February 22, 2018: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 34

Recent Publications and New Research

Baker, S., Irwin, E., Freeman, H., Nance, S., & Coleman, J. (2018). Building cultural and linguistic bridges: Reflections on a program designed to support adult students from refugee backgrounds’ transitions into university. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 12(1).

This paper presents reflections on the design, delivery and evaluation of a program developed to facilitate Students from Refugee backgrounds (SfRBs’) transitions into an enabling education course at a regional university in Australia. A primary goal of this program was to purposefully and explicitly unpack the cultural expectations and linguistic requirements of higher education study. Reflections from the practitioners who designed and delivered the program shed light on the challenges of working with a responsive curriculum in real-time to attempt to fill the multiple gaps created by institutional assumptions and misrecognitions about who is in the higher education classroom. Available at:


Bartels, S. A., et. al. (2018). Making sense of child, early and forced marriage among Syrian refugee girls: a mixed methods study in Lebanon. BMJ Global Health, 3(1).

This study explores the underlying factors contributing to child marriage among Syrian refugees in Lebanon with the goal of informing community-based strategies to address the issue. Participants included married and unmarried Syrian girls, Syrian parents as well as married and unmarried men. Syrian girls and mothers were more likely to share stories about protection/security and/or education and were more likely to report that girls were overprotected. Male participants were more likely to share stories about financial security as well as sexual exploitation of girls and more often reported that girls were not protected enough. Despite these gendered perspectives, many of the shared narratives highlighted similar themes of financial hardship, lack of educational opportunities and safety concerns around sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Available at:


Fegert, J. M., Diehl, C., Leyendecker, B., Hahlweg, K., & Prayon-Blum, V. (2018). Psychosocial problems in traumatized refugee families: overview of risks and some recommendations for support services. Child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health, 12(1), 5.

This article is an abridged version of a report by an advisory council to the German government on the psychosocial problems facing refugee families from war zones who have settled in Germany. The focus is on understanding the developmental risks faced by refugee children when they or family members are suffering from trauma-related psychological disorders, and on identifying measures that can be taken to address these risks. The following recommendations are made: recognizing the high level of psychosocial problems present in these families, providing family–friendly living accommodations, teaching positive parenting skills, initiating culture-sensitive interventions, establishing training programs to support those who work with refugees, expanding the availability of trained interpreters, facilitating access to education and health care, and identifying intervention requirements through screening and other measures. Available at:


Sandri, E. (2018). ‘Volunteer Humanitarianism’: volunteers and humanitarian aid in the Jungle refugee camp of Calais. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44(1), 65-80.

The informal refugee camp in Calais, reached an approximate population of ten thousand people in 2016 but did not receive aid from the French government or international aid agencies. As a response to the lack of institutional support, and given the squalid conditions of the camp, hundreds of volunteers and grassroots organisations took on the burden of delivering humanitarian aid and basic services in the Jungle. This grassroots humanitarian aid, referred to in this article as ‘volunteer humanitarianism’, has particular characteristics that will be explored. The article argues that volunteer humanitarianism can be interpreted as a symbol against the violent border practices across Europe and, because of its informality, provides an alternative to formal humanitarian aid. The article also shows that volunteer humanitarianism formed a connection between humanitarianism and activism that stands in tension with neoliberal governmentality.

Available at (please click on academia.edu link):   


Reports, working papers and briefs

Hodes, M., Anagnostopoulos, D., & Skokauskas, N. (2018). Challenges and opportunities in refugee mental health: clinical, service, and research considerations.

The influx of many refugees into Europe in 2015–2016 with awareness from earlier studies of their likely high levels of psychological distress and mental health needs prompted the European Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (ESCAP) to focus on the societal and mental health implications of the refugee crisis. ESCAP sought to become active in disseminating information about the mental health of refugees and established an ESCAP online forum. One proposal arising from this initiative was to develop a focused issue of European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, which appears in this report. Available at: 


IDMC report: Escaping war: where to next? A research study on the challenges of IDP protection in Afghanistan

This new report from IDMC and NRC presents the findings of a comprehensive assessment of the protection needs of internally displaced people across Afghanistan. This follows on from a similar assessment carried out in 2012 when NRC/IDMC published the first in-depth study looking at the impact of displacement for Afghans. The report confirms that the ongoing conflict has taken on worrying intensity in parts of the country and is bearing a heavy cost on civilians. Since 2012, one alarming trend has been a sharp and steady growth in the levels of internal and external displacement: in the past five years a total of 1.7 million Afghans have been displaced – three times as many IDPs than we reported on five years ago. Available at:


Ratković, S., Kovačević, D., Brewer, C. A., Ellis, C., Ahmed, N., & Baptiste-Brady, J. (2018). Supporting refugee students in Canada: Building on what we have learned in the past 20 years. Report to Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON 

Between January 2015 and July 2017, over 84,000 refugees were resettled to Canada. This refugee population included 43% of school-age (17 years old and under) youth, arriving to communities and schools across Canada. The current educational system is ill-equipped to facilitate this transition and combat the socio-psychological challenges refugee students face as they enter Canadian schools. To understand refugee students’ education, social integration, and wellbeing in publicly-funded education systems in Canada, the report conducted a scoping review of recent Canadian refugee education literature and policy. Available at:


News reports and blog posts

Suffering Syrians, trapped Venezuelans, and a Ugandan refugee swindle: The Cheat Sheet

Every week, IRIN’s team of specialist editors scans the humanitarian horizon to curate a reading list on important and unfolding trends and events around the globe. This week’s topics discuss the potential new wave of displacement in northwestern Syria thanks to dual offensives by the government of President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey as well as the escalating situation in Venezuela, Uganda, Afghanistan and the Philippines. Available at:


Dozens of refugee resettlement offices to close as Trump downsizes program by Mica Rosenberg

Refugee resettlement agencies are preparing to shutter more than 20 offices across the United States and cut back operations in more than 40 others after the State Department told them to pare their operations. Read more at:


Will the Rohingya ever return home? By Hannah Beech

The New York Times reports that the meetings between Myanmar’s home affairs minister and his Bangladeshi counterpart in Dhaka about plans for the repatriation of nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled attacks in Myanmar and are now in Bangladesh. The report speculates that those meetings are not expected to elicit much action, with each country blaming the other for delays in implementing the repatriation agreement but neither side asking the refugees themselves whether and under what conditions they would want to return. Available at:


Digital and Social media

1 in 6 children now living in areas affected by conflict, Save the Children report says

This short video touches on the issue using direct testimonies from children impacted by conflict. Watch at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/children-conflict-war-living-save-the-children-report-357-million-a8211161.html

ReDSS white board animation on displacement and durable solutions in East Africa with a focus on Somalia 

This 5-minute whiteboard animation provides Information on displacement situations and trends in East Africa and Somalia in particular, a brief overview of key durable solutions concepts and definitions and a quiz to assess learning. Available at: http://regionaldss.org/index.php/capacity-development/solutions-tutorials/

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