CommUniversity 2022 workshop series, a workshop was held on ‘Community-Based Research in an Emergency Context’ with Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University. workshop organised by OSUN and the Talloires Network showcases university civic engagement approaches (frameworks, strategies, methods, and practices) that have been shown to produce favorable results and that represent a standard suitable for adoption or adaptation. In this workshop, they featured the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), BRAC University’s unique research approach for amplifying community voices in the emergency setting of Cox’s Bazar.
The workshop was hosted virtually via Zoom on Friday, 29 July 2022 at 6:00 PM. The workshop started with Caitlin O’Donnell, who was part of the organizing team, giving a short introduction about CommUniversity and the workshop. Then she hands things over to Shahariar Sadat, Director, Academic and Legal Empowerment, Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University. He facilitated the workshop, and Research Associate Azizul Hoque, Tasnuva Ahmad, Project Officers Shung Thui, and Shahriaz Ahmmed also joined him in the workshop. In the beginning, Shahariar Sadat explained why it is important to be present on the ground to do research. While doing that research, the need to be present, permanently on the ground to build a relationship with the community was felt by CPJ. With this aim, the Refugee Studies Unit (RSU) was established in Ukhiya, within one kilometer of the largest refugee camp in Bangladesh.
The session showcased how CPJ created a Trust Network aimed at Cox’s Bazar Rohingya refugee and host communities to engage people with research activities and strengthen the capacities of local researchers to document knowledge. The session also delineated how local researchers are monitoring social differences, emerging concerns, and people’s perspectives via a WhatsApp Chat Hour and Pod Analysis. The aim of sharing such insights and experiences is to enable the global research community to adapt its techniques and methodology.
After the short introductions of the speakers, Azizul Hoque described the philosophy behind this approach of Research by stating, “one of the biggest philosophies behind this is actually to give the opportunity to the hand of community people so that they can decide, they can define and narrate their own needs and priorities.” Afterward, Tasnuva Ahmed emphasised the fact that doing qualitative research made CPJ’s approach unique. Project officers Shung Thui and Shahriaz Ahmmed also shared their thoughts in this regard.
The research, conducted at RSU is mainly community-based participatory action. The workshop continued as they discussed how they approached the community, what are the tools that they used in the approach, the creation and mechanism of the Trust Network, and how to improve the trust and equity in the respondent and researcher relationship. Even though at the beginning, it was very hard to communicate, after some utilisation of CPJ, The Trust Network became very active. Through their help, the researchers also conducted short capacity-building courses for skill development.
The researchers also answered some questions of the participants spontaneously in this interactive session. By giving a note of thanks to all participants, speakers, and organisers, Manzoor Hasan, Executive Director of CPJ closed the event. He also expressed his gratitude to the researchers of CPJ for their wonderful activities.