Dr. Nassim Majidi, founder of Samuel Hall, participated via Skype to talk about how to do research in conflict settings. Two of the areas that were especially mentioned were Afghanistan and Iraq which are also the two countries where Samuel Hall is now conducting field work on behalf of Delmi.
Dr. Nassim Majidi held a presentation with focus on where Samuel Hall conducts research and how they work by giving examples from the interviews that they are doing for Delmi. She also shared what they have learned about the return and reintegration work during the years that they have met with returnees. Even though Delmi's project is not at a stage where research findings can be shared, she mentioned some of the initial findings of the data collection from the spring in Afghanistan:
- There are social problems, such as difficulties in finding housing and work, which have a negative effect on the reintegration process, the returnees mental health and the possibility to start over.
- In conflict settings, basic needs are often lacking. In Afghanistan, half of the population reside in conflict-affected areas. With poverty and food insecurity on the rise, an estimated 80 percent of the Afghan population live below the poverty line.
- Regarding the support that the voluntary returnees receive, there is a gap between expectation and reality. This can be linked to information gaps, miscommunication and changes in the support structure that leads to confusion.
Dr. Majidi highlighted that ”research is possible in impossible contexts” and that it is important to conduct research, and preferably collaborative research, that adds value for the countries of origin and fills the knowledge needs in the return area. Within the project, Samuel Hall will continue to conduct interviews in Iraq and Afghanistan. The third and last reference group meeting will be held at the end of 2020 when roughly 100 interviews with returnees are estimated to have been conducted
Picture by Samuel Hall.