Promoting afghan migrants’ health through participatory research
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Leeds Beckett University United Kingdom
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1379
Background and objective:
A UK university collaborated with an NGO which provides housing and support services in a neighbouring city to conduct some participatory research. The NGO invited volunteers and the people they support through the Afghan Relocations and Assistance scheme to undertake some peer research (also called community research).

Four people chose to become Community Researchers on this project: 3 Afghan men living in temporary hotel accommodation and one British woman who volunteers with the NGO. They received training and support from a university health promotion researcher; three training sessions on research, survey design, and research ethics. They chose to do some research on the mental health of Afghan people living for long periods in hotel accommodation. They designed a survey to investigate meaningful occupation that promoted good health and then spent 5 weeks collecting data. The Community and University Researchers analysed the data from the survey together.

The Community Researchers spoke to 14 men individually and 15 women in a group. The respondents were aged 16 to 65. Cultural norms meant that the men could not ask women questions directly, so the female volunteer spoke to a group of women with an interpreter. Respondents reported physical activity, social interaction and developing skills as the most significant factors in maintaining good health. Barriers to taking part in activities to promote health included language, caring responsibilities, and a lack of money. The Community Researchers produced recommendations regarding support which included: offering more opportunities to learn English; supporting independence through use of public transport; and facilitating connections with local people.

Community Researchers are experts by experience and bring important community knowledge. They gained a range of skills and increased confidence through the project and provided the NGO with practical advice on how best to support their community’s health.

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