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Redressing Gendered Health Inequalities of Displaced Women and Girls

University of Southampton


The overarching aim of ReGHID is to improve the delivery of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights of reproductive age women and adolescent girls in situations of protracted displacement in Central and South America, so as to develop both evidence-based advocacy and concrete policy proposals for improving sexual and reproductive health services, establishing responsive and inclusive health systems and contribute to durable, rights-based solutions.

Female displacement represents around 30% of the total of Central American migrants to Mexico, and about 45% of those Venezuelans fleeing to Brazil and Colombia.

We know that forced migration in these countries is associated with high levels of violence, ‘femicide’, political persecution, severe human rights violation and poverty. And that all this is exacerbated in displacement.

But we still know very little about:

–  the impact of forced displacement specifically on the SRH of women and adolescent girls in Central and South America,

–  how displaced women and girls seek help and coping mechanisms to respond to their SRH needs

–   how the health systems respond to SRH needs and rights at border sites, in transit and in settlement


In response ReGHID will:

Develop new quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence on the impact of displacement on the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and adolescent girls in Central America and Venezuela;

–  Co-produce research with non-governmental and civil society organisations working with displaced women and adolescent girls to uncover the lived experiences of their right to health in relation to sexual and reproductive health, and the strategies of displaced women and adolescent girls deploy to meet those needs, including from public and non-state providers in places of transit and settlement;

–  Co-produce a holistic understanding of the pressure that the sexual and reproductive health needs of displaced women and adolescents place on local health systems in places of settlement, including an analysis of the resources and capacity required to meet such needs and rights;

–  Analyse whether and how health systems respond to, compromise or deny sexual and reproductive needs and rights for displaced women and girls in places of transit, settlement and return;

–  Co-develop with health service researchers, local and regional stakeholders a ‘Comprehensive Healthcare Model’, proposing concrete changes at local (public) health system level to deliver gender-responsive and rights-based services;

–  Co-develop and implement with key local stakeholders (including associations of women and adolescent girls, NGOs, and the IOM), strategies for guiding planning for the effective delivery of displaced women and adolescent girls’ sexual and reproductive health rights through the construction of a comprehensive guide, that we call AGAPE, which will better assist displaced women in accessing local services, and will help protect them during displacement.


The AGAPE guide will:

–>  Assist displaced women and girls to identify SRH challenges in processes of transit and abode

–>  Guide in identifying and accessing SRH services in destinations

–>  Assess barriers to the attainment of their SRHR and how and where to find support and healthcare

–>  Protect from wrongs and harms

–>  Enable self-reliance and movement to durable solution


Research fieldwork and impact activities will be conducted in key places of settlement of women and girls from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in Tapachula, Mexico; Venezuelan migrants in Manaus and Roraima, Brazil, and Norte de Santander, Colombia; and places of return after protracted displacement in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula in Honduras and San Salvador in El Salvador.

The project uses participatory methods and will produce visual and voice recordings of displaced women and girls’ lived experiences of SRH needs and rights, and coping strategies, during their journeys and in places of settlement. A photobook will be created by the displaced women themselves, and a guide for women and girls will be produced to create awareness and assist them in identifying their needs, the barriers to those needs being met, and how to access services.