IREX launches the Ambulantes program in Mexico thanks to a new grant from the Walmart Foundation to support agricultural migrant workers during COVID-19
The Walmart Foundation awarded IREX a grant in February 2021 for more than $1 million over 18 months, to lead a group of local organizations to launch Ambulantes, a new program to support agricultural migrant workers in Mexico. The program is designed to support workers to migrate more safely and reduce risk of COVID transmission by providing personal protective equipment and vital information, working closely with communities and through trusted local organizations. This award is the third grant IREX has received from the Walmart Foundation and will leverage the insights of other Foundation grantees working in this ecosystem around data and transparency by developing reports and communications products, hosting virtual workshops, and creating data dashboards.
The goal of Ambulantes is to reach approximately 30,000 migrant agricultural workers and their families, so they are better able to protect themselves from COVID-19 and have access to information and services to migrate more safely. At the conclusion of the program, IREX aims to position at least five participating communities to have stronger systems to support vulnerable workers, and to support local organizations in these communities to build greater capacity to support these workers. The program aims to provide local and national-level stakeholders with a better understanding of the challenges facing migrant workers, concrete recommendations to close gaps in existing worker support systems, and improved coordination mechanisms. Finally, Ambulantes aims to capture shifts in labor migration trends and available services resulting from COVID-19, and yield insights that can inform future support by donors, government, and non-profit organizations.
To achieve Ambulantes’s objectives, IREX and its partners plan to distribute masks and hand sanitizers, launch digital, print, and radio campaigns, convene workshops for prospective workers and their families, local collaborators, and civil service organizations, as well as build a public, interactive dashboard in English and Spanish to share learning.
"We are excited to continue our relationship with the Walmart Foundation in launching the Ambulantes program,” said IREX President and CEO Kristin Lord. “Over the last year, we have seen the debilitating effects of COVID-19 and how it disproportionately impacts migrant communities. Providing migrant agricultural workers with protective equipment and current information is essential to protect them from COVID-19 as well as reduce exploitation.”