SIID are delighted to welcome to the GCRF-funded Covid-19 PPE for Refugees project a new Research Associate, Dr Melissa Gatter. In this innovative project researchers from the University of Sheffield are collaborating with academics at Jordanian universities, working with Syrian refugees and Jordanians from marginalized communities to support livelihoods during the Covid-19 crisis. Livelihood opportunities include producing masks and other PPE, alongside e.g. soap production and growing vegetables with hydroponics.

Melissa brings her previous experience in ethnographic methods in Jordan’s refugee camps to the project’s social pillar, which employs participatory action research to co-create positive change together with Syrian refugees living in Zaatari camp and in Mafraq, Jordan. Local residents will be offered training to become participatory action researchers themselves and engage as fellow researchers with the team. The social pillar of the Covid-19 PPE for Refugees project will partly build on Melissa’s PhD and MPhil research at the University of Cambridge on time, space, and humanitarianism in Azraq and Zaatari camps. Prior to coming to the University of Sheffield, Melissa did consultancy work for development programmes in Jordan and the Middle East for Q Consulting. Melissa also worked in both camps for several aid organizations, including Save the Children, and will be tapping into this experience in collaborating with the project’s partners. Melissa commented “I am very excited to join SIID’s interdisciplinary team, and I look forward to working with our participatory action researchers in the camp to find grounded solutions to the challenges they face during the pandemic.”