Addressing Pakistani communities' needs in the COVID-19 pandemic crisis

Internal description

ESRC IAA - R123686 (Task code O)

Description

What is the aim of the PACCT Action project?

The PACCT action study is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA)-funded project led by The University of Manchester's Manchester Institute of Education (MIE).

The aim of this project is to address the needs of the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the key expected outcomes of this project is to create collaboratively, specifically with the local Pakistani community in Rochdale, a highly deprived area, a research-evidenced 'call to action' document to be published on various academic and public platforms in order to increase impact.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light an increased health risk among BAME compared to white ethnic groups, thereby, exposing stark inequalities. This calls for further research to understand the underlying factors that are mediating this relation between BAME communities and COVID-19 related risks in order to save lives. Top-down lockdown measures have further exacerbated the inequalities experienced by ethnic minorities in England, where their voices have just been missing.

To this end, we have interviewed a wide range of volunteers from the Pakistani community, specifically parents, carers, and grandparents living in Rochdale. We have also reached the most vulnerable members of the Pakistani community such as single mothers who are non-English speaking, widows, and elderly members.

What is the 'call to action' document?

From the experiences and stories of the participants, we are currently drawing a 'call to action' document to respond to the concerns raised. The recommendations and strategies will be particularly relevant to policymakers, schools and colleges, local health service providers, and media outlets in Rochdale and nationally. These strategies will directly address:

a) how to mitigate risks related to COVID-19 misconceptions amongst the Pakistani community in Rochdale, and how to include Pakistani communities’ voices in local school/college policies pertaining to COVID-19;
(b) attendance;
(c) well-being issues.

Our findings are also going to inform ongoing local NHS reforms, as well as recommend strategies for media reporting.

Indirectly, the 'call to action' document will facilitate a discussion on the national level about these issues, as well as impact other ethnic minorities in the community (such as Bangladeshi and Black).

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the research, you can contact Sophina Choudry, Principal Investigator, at sophina.choudry@manchester.ac.uk.

You can also give us a follow on Twitter for the latest updates, @thePACCTproject.

Key findings

The voices represented in the Call to Action document have told of the pain and hurt of many in the Pakistani Rochdale communities who are suffering from racism and abuse at multiple levels: individually (on the street, playground, and at work); (in schools, workplaces, and the NHS); and at societal levels (in government policy/decisions and rhetoric, and in the media, both mainstream and social media). We have identified four key themes that recurred across individual narratives of hurt and pain felt by those enduring racism and abuse - and we see these themes as suggesting a collective experience of being subject to racism that has been reproduced and intensified in and via current pandemic conditions. These themes are:

•Blaming the victim
•Marginalisation from positions of authority and power
•Covid aggravation of discrimination
•And Covid related communication vacuum (both from friends and loved ones, and from health, education and social care agencies)

Each account, generated from our consultations, begins with an often very private and painful personal or family experience, but then is identified as a particular - sometimes impassioned - expression of a collective grievance and need. We suggest this collective experience and need calls for collective action by this community to express these needs, but also to demand change in policy and practice, to educate those with decision-making powers, and to facilitate community members’ access to and influence in schools, as well as the media, health, and politics that matter. Thus, our findings led to the construction of thematic ‘voices’ at individual, institutional and community levels that suggest specific calls for actions aimed at policy and practice in regards to (i) schools; (ii) NHS, well-being/GPs and mental health services; (iii) national policy regarding local/institutional implementation; (iv) local Rochdale policy/action; and (v) the media.
Short titlePACCT Action Project
Effective start/end date6/07/2030/04/21

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