Migrant Health + PEER Projects

No Recourse! Peer Ethnographic Evaluation Research

In May 2017, myself and colleague Dr Rubina Jasani (HCRI Manchester) began a community engagement and research partnership with the grassroots organisation Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST Manchester).

Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) logo


No Recourse logo

WAST Manchester is a registered charity run by and for female asylum seekers who act to raise awareness of issues affecting destitute migrants in the UK through campaigning and public speaking. 

In January 2018, we formed a peer research group made up of 20 WAST members. During 2018 10 women completed a programme of ethnographic and qualitiative research method training.

The project prioritises a Peer Ethnographic Evaluation Research (PEER) approach to defining and addressing the core issues that impact on the lives of destitute female asylum seekers in the UK. This is the first time the PEER approach has been developed with a view to creating a sustainable and equitable community research programme.

The project’s overall objectives are:

  • build capacity and create conditions for empowerment among female forced migrants using a PEER approach;
  • develop a new approach to collaborative ethnographic research that benefits participants and institutions equally;
  • continuously monitor progression and incorporate Key Informant Monitoring into the existing PEER framework.

Current projects

Public Engagement and Investigating Barriers to Healthcare amongst asylum seekers in Manchester

February 2019 – 2020 (dependent on funding)

This project seeks to examine healthcare professional’s (HCPs) understanding of health needs of asylum seekers with no recourse to public funds. Under the definition of HCP we include: doctor (GP, consultant, junior), nurse, midwife, social worker and where possible administration gatekeepers.

Whilst asylum seekers share many health issues with other migrant groups, this project focuses on the population of failed asylum seekers due to the additional likelihood of destitution, social marginalisation and proven confusion amongst HCPs around right to access free primary healthcare for this migrant group.


  • To examine trainee HCPs knowledge and experience of dealing with healthcare issues experienced by failed asylum seekers with no recourse to public funds.
  • To capture the experience and feelings of asylum seekers who have accessed or attempted to access health and social services.
  • To create a dialogue between the data above and to pilot an educational resource targeted at early and mid-career HCPs.


We are in the process of compiling a video based training resource for early-mid career HCPs and completing co-authored academic outputs on our findings. In 2020 we will complete an application for further funding for a textile narrative project based upon our findings from this investigation.

Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation Research (PEER): forced migrants and the challenge of self-advocacy

July 2018-April 2019

This jointly funded project arose from pilot research done as part of the training, which revealed little is known about the strategies women use to support each other when no one else will.

This project uses creative methods to draw attention to the skills and strategies that migrant women develop when they come together in surviving many years of destitution and social exclusion.

The project aim is to create educational resources to raise awareness of these issues among professionals who encounter migrant women and their dependants. 

Events and project social engagement




  • British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants
  • ESRC, Impact Acceleration Account


  • Social Responsibility and Cultural Engagement funding awards, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, The University of Manchester
  • Making a Difference Awards, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, The University of Manchester
  • HCRI Research Support

Associated researchers

WAST publications

The women of WAST have published two collections of their writing about their experiences as asylum seekers, Am I Safe Yet? and Listen To Our Voices!. You can read about how Dr Siobhan Brownlie worked with WAST to produce Listen To Our Voices!.

All proceeds will go to WAST to support them in helping female asylum seekers and campaigning for human rights for asylum seekers.

These publications can be purchased directly from WAST by emailing contactwastmanchestercontact@gmail.com.

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