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EXCHANGE FORUM BETWEEN RESEARCHERS AND NGO’S
London
27 febbraio 2009
 

Interview to GEMMA partner after 1st Gemma Workshop, 27 February 2009

1. How was the interaction between CSOs and researchers?

The interaction between researchers and NGOs was quite constructive. CSOs and researchers acknowledged the need for more collaboration. NGOs acknowledge the need to conduct research of higher quality. They face severe difficulties in performing good research because of lack of financial resources. NGOs also welcome researchers helping them in figuring out new relevant directions of research. For instance, during the breakout groups the Refugee Council representatives acknowledged the need for more research on refugee women and their access to the health system. We divided the participants into two breakout groups. NGOs and academics were equally represented in both groups. Furthermore, we decided to include in each group NGOs and academics working on similar topics. So, for instance, in one group we had academics working on domestic labour and NGOs interested in this topic. In order to avoid potential conflicts, we decided to separate NGOs and an academics working on trafficking and prostitution. Indeed, their different standing points were already well acknowledged before the workshop. This strategy turned out to be quite useful as it allowed NGOs working on trafficking to express and voice their feelings about researchers without raising a conflict that would have involved the other break out group participants.

2. Which aspects of the presented research results have been more appreciated by the CSOs?

NGOs felt able to comment on their own area of expertise but not on other topics. Given the constraints under which they operate, NGOs often don’t have the capacity to consider research beyond their specific field. NGOs welcome collaboration with researchers in identifying new direction of research.

3. Which directions did the CSOs indicate for the research in the future?

CSOs have pointed out gaps and themes not covered by the EU projects on gender and migration we presented. First of all, no project specifically focused on refugee woman. Improving the condition of refugees and advocating for their rights is the main activity of NGOs such as the Refugee Council and Asylum Aid, whose representatives were attending the Gemma workshop. The two NGOs perceived this was a very relevant gap in EU research on gender and migration. They both stressed the absence of research on refugee women and children. On their opinion, this lack of interest is due to the fact that refugee issues are more of national concern than of European. In addition, policy makers are not interested in funding research on the refugee population because it is unstable and tend to quickly change over time.

4. Which was the reaction of the researchers to the suggestions made by CSOs?

Researchers welcomed the request of NGOs for more research on refugees and specifically on refugee women. But researchers underlined the difficulty of setting such a research agenda due to the allocation of research funds, which is usually driven by different governmental concerns (e.g. at the moment, research on Muslim communities). Researchers also acknowledged the lack of EU research on self employed migrant women. The European project Ethnogeneration was the only project to partly address this topic. Researchers also pointed out to the absence of European research on the occupational mobility of migrant women over time, both over different generations (longitudinal approach) and in the individual life course.

5. Have some collaboration plans emerged for the future between CSOs and researchers?

Yes, a plan for future collaboration has been suggested by an academic and it relates to the possibility of creating “speed dating”, an occasion for NGOs and researchers to meet, share their knowledge  and match their research interests and focus of activity. It could be a physical or a virtual place, for instance an Internet  site or a database where NGOs could retrieve researchers working on issues of interest for them and vice versa. This would enhance the share of knowledge and collaboration for application for future funding. NGOs could also advertise specific research vacancies they need to fill and academics could provide them with postgraduate and PhD researchers willing to share their skills. At the same time, students would be able to do fieldwork. Post graduate students could be very useful in doing research in NGO following the research needs of NGOs. In addition, academics pointed out that here is a lot of pressure on academia to show they work with NGO to get funding and this could result in more commitment to collaborate with each other.


Documents:


[AGENDA-EXCHANGE FORUM-27/02/2009]

[Photos]

[List and synthesis of European projects on Gender & Migration]

[A SWOT Analysis ]