New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion
IGHD is working in partnership with Scottish Refugee Council, Bridges Programmes and Workers’ Educational Association to explore the role of social connections in the integration of recently recognised refugees living in Scotland.
This project, funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Immigration Fund (AMIF) will test and refine IGHD’s Social Connections Mapping Tool in a practice context and aims to better understand the role of social networks in integration and explore the role played by third sector refugee-assisting agencies in fostering these. In collaboration with recently settled refugees and service providers, this research provides insight into the role social connections play in people’s pathways to social and economic inclusion, and the meanings they ascribe to these social connections at different points in their integration pathways.
This project has received extension funding to explore this research in the context of the resettlement of Afghan nationals in Scottish local authorities with little resettlement experience. It has also received further funding to give a more in depth look at the effect of time in the process of asylum and integration and to include the perspectives of recently resettled Ukrainian nationals.
Staff: Marcia Vera Espinoza, Helen Baillot, Leyla Kerlaff, Arek Dakessian, Marcia Vera Espinoza, Nicole Vidal, Gianluca Palombo, Marcus Fernandes, Emmaleena Käkelä, Alison Strang.
IGHD worked with Freedom from Torture (FFT) to conduct a review of the Healing Neighbourhoods Project (HNP) from 2018 to August 2021. FFT’s innovative project, ‘Healing Neighbourhoods’, was initially funded for four years between August 2017 and September 2021 — combining individual psychotherapy with community worker support to build refugee and asylum seekers’ social connections in Glasgow. The study explores the perceived impact on project members and external stakeholders against seven key outcomes, using interview data and survey data from the QMU Social Connections Mapping Tool.
Staff: Alison Strang and Leyla Kerlaff (with previous support from Rebecca Horn and Nicole Vidal)
Full report available on request via IGHD Email Address
COVID Social Isolation CSO work
This study set out to better understand the impact of sudden-onset isolation, brought on by measures to combat COVID-19, on neglected population groups – specifically Scotland’s refugees and asylum seekers. We gathered information on the extent and quality of refugees’ social networks during COVID-19 restrictions, to explore the relationship between sudden-onset isolation and loneliness, mental health and wellbeing.
Staff: Alison Strang, Olivia Sagan, Nicole Vidal (with previous support from Maleeka Salih and Cameron Smith)
Full report available on request via IGHD Email Address
DiSoCo is a GCRF Protracted Displacement project led by the University of Edinburgh that aims to help Somali and Congolese displaced people to access appropriate healthcare for chronic mental health conditions associated with protracted displacement, conflict, and sexual and gender-based violence. Our team is supporting research teams in Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and South Africa to explore the support networks of displaced Somalis and Congolese in these countries.
Staff: Alison Strang, Arek Dakessian, Oonagh O’Brien
Family Reunion and Integration Service
Using a research model developed by IGHD researchers, and in partnership with Barnardo’s and British Red Cross, this project aims to better understand the role of social networks in integration. It has explored the social connections amongst and between refugee families and their communities over time, and has shown how these connections influence integration into a new location. Within the context of the FRIS extension period we aim to test the effectiveness of the Social Connections Mapping Tool (SCMT) questionnaire and embed it into practitioners’ work with recently recognised and reunited refugee families in the UK. The aim is to enhance casework delivery and integration planning. It is intended to be used as a practical tool to help measure, assess and review refugee families’ existing social connections.
Staff: Alison Strang, Arek Dakessian, Leyla Kerlaff, Helen Baillot, Bryony Nisbet
Full report available on request via IGHD Email Address
Read the Pathways Final Report:Full report available on request via IGHD Email Address
Social connections mapping in refugee integration support: Family Reunion Integration Service
This report presents findings from the extension phase of the Family Reunion Integration Service, a partnership project between British Red Cross, Queen Margaret University and Barnardo’s. Originally funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund to run from January 2019 to September 2020, the project was extended to March 2022 with the aim to test the effectiveness of using the Social Connections Mapping Tool (SCMT) questionnaire as a practical tool to help measure, assess and review refugee families’ existing social connections.
Staff: Marcia Vera-Espinoza, Bryony Nisbet, Arek Dakessian, Leyla Kerlaff, Helen Baillot.
Social Connections Mapping report: Full report available on request via IGHD Email Address
Channels of Hope
IGHD researchers have supported the evaluation of strengthening community-based World Vision programmes seeking to mobilize local faith communities in promoting child protection. After pilot work in Malawi, impact research studies have been conducted in Senegal, Uganda and Guatemala.
