The GIPS project has deep roots. First, those of Roxane Caron who has been interested since 2005 in the realities of refugees in situations of prolonged exile and specifically, those of refugees from Palestine in Lebanon. The idea for this project emerged following a meeting in the summer of 2019 between Roxane Caron (principal investigator- Quebec site), Myriam Richard (project coordinator) with feminist activist and researcher Lina Abou Habib (researcher in charge of Lebanon site).
Research by Roxane Caron (FRQSC 2017-2020; Caron et al. SSHRC 2017-2019) echoes the work of Lina Abou Habib (1998; 2003; 2011; 2020a; 2020b) showing the need to open up the field of feminist research to address the intersection of gender inequalities, the specific realities of migrant women in protracted situations of precarious lives and the “denial of citizenship rights” for migrant women. The work of other researchers (Freedman 2015; McLaren 2017) is consistent with this, stating that in attempting to understand and improve practices with migrant women, it is important to focus on the shared realities of migrant women as a “group” while acknowledging the vast differences in the conditions – material, cultural, social and historical – in which they live.
The events related to the global pandemic since March 2020 that have affected both contexts – Canada and Lebanon – in addition to a social and economic crisis that has hit Lebanon hard since the fall of 2019, reinforce the relevance and the need to build a project that would bring the two sites together insofar as the pandemic has contributed to the exacerbation of precarious situations experienced by so-called “vulnerable” groups, primarily migrant women (Al Ali 2020; Norman 2020; TCRI 2020).
At the present moment, the scale of the pandemic’s impact suggests that it will be long-lasting. Activists and civil society organizations working in direct interface with migrant women on gender and advocacy issues-many of whom are or have been involved in our projects-shared these concerns and were vocal in denouncing the precariousness of migrant women’s situations in the two sites where the GIPS project is now deploying (Hanley et al. 2010; Hanley et al. 2018; UNWOMEN 2020; Women Deliver 2020). In Lebanon, in light of the successive crises of 2019-2020, our partner the Collective for research and training on development action (CRTD-A) has expressed the “urgency” of documenting the realities of migrant women in a context of hyper-precariousness in order to identify promising practices to help them. Together with other civil society organizations, they propose a plan of response to the current crises that take into account gender inequalities in order to support the development of joint initiatives of actors from the world of research, activists, public and civil society organizations, and migrant women (UNWOMEN 2020). They call not only for the documentation of women’s plural realities, but also for the representation, leadership, and inclusion of women and gender issues in the emergency response to women’s needs and priorities. In Canada, GIPS partners (MCVI, Clinique Mauve, PINAY, and InterActions) are also calling for greater consideration of gender inequalities in the response to the pandemic that has exacerbated the precarious daily lives of migrant women (TCRI 2020).
In light of these calls for solidarity, the GIPS project was born, a project that focuses on the experiences and strategies deployed by migrant women and groups working with them at the crossroads of ethical questions about research and intervention practices in “crisis” contexts.
There are other reasons to support the development of the GIPS project. By its transnational and decolonial feminist nature, GIPS focuses on the co-construction, sharing, and development of research and intervention tools in collaboration with migrant women and various actors (researchers, practitioners) in both sites. The objectives of GIPS also call for the deployment of an international and multi-sectoral team to facilitate the implementation of the partnership in both sites.
Who are we?
At the time of its creation, the GIPS team consisted of 6 co-researchers, 1 university collaborator, 4 civil society partner organizations in Quebec and 1 in Lebanon, as well as migrant women.
What are our geographical anchors?
Always in congruence with our transnational and decolonial feminist theoretical foundations, GIPS is anchored in Quebec and Lebanon not only for logistical reasons (e.g. coordination of activities, trustworthy links with local partners), but also for the complementary expertise that each of them brings in terms of knowledge of the multiple issues, notably on the cultural, systemic and organizational levels.
Furthermore, the feminist participatory action research methodological approach mobilized for the GIPS project leads us to recognize the complementarity of the academic and experiential knowledge of the partner organizations, the migrant women, and the researchers at the two sites. Consequently, everyone will be involved in the development, implementation, and mobilization of knowledge at all stages of the project. Moreover, in the perspective of a project “by, for, and with migrants”, all partners have been invited on the basis of their mandate, leadership, expertise, presence, and influence in their community. The involvement of these experts, some of whom have known each other and worked together for years, will support the integration and mobilization of knowledge at each site and across borders.