Anna skeels is awarded prestigious grant

Swansea University student Anna Skeels has been awarded a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Small Grant of US$7,000 (approx £4,300), to explore the experiences and views of children living in the Dadaab refugee camp in North East Kenya

Anna, aged 42, who lives in Adamsdown in Cardiff, is a first year PhD student based in the Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR), in the University’s College of Science, where she is researching the broader issue of refugee children’s participation in protection in Dadaab.

Anna Skeels

The purpose of the UNHCR Small Grants programme is to encourage and enable original research and writing to be undertaken on refugee, displacement, migration and humanitarian issues and situations that are closely related to UNHCR's mandate and operational activities.

Projects have to be completed within six months and need to result in the preparation of a 20 to 40 page research paper, which can be published in the UNHCR's Policy Development and Evaluation Service, or PDES, working paper series 'New Issues in Refugee Research'.

The four to six week fieldwork visit, which is planned to be undertaken this October and November, will be linked to Anna’s broader PhD research.

It will focus on an initial ‘mapping’ of children’s participation in Save the Children and UNHCR’s child protection mechanisms in the camps.

It will explore – with key humanitarian agencies – the extent to which they are encouraging and supporting children’s participation in their child protection response, and gather the views and experiences of refugee children on their participation in their own protection.

Speaking about her award, Anna said: "The UNHCR Small Grant funding is essential for me to be able to carry out my first phase of PhD fieldwork in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.  It will cover my travel, security and translation costs and basic living costs whilst in Dadaab.

"I am really overjoyed to have secured the Grant and to have the opportunity to produce a UNHCR paper as a result."

Professor Heaven Crawley, Director of Swansea University’s Centre for Migration Policy Research said: "For Anna to secure such a prestigious grant at such an early stage in her academic career is a great achievement and testament to the innovative and policy-relevant nature of her research.

"Anna's research will be conducted in a context which is increasingly a focus of the world's attention. The funding will enable her to collect new information on the experiences of children who are often marginalised, but whose participation is crucial as parts of efforts to secure international protection for those who are must vulnerable."

Anna is now seeking further funding to enable her to return to Dadaab for a three-month fieldwork period in early 2012.

For more information about Swansea University’s Centre for Migration Policy Research visit http://www.swan.ac.uk/cmpr/.  

And for further information about the UN Refugee Agency visit http://www.unhcr.org.uk/.

Picture: Anna Skeels pictured during earlier training she ran in Dadaab, with Save the Children refugee workers.

This news item has been generated by Bethan Evans, Swansea University Public Relations Office, Tel: 01792 295049, or email: b.w.evans@swansea.ac.uk