Staff: Carola Eyber, Kanykey Jailobaeva, Alastair Ager
Visit the overview on the World Vision International website
RefugeeHosts: Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Conflict-Induced Displacement from Syria: Views from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey
This project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council aims to critically examine how, why and with what effect local communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are responding to mass displacement from Syria and wants to develop a greater understanding of the roles that religious values, beliefs and practices play both implicitly and explicitly in these responses.
Staff: Alastair Ager, working with Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (UCL), Anna Rowlands (Durham) and Lyndsey Stonebridge (Birmingham)
Visit the Refugee Hosts website
The role of faith in social norms change: Child Marriage
This study will develop quantitative and qualitative measures to assess the role of faith in norms around child marriage in communities in Bangladesh and Mozambique. Funded by World Vision, this mixed methods research will involve participants from Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities in urban and rural settings, and will assess, amongst other things, how effective engagement in child protection from a religious perspective is in bringing about change at community levels.
This project is a collaboration with Coventry University and involves Carola Eyber and Kanykey Jailobaeva
Faith-sensitive MHPSS with children in emergency settings
While the faith component of MHPSS work with children is largely ignored by the main INGO actors and agencies working in emergency settings, a range of faith-based organisations (FBOs) have been actively supporting children in recovery processes for decades, at times using spiritual and religious elements as part of their interventions. This scoping study aims to identify existing evidence for practice in the field of faith-led MHPSS through reviewing grey and published literature and conducting interviews with key actors in the field. The GIZ-funded study is seen as a first phase leading to the development of a larger research proposal on effectiveness of faith-led MHPSS interventions for children as well as to facilitate faith literacy and enhanced MHPSS technical knowledge amongst actors in the field.
Staff: Carola Eyber, Rebecca Horn, Kathleen Rutledge
Strengthening Evidence for Scaling of Psychological First Aid in Humanitarian Settings
Working with the War Trauma Foundation we recently completed this R2HC-funded study to looking at the deployment of Psychosocial First Aid (PFA) in the Ebola Response in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and its subsequent broader rollout across the health sector in these countries.
Staff: Alastair Ager, Rebecca Horn, Fiona O’May
Read the Research Snapshot on the Elrha website
Psychological distress in Sierra Leone: from local understandings to effective mental health supports
In Sierra Leone, research on mental health has focused on the effects of emergencies. Our work addresses mental health needs across the general population. We have identified common idioms of psychological distress, along with factors contributing to such distress and, most recently, developed a valid and reliable measure of psychological distress – the Sierra Leone Psychological Distress Scale.
Staff: Rebecca Horn, Kanykey Jailobaeva, Alastair Ager and colleagues from COMAHS, Sierra Leone
Learn more about the NIHR RUHF project
Refugee and asylum-seeker experiences, trust and confidence with Police Scotland
Funded by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) – Seldom-heard Communities Fund, this study will build an understanding of the quantity and quality of refugees’ social networks and their role in influencing engagement with the police. It will apply the Social Connections Mapping Tool (SCMT) developed by colleagues in IGHD, combined with in-depth interviews with refugees, asylum-seekers and police personnel to identify refugee and asylum-seeker experiences and confidence with Police Scotland and the associated structures and systems that work alongside Police Scotland (e.g. emergency services, mental health services, local council services, etc.).
Staff: Nicole Vidal & Bryony Nisbet
Building a connected society: What works for refugees?
A two part recording of the half-day annual conference held on the 17th November 2021.
The Institute for Global Health and Development hosted an online conference to explore policy and practice responses to refugee social connectedness and integration in wider communities. The conference aimed to promote dialogue around the challenges to person-centred refugee and asylum seeker integration planning. It consisted two 45-minute panels with academics and refugee sector practitioners who discussed the role of social connections in integration policy and practice. This was then followed by questions and open roundtable dialogue with the conference participants.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank to our partners for their valuable contributions to conference:
Professor Alison Phipps (University of Glasgow)
Dylan Fotoohi (Refugees for Justice)
Professor Dean Ajdukovic (University of Zagreb)
Alistair Dinnie (The City of Edinburgh Council)
Elodie Mignard (Scottish Refugee Council)
Raoul Hodgson (British Red Cross)
Fiona Crombie (Freedom From Torture)
Professor Daniel D. Reidpath (PhD) is Director of the Institute for Global Health and Development. Daniel has over 20 years in global health working across a wide range of areas including maternal and child health, disease surveillance, disease related stigma and discrimination, equity, and health systems.
