Working with refugees in the Dzaleka camp, SNHU GEM students and alumni bring cultural competence and professional skills to a research project that will support their own community.
Building trust between researchers and the researched can be difficult – but Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM) refugee learners are well equipped for the job, with the powerful combination of cultural competency and SNHU GEM education.
Six SNHU GEM students and graduates were recently hired by Inua Consulting and the University of Malawi to work as research enumerators for a project in the Dzaleka refugee camp. They gained hands-on experience collecting and analyzing data, and working with research subjects in their own community. The enumerators surveyed Dzaleka refugee camp residents to learn how they would respond if the Malawi government amended its national refugee policy to offer more opportunities for refugee integration.
Innocent Magambi, founder of Inua Consulting, believes that SNHU GEM students and graduates are uniquely positioned to excel in research work, particularly in refugee communities. SNHU GEM learners are deeply rooted in the refugee community and understand the principles of data collection and research ethics thanks to their SNHU GEM education. “They can guide our team on research design because they are members of the community we work with,” says Innocent. “They are trusted by the refugee community, and have a variety of languages available to communicate with them.”
As a self-described “refugee for life,” Innocent lived in five refugee camps across Eastern and Southern Africa before the age of 25, including Dzaleka refugee camp. He is keenly aware of the limitations of Malawi’s encampment policies, which legally requires all asylum seekers and refugees to live inside Dzaleka and denies them access to public higher education and employment opportunities.
Such restrictions make SNHU GEM a vital resource for refugees. Providing opportunities for refugees and displaced learners to obtain an internationally-recognized degree and gain hands-on professional experience opens pathways to employment and empowers students to transform their outcomes and succeed on their own terms.
Innocent hopes this research will provide tangible data that can inform and guide policy practitioners in Malawi. “If national policy excludes refugees from integration, their potential will always be restrained.”
To learn more about the research project, read the research brief and full report from Inua Consulting, the University of Malawi, and SNHU GEM.