Accountability in Urban Health
“More than half of the world’s people live in cities, with one in three of those living in low- and middle-income countries doing so in informal settlements, sometimes known colloquially as slums, with inadequate access to services and opportunities to shape decisions about their environment. Our research will support the people in our focal communities to claim their right to health.”
Professor Sally Theobald, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Principle Investigator, ARISE
Around the world, the number of people living in cities is growing rapidly. Transforming the lives of vulnerable people in informal urban settlements is vital to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This entails tackling complex, interrelated challenges of poor health, unequal access to services, insecurity and weak accountability. Rigorous research and evidence, combined with community engagement and ownership, must inform these efforts.
The ARISE Hub – Accountability and Responsiveness in Informal Settlements for Equity – is a new research consortium, set up to enhance accountability and improve the health and wellbeing of marginalised populations living in informal urban settlements in low- and middle-income countries.
ARISE advice on COVID-19 For people in informal settlements
In this recent webinar organised by JPG School of Public Health, ARISE partners describe the challenges and interventions that are being put in place to tackle COVID-19.
Understanding safeguarding in international development research: The process and intricacies involved
- Raise awareness of the new guidance, increase understanding of the definition of safeguarding in the context of international development research
- Highlight how the research community can use it and reflect on safeguarding considerations in the context of COVID-19.
Any sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment of research participants, communities and research staff, plus any broader forms of violence, exploitation and abuse relevant to research such as bullying, psychological abuse and physical violence.There was however a caveat on the fact that this definition was agreed on by UK funders and expert advisory groups and specific to the research context.
What does the guidance do?The guidance supports all who are involved in the research processes to anticipate, mitigate and address potential and actual harms in the funding, design, delivery and dissemination of research. Safeguarding processes face various challenges in the international development research realm; some of which were outlined as safeguarding falling between the cracks and the idea that safeguarding was something for NGOs rather than academia. At the breach of safeguarding guidelines, several things come to play that inhibit the reporting of these issues including:
- Attitudes of colleagues and supervisors, concerns about being a ‘good’ fieldworker
- Concerns about career prospects and fear of jeopardizing research
- Rights of victims/survivors and whistle-blowers
The UKCDR guidelines act as a guide and then as ARISE, we contextualize them to fit our different contexts.Sally wrapped up the session with saying that safeguarding just like ethics is not a tick box exercise. It is an ongoing, critical and reflective journey that includes partnerships, participatory processes and building of trust. The process needs to speak to the key values that come through in the guidance of equity transparency, accountability and having the different vulnerable groups at the heart of the process. It is vital for everyone to understand that everybody has a role to play when it comes to safeguarding.
Webinar contributors:Safeguarding in International Development Research – Presentation by Sheila Mburu, Research & Policy Officer, UKCDR Developing and applying the UKCDR safeguarding principles and guidance – Presentation by Linnea Renton, Research Fellow on Safeguarding, Antislavery Knowledge Network, University of Liverpool Reflections on safeguarding – Presentation by Sally Theobald and Bintu Mansaray on behalf of ARISE hub
Shadowing Suvartha on her waste-picking route in Vijayawada
A photo essay by Shrutika Murthy, The George Institute for Global Health India
We have been involved in a number of processes to create guidelines on safeguarding in global health programmes. You can read more in our latest paper in BMJ Global Health.
Or you can read the findings of an international consultation on safeguarding by our colleagues Surekha Garimella and Bintu Mansaray.
We also have advice on safeguarding in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.