)

Yes, we use all the resources that were available for this phase.

Talking with the mentor was a very interesting process, because she also knows very well the process of Venezuelan migration which allowed us to organize the information in a better way to explain all the doubts that she, as a migrant, could have.

In addition, she helped us in the process of validating the idea, being an external person and having contact for the first time with our project.

The experts also gave us valuable feedback on how to channel certain information that we needed to explain in more detail so that there were no doubts when reading the proposal.

The process has been very interesting, because it is a team of people who are willing to add and help to improve, in an open and transparent way, which allowed us to consider the way in which we are considering the project and maintain the same methodology when starting the execution of it.

In the research with the community, we decided to focus our area of action even more so that Venezuelan migrants finance projects that are aligned with the Venezuela 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan developed by the United Nations to ensure survival and well-being, while promoting and strengthening the protection and dignity of the most vulnerable people in the country, being the main categories: Health, Education, Nutrition, Food Security and Wash.

During the first period, Venezuelan NGOs that are working as humanitarian partners will be supported, which are endorsed and audited by the United Nations, and that are requesting for the year 2019 more than 223 million dollars of financing to serve 2.3 million people.

The initial contribution, while the network of Venezuelan migrants is created, will be modest, but when linked to the Humanitarian Response process, it will have more traction to add more migrants and the fund to grow.

In what ways would potential BridgeBuilder funds allow you to pursue your idea that other funding opportunities have not? (1000 characters)

Being a challenge that is focused on projects for migrants and refugees allows us to have much more relevance, not only with possible new financiers, but also with the migrants we want to join our project.

It offers the project the legitimacy it needs, as it was accompanied and evaluated by audiences that are clearly related to the topic of migration and refugee, which will help build the confidence necessary for more people to join.

Additionally, the relationships with the team leading the Challenge and OpenIDEO give even more visibility and possibility of getting new allies to those who are selected to receive funds.

What aspects or proportion of the overall idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (1000 characters)

The funds would be to guarantee the first year of operation of the organization that will be constituted. It is projected that in the 12th month the project will be generating the necessary resources to support itself, thanks to the contributions of Venezuelan migrants in the world.

In principle the resources will be used for operational expenses and human resources of the organization: the constitution of nonprofit in the United States, lawyers and accountants (5%), Operations (12%), Marketing in social networks (12%), Technology ( 7%) and the work team (64%). In this way, 100% of the monthly donations received from Venezuelan migrants will be directed to social and humanitarian projects in Venezuela that are aligned with the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan and that have the endorsement of the United Nations.

After the first 12 months, operating expenses are expected to represent between 15-20% of total revenues and may be assumed by the project.

What are the key steps or activities for your idea for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (1000 characters)

Step 1: Constitution of nonprofit in the United States

Step 2: Creation of the website with a monthly donation system

Step 3: Creation of the campaign on social networks to publicize the Citizen Fund and to seek Venezuelan migrants to join the monthly donation system

Step 4: Partnership with the United Nations System in Venezuela to serve as project financiers of the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan

Step 5: Financing of social and humanitarian projects endorsed by the United Nations

Step 6: Monitoring and measuring the impact.

The goal for month 12 is to have 10,000 Venezuelan migrants who are part of the Citizen Fund as monthly donors, generating approximate income of USD 100,000 per month.

The following months will focus on growing the Marketing team that will allow more Venezuelan migrants to join the Fund and the field operational team that will be in charge of monitoring and measuring the impact

What will community-level impact look like over the timeframe of your idea? How will you determine whether or not you have achieved that impact? And what outstanding questions do you still have? (1000 characters)

IMPACT: By 2022, we raised more than USD 10M from the contribution of more than 100K Venezuelan migrants, who were channeled to social and humanitarian projects within the framework of the Humanitarian Response Plan of Venezuela in the areas of Health, Education, Nutrition, Food Security and Wash, contributing to serve the most vulnerable groups in the country, preventing them from making the decision to migrate from the country without having the minimum conditions necessary to do so.

MEASUREMENT: We will measure the # of linked migrants, the total amount of money raised, the # of funded projects, the # of beneficiaries of the funded projects, and how this relates to improving the quality of life of the beneficiaries.

QUESTION: How can we further involve the Venezuelan migrant, actively, in the search for solutions to the most important social problems that post-humanitarian Venezuela will have, in addition to its ability to finance local action

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (1000 characters)

CEO: among its responsibilities, it is worth highlighting the strategy of the organization, representing it, establishing strategic alliances.

Chief Migrant Officer: will be responsible for the process of search and retention of Venezuelan migrants who join as monthly donors. You will have Marketing responsibilities.

Chief Project Officer: will be responsible for monitoring all projects that are being funded. Provide technical support for the management of.

Chief Impact Officer: will advise funded projects such as measuring impact and raising information on results in a correct and standardized manner.

CTO: will lead the technology platform that will unite Venezuelan migrants with the projects that are being financed in Venezuela.

CFO: will be responsible for keeping up to date with all the financial and administrative aspects of the organization.

Lastly, how did you apply new learnings to your idea? (1000 characters)

No doubt this phase improved our proposal.

The feedback that the expert gave us allowed us to focus more on the interests of Venezuelan migrants, when asked, about the areas of greatest interest to support social and humanitarian projects in Venezuela. So we determine the importance of working together with the United Nations and joining the Humanitarian Response Plan.

The work with our mentor helped us focus on mechanisms that guarantee transparency in the use of funds, ensuring that projects financed by the contribution of Venezuelan migrants are doing so with the highest ethical standards.

And finally, with members of the Venezuelan migrant community, we rescue their interest in supporting initiatives with strategic sense, that contribute to real transformation processes and that is why we decide that the best way to achieve this is to work in partnership with the United Nations that is leading humanitarian action in the country.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Dear Simon Peter Miyingo ,

Great reading through your final submission for the challenge. I like that you found the feedback from mentors and experts valuable.

Could you share an estimate of the total budget you might need to carry out the outlined activities in the next 1-3 years?


Photo of Simon Pestano

Hi Isaac Jumba !
Yes, of course, we estimate a budget around USD 190.000 for our best scenario, but there is the possibility of adapting it to a more limited budget.

View all comments