Grant awarded for child refugee research

A Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) grant of £7,000 has been awarded to a Swansea University researcher to look at how children living for long periods in refugee settlements are protected.

PhD student, Anna Skeels of the Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR), Swansea University is to start the six month project in April and will spend two months in Kyaka II settlement in Uganda.

Anna will be working with groups of refugee children aged between six and 16 to find out more about their experience of being protected in refugee settlements and look at ways to more effectively meet their needs.

She will be working with partners Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Save the Children and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) to explore how children are engaged at key points, such as when they arrive and register at refugee settlements. She will also be examining the settlement environment and finding out whether they have child friendly spaces, complaints reporting mechanisms and access to information.

Anna said, “Children face different protection risks, have different protection needs and communicate differently about their protection concerns to adults.

“Children aged up to 18 are a significant part of the refugee population world-wide. Almost 50% of UNHCR’s global caseload is children and children represent the majority of many refugee camp populations. Whilst organisations such as GIZ and Save the Children do work to protect them, the mainstream refugee protection process inadequately engages refugee children or addresses their specific protection concerns and there is a danger that refugee children do not feel able to participate or voice their concerns throughout the protection process.”

Nicolas Kroger, Manager of the HIF, said “We are delighted to award funding to CMPR’s unique project which will explore child participation as a means to innovate in humanitarian aid. This is the first project we have funded which views the user as the innovator, and we are excited that a UKuniversity is embarking on this kind of research.”