The Project adopts a transnational case study approach with Brazil and Colombia as case studies. Research in the area was conducted mainly as single nation studies (Ferreira and Abiko, 2019). Although these studies have made an important contribution to the scientific scenario, there is a tendency to generalize the results and assume that tools and resources are applicable in different contexts. A transnational approach is needed to understand the diversity of experiences based on locations of different cultures, social contexts, governance processes and urban planning. The research performs a georeferenced mapping of the location of Venezuelan refugees across Brazil and Colombia and crosses it with COVID-19 prevalence data in a GIS environment. It then identifies three specific communities in each of the countries for more targeted urban research to allow for the collection of primary data. The methodology is developed in four phases called Work Packages, as shown below:
WORK PACKAGE 1 – Mapping Health and Well-Being (preliminary stage in development)
This WP focuses on the development of the GIS Platform. For the construction of this platform, we use ArcGIS Online software. This WP is divided into three phases. Phase 1 – GIS Mapping: we identified where Venezuelan refugees are living (temporarily or permanently) in Colombia and Brazil, the main characteristics of this population (age, sex, disability) and we cross this data on the COVID-19 contamination data in urban areas. These data are obtained through secondary data sources that we have already identified as available by local and national authorities and international organizations, including the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), MSF (Doctors Without Borders), IOM (International Organization for Migration), EIS (Epidemic Intelligence Service), WHO (World Health Organization), OBmigra (Labor Immigration Portal), Caritas, Pastoral Care for Migrants, National Committee for Refugees (CONARE), Centre for Studies in Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy (CEDPIR), DANE (National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia), Migration Colombia, Centre for Studies in Justice and Society Law and Consultancy in Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). Phase 2 – Support for Health and WellBeing: The research team conducts an analysis of the urban, housing, health and social well-being support existing in each country at the regional and state level. For that, we are doing analysis of photos obtained from Google Street View, orthophotographs and data available in specific agencies of state governments. The research includes objective data such as availability of services and support for health, wellbeing and social inclusion, urban infrastructure, housing conditions, transport and mobility, security, socioeconomic status, employment and education. The results of this phase are integrated into the GIS platform to provide objective information on the health and well-being of refugees living in the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase 3 – Capturing the Perception of Key People: Professional interviews (N=10 per country) are conducted with those who administer support to refugees, including the local and national government, NGOs, community organizations, local agencies and international bodies such as UNHCR, Caritas, IOM and EIS. These interviews are conducted online via Google Meet or another similar platform. The purpose of the interviews is to explore challenges and opportunities for resilience in response to COVID-19, institutional responses specific to the pandemic, barriers to accepting interventions, and to identify gaps in existing service delivery. All information obtained in the three phases of this Work Package will be inserted in the GIS platform.
WORK PACKAGE 2 – Mapping Community Responses (phase dependent on external funding)
This WP focuses on capturing the perceptions and experiences of refugees regarding health and well-being in their homes and communities, in response to COVID-19 and in the post-pandemic period for continuous monitoring of the population. A mobile phone application, initially called BondCommunities, will be developed so that it can support in capturing these perceptions. This application will be developed on Appy Pie platforms with low maintenance cost. Three communities in each country will be selected for this study (from the results obtained on the GIS platform), representing areas with a high density of Venezuelan refugees where COVID-19 cases are more concentrated and where data from WP1 revealed social and urban vulnerability in relation to gaps in health and well-being. Case study communities will demonstrate differences in urban areas in terms of (1) people living in formal communities/neighbourhoods, (2) people living in informal settlements, such as slums and peripheries, (3) people living in camps. refugees or shelters. Refugees will be contacted through organizations, community leaders and key people in their respective communities. Interviews and photo diaries (N=10 per community in each country) will be planned through the app to understand and develop strategies for coping and adapting people in response to COVID-19 and their life experiences in the community, providing an understanding of daily routines during the pandemic. Emphasis will be placed on how these groups navigate access to health and wellness services, coping mechanisms, adaptive responses and behaviours in response to COVID-19.
WORK PACKAGE 3 – Integrated GISMap Platform (phase dependent on external funding)
All data collected on WP1 and WP2 will be integrated into the GIS Multi-National Platform. The GIS ‘Story Maps’ of each country that integrate all the information collected will be designed as an interactive technological tool to support local and national decision making and will be accessible via computer and the mobile application developed at WP2. GIS ‘Story Maps’ is a technological tool that combines official maps with narrative text, images and multimedia content and, at the same time, combines a spatial and experimental understanding of health, wellbeing and resilience in communities. The GIS Platform will provide a tool for public managers to direct support to health and wellbeing, aiming to support resilience in response to COVID-19.
WORK PACKAGE 4 – Toolkit for Resilient Communities (phase dependent on external funding)
This WP will develop associated technological tools and resources, aimed at creating resilient communities to support Venezuelan refugees in Brazil and Colombia, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and future challenges. Based on data from the GIS Platform (WP3), National Virtual Policy and Practice Forums (NVPPF) will be developed, focusing on the synthesis and testing of the findings of the entire Project. National VPPFs will be carried out using the application developed in WP2 – BondCommunities app. The application will allow virtual meetings that will specifically address how communities can be supported in terms of supporting health and well-being in times of pandemics. This step will involve a National VPPFs in each country (10 to 15 participants per meeting) with the main stakeholders, including (i) local and national government, international bodies, public policymakers and those who implement urban policies; (ii) the private sector, (iii) charitable organizations, (iv) refugee groups, (v) and representatives of civil society. The emphasis here will be to explore the specific community and institutional responses to COVID-19, specifically in terms of how resilient communities can be prepared to respond to the health and well-being of refugee groups in this and future pandemics. The results of the VPPFs will produce a Toolkit for Resilient Communities containing a series of recommendations and guidelines on how policymakers and practitioners can provide health and welfare support to refugees in the event of a pandemic.