COVID19’s Impact on Refugee/Migrant Equity-Deserving Groups in Latin America

Bartels, Susan A | $499,955

Ontario Queen's University 2022 CIHR Operating Grant

Venezuela has been experiencing a severe socioeconomic and political crisis for several years, now compounded by COVID19. With 7.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Venezuela and another 5.6 million Venezuelans in need in other countries, it is now the world’s second-largest external displacement crisis after Syria. COVID19 has exacerbated long-standing socioeconomic inequalities between migrants and local communities. This has created an urgent need for research on how the COVID19 pandemic is impacting refugees and migrants in Latin America as well as differential and disproportionate effects on known equity-deserving groups. We will conduct mixed methods research using an innovative ‘SenseMaking’ (SM) approach to understand the broader impacts of COVID19 in Latin America with a particular focus on different groups of refugees and migrants, including women/girls, LGBTIQ+ individuals, and persons with disabilities. SM is based on the recognition that storytelling is a natural way to convey complex information and is used by individuals to make sense of their experiences. Using SM, participants audio-record a story in response to an open-ended prompt, thus generating the qualitative data. After the recording, participants then interpret their own experiences by plotting their perspectives. SM quantifies each of the plotted points, providing statistical data backed up by the accompanying explanatory narratives. Multiple-choice questions collect demographic information and help to contextualize the shared story. By collecting many self-interpreted stories, SM leverages the “wisdom of the crowds,” and collectively, the participants’ interpretation responses create a nuanced picture in the same way pixels come together to produce a clear image. Objectives: We will use SM to holistically examine the social, economic, security, health, and cultural impacts of COVID19 among refugee/migrant equity-deserving groups in Latin America.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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