Dr Marcia Vera-Espinoza is a Reader and Acting Deputy Director of IGHD. Marcia Vera Espinoza is an interdisciplinary social scientist whose main areas of specialisation sit at the intersection of development, political and social geography. Marcia leads the Psychosocial Wellbeing, Integration and Protection Cluster, and is Principal Investigator of our work on the New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion project. Her work is at the forefront of migration and refugee research in Latin America, focusing on the study of inclusion of refugee and migrant populations and migration governance in the region. Marcia is also a Researcher and Co-funder member of CAMINAR.
is a Lecturer at IGHD and is an anthropologist with over twenty years experience of working in gender, HIV and sexual health. She has carried out extensive research and monitoring and evaluation projects, particularly in the fields of Gender and Sexual Health in a number of settings including Europe, Colombia, Uganda, Nepal and South Africa. She also supervises a number of PhD candidates with topics in the areas of migration, HIV and sexual health.
Dr Kathleen Rutledge is a Lecturer in MHPSS and Project Design & Management. She has served in humanitarian response and development leadership and research for nearly two decades in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Balkans and Caucasus..
Dr Arek Dakessian is a Research Fellow at IGHD and sociologist interested in the production of political alterity and the intimate entwining of the aesthetic and the political. Arek’s work at IGHD revolves around refugeedom, policy and the provision of health and integration services in the UK, with a focus on Scotland. Arek is also a founding member of LIVED, an Edinburgh-based charity dedicated to researching refugeedom, as well as a member of the Social Network Analysis group of Scotland.
Helen Baillot is a Research Fellow with IGHD and works as an independent service evaluator and researcher for a variety of UK-based refugee voluntary sector organisations. Her research interests include refugee integration, the rights and experiences of women and children within the UK asylum process, and family migration. She is currently working on our New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion research exploring the role of social connections in the integration of refugees living in Scotland.
Leyla Kerlaff is a Research Fellow at IGHD with a specialist interest in refugee integration and social connections. Her particular focus is on social cohesion and neighbourhood relations. Leyla has been involved in the Family Reunion Integration Service and The Healing Neighbourhoods projects and is currently working on the New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion project. Leyla’s work, and experience at the Scottish Government, has informed, and continues to inform policy development in equalities, environment and public sector reform.
Dr Nicole Vidal is a Research Fellow at IGHD and social anthropologist specialising in global health and social development. Her primary research interests include exploring ways to improve health and social care services among excluded and vulnerable groups, with particular emphasis on linking communities to health systems and improving the accessibility, acceptability and quality of health services. Nicole was PI on research Funded by the Scottish Institute of Policing Research - Seldom Heard Communities grant, that explored refugee and asylum-seeker experiences, trust and confidence with Police Scotland. Nicole was involved with the extension of our New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion work to include Afghan nationals. She has also previously worked as a research assistant for the project: Impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on isolation in a neglected population group.
Gianluca Palombo combines experience in community development with his current research in social connections, asylum and migration as part of his work on the New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion work and its extension to include Afghan nationals. Prior to his post in QMU, Gianluca programme managed CodeYourFuture and was influential in establishing it as a Scottish government-backed community education project. As a development officer for the award-winning Maryhill Integration Network, Gianluca developed expertise in including refugee people in community projects and advocacy. More recently, he has combined his work at QMU with public sector consultancy, co-convening a refugee-led steering group and peer researcher network with refugee leaders across the breadth of England, funded by the Refugees Transitions Outcome Fund (RTOF).
Marcus Fernandes is a Research Assistant on the New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion project. Marcus has a design background with a specialist interest in the built environment and handles the design and communications outputs of this project and other work from across IGHD. He brings experience in multi-media production, including Production Designer credit on 'Underbelly', a short film about reproductive rights, winner of the Best Film award at BFI Future Film Festival 2023.
Elisa Calpona is studying for a professional doctorate and is focused on strengthening the existing child protection system in Egypt.
Lorian Viola’s work looks at the intrahousehold factors influencing the experiences of children living outside family care in Honduras.
Elle Bunyan is researching the narratives of former street children in Uganda.
Hannah Strohmeier is looking into the mental health and wellbeing of humanitarian staff in South Sudan.
Michael Blaney examines the lived experience of asylum seeking men who have been granted refugee status or leave to remain and are now living in the community in the Republic of Ireland.
Amanda Di Rosa’s work identifies patterns of connection, trust and resilience in FGM affected communities in Scotland to understand their influence on help-seeking strategies.