Redressing Gendered Health Inequalities of Displaced Women and Girls in contexts of Protracted Crisis in Central and South America (ReGHID)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Sch of Economic, Social & Political Sci


Women and young girls who are driven by necessity to leave their countries in Central and South America (often on basis of gendered threats such as sexual violence) face a range of gender-specific threats to their health and well-being both in the process of migrating and in the places of settlement that they reach. Sexual and reproductive health is a key component of social development and well-being that is particularly at risk in contexts of displacement (risks of rape and sexual assault, of sexual disease, of lack of contraception or sanitary materials are all features of processes of forced displacement in this region and elsewhere) and the ability of displaced women and girls to access and exercise their sexual and reproductive health rights faces a number of obstacles. These can range in the immediate local context from lack of awareness of rights or of the practical knowledge and skills to negotiate health systems on the part of displaced women and girls to the lack of capacity of local health services to address the needs of displaced females, where these immediate problems point to wider issues of national and regional health governance, of the need for effective planning for flexible responsiveness to crises of displacement that may become protracted and the fair sharing of responsibility for securing rights protection. This matters not only because securing these rights is integral to recognising the dignity of women and girls, but also because it is critical to enabling displaced women and girls to act as agents of development, as productive social and economic agents whose activities support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

ReGHID will:
- identify the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and adolescent girls displaced from Central America to Mexico and from Venezuela to Brazil and Colombia;
- analyse the challenges that displaced women and girls face in relation to SRH;
- assess the impact of displacement on local health systems in the area of SRH, noting the obligations of receiving and transit states to ensure that the human right to health for all is respected and protected;
produce original primary data about gendered patterns of inequalities affecting access to and delivery of care in women and girls' SRH during displacement.

It does so in order to propose human rights-based and deliverable responses addressing (a) the immediate and longer-term SRH needs of women and adolescent girls in displacement, including guidance, skills and information to equip them to articulate their SRHR; and (b) a responsive Comprehensive Healthcare Model as a policy solution to protect the SRHR of migrant women and girls in contexts of protracted displacement.
To be able to do this work, the project has been co-designed, and will be cooperatively carried out, through a partnership between academics and major UN and NGO agencies from the fields of migration, displacement, aid and development. The project will be delivered by an interdisciplinary and international consortium that unites leading academics from health economics, political science, demography and social statistics, international development, human rights, gender studies, anthropology, migration and public health. Participants are drawn from leading research institutions in Central and South America region (Honduras, El Salvador, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico), the Universities of Southampton and York. It benefits from the participation of key regional intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations including the Council of Ministries of Health for Central America (COMISCA), the regional office of the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM), Medicos Sin Frontera (MSF, Mexico), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and FLACSO/Costa Rica. The consortium represents a unique balance of relevant research and policy experience

Planned Impact

Impact has been embedded in the design of this proposal with NGOs, IOM and regional organisations. ReGHID will have an impact on:
i) Non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations (MSF, COMISCA, IOM) through co-design and co-delivery of impact outputs and activities into their routines and programming by co-designing an AGAPE guidance manual to ensure better SRH outputs for displaced women and girls, support the identification of health threats, health needs and barriers in the way of health rights (whether formal or informal). Further outputs such as short documentary videos and printed material will support collaborative awareness campaigns for better protection, monitoring and management of community aid.
ii) National policy makers in Central and South America with new data profiling SRH needs of women and girls in displacement from Central America and Venezuela, how those needs are met in places of transit and abode and how met/unmet SRH affect women and adolescent SRH rights, that will inform planning to improve capacity and respond effectively to health needs affected by displacement improving at the same time the prospects of displaced women and girls to be integrated in society, to develop an independent and healthily life. In addition, the health system policy modelling (MIAS -NS) closely aligns with strategic developmental goals set out nationally, regionally and in the SDG commitments on poverty reduction, health, gender, migration and development partnership.
iii) Displaced women and adolescent girls, communities, local healthcare workers, health and gender activists and civil society groups through age-appropriate information packs for girls aged 10 to 14 years and 15-24, working with ongoing IOM and MSF support and advocacy strategies. By producing immersive short video documentaries and photovoice ReGHID will also give displaced people a voice and create material for further public awareness and training sessions with community and health authorities.
iv) Scholars and researchers across the fields of social science (politics, development, international relations, human geography, demography), health economics and public health; with particular focus on ECR who will contribute to research activities and work closely with policy makers, NGOs and intergovernmental organisations such as IOM and COMISCA.
v) GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub with new empirical and conceptual material that offers a rights-based approach to health of forced female migrants and displacement as a determinant of sustainable wellbeing of societies and development for all. ReGHID will improve academic and policy relevant knowledge generating and disseminating new data on the SRH status of the most vulnerable groups within the forced migration populations, women and adolescent girls in South-South migration corridors leaving from and arriving at the most unequal countries in Central America and South America. ReGHID will engage with the Hub sharing of findings and best practices.
Outreach and impact will be achieved through a set of activities in partnerships with NGOs, IOM, and displaced women and adolescent girls throughout the work packages, including participatory research, face-to-face meetings, workshops, seminars and public engagement activities thorough awareness campaigns and advocacy using printed and visual material. We will also set up a project website to disseminate bilingual project information briefs, reports, papers and E-newsletters, and link with partners' media outlets and mailing lists. We will also develop opportunities for transfer knowledge for stakeholders to provide feedback and context, and for academics, practitioners and advocacy groups. We will provide a legacy of cross-disciplinary and cross-organisation capacity building, which will provide a self-sustaining network of north-south and south-south researchers and a framework enabling international partnership.


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