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Presenting Research at the International Metropolis Conference 2019

The International Metropolis Conference 2019 took place last month in Ottawa, where the Mothers Matter Centre participated alongside 1,300 experts from academia, government, and civil society from around the world.

Hosted by the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the conference highlighted important themes in the fields of migration, integration, diversity, and inclusion.

Reframing the Perception of Refugee Women

While each keynote speaker was inspiring and thought-provoking in their presentation, one stood out to the Mothers Matter Centre: Ketty Nivyabandi. A human rights defender and a former refugee herself, Nivyabandi spoke firsthand to the courage and resilience of refugee women who are often perceived as passive victims but are in fact the leaders, first responders, and main providers in refugee camps.  She stated that the refugee woman is highly effective as she serves with intimate knowledge of her community.

Double Jeopardy: Loss of Parental Agency Challenge During Forced Migration and Settlement Process

Nivyabandi’s words were timely as they reverberated the findings of a research project that the Mothers Matter Centre presented at a workshop at the conference.  The research explored the potential loss of parental agency in forced migrant mothers and found that when mothers experienced the most difficult circumstances during forced migration, they displayed the highest form of parental agency.

Interestingly, not only are they wrongfully perceived by outsiders as passive victims, but the mothers perceive themselves as lacking and irresponsible during that period of time.  The research project urged organizations and policymakers to acknowledge, honour, and respect the sacrifice and courage that refugee mothers display despite the extreme difficulties and challenges that come with the forced migration journey.

We summarized our findings in the below video (13:00).

Practical Solutions

The International Metropolis Conference 2019 was an opportunity for experts in this field to share knowledge and best practices in providing real and practical solutions for the inclusion and economic growth of migrants around the world.

We appreciate the opportunity to have participated and shared our findings on this international platform and are excited to incorporate these learnings into our work and programs at the Mothers Matter Centre.

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