CARE Research: Culture-Centered Processes of Community Organizing in COVID-19 Response: Notes From Kerala and Aotearoa

Check out our latest research article published in Frontiers journal.

Title: Culture-Centered Processes of Community Organizing in COVID-19 Response: Notes From Kerala and Aotearoa New Zealand by Prof. Mohan Dutta, Christine Elers and Pooja Jayan, CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation, Massey University

Overview: The culture-centered processes of community organizing drawn on the case studies of community organizing in Communist Kerala and in Iwi-led Māori checkpoints in settler colonial Aotearoa New Zealand foreground the vital work of alternative practices of health response, serving as the basis for robust alternative imaginations amid the pandemic.

Here is the link to the full article –
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcomm.2020.00062/full#h9

#CultureCenteredProcesses #CommunityOrganizing #COVID19Response #Kerala #Aotearoa #NewZealand #CCA #CAREMassey #CARECCA #MasseyCJM #MasseyUni

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CARE White Paper Issue 9: Relocating the Health of Transgender Sex Workers in Singapore from the Margins: A Culture-Centered Approach

While there is high visibility of LGBT advocacy in Singapore, transgender[1] persons comprise a small, marginalized portion of the community, an even smaller proportion of which tend to go into sex work at a young age for various economic, social and cultural factors. Transgender sex workers (TSW) in Singapore comprise a marginalized community that has been identified by health authorities as one that is high risk of HIV/AIDS and other STIs, as with cisgender[2] female sex workers. They are further marginalized for their status as sex workers in an Asian society where sex outside of marriage is considered deviant behavior (Banerjee, 2000; Allard K Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, 2015). Sex work for transgender persons embodies an array of vulnerabilities ranging from income instability and health insecurities to everyday experiences of discrimination and communicative inequalities in articulating the problems faced by transgender sex workers (Perez-Brumer, 2016). Neoliberal state laws and policies in Singapore acknowledge that while sex work cannot be eradicated as this may force the activities underground and encourage organized crime, sex trafficking and public health risks (Singapore Parliament Reports), these laws do not deem sex work itself as illegal, but criminalize sex work-related activities such as soliciting, pimping, and owning brothels (Misc. Offences Act Art 19; Women’s Charter Art 146; Women’s Charter Art 148). Migrant sex workers are increasingly vulnerable, and may face arrest, fines, deportation and bans from the state for 3 years or more (Immigration Act Art 8(3)(e)(f); Allard K Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, 2015).

CARE COVID-19 Lecture Series-Lecture #10: Uncertainty before, during, and after COVID: Uneven distribution, impact, and management with Prof . Walid A. Afifi

CARE COVID-19 Lecture Series-Lecture #10: Uncertainty before, during, and after COVID: Uneven distribution, impact, and management with Prof. Walid A. Afifi

Thousands of headlines in the past few months alone have referenced the uncertainty that we are going through, and “during these uncertain times” is a part of nearly everything written about the pandemic. However, uncertainty is not new. In fact, it individuals have experienced (and tried to manage) uncertainty since the advent of time, so, what, if anything, makes this pandemic moment unique? Prof. Afifi, a Fellow of the International Communication Association, is among the world-wide leaders in the study of uncertainty. In this discussion, he will overview some of the decades of research on uncertainty across disciplines and geographic boundaries, and reflect on both the uneven distribution of uncertainty across communities and on the implications therein. He will also share preliminary data from a four-wave national study collected in the United States across a three month period spanning early stages of the covid pandemic, and introduce for the first time a framework that identifies four broad coping strategies for community-wide and chronic experiences of uncertainty.

Bio:
Walid A. Afifi (PhD, University of Arizona) is a Professor in the Department of Communication and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He is an author on over 75 articles, chapters, and books, served as Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa (2013-2016), served as Chair (2016-2018) of national Task Force on academic-community collaboration with members of oppressed communities, and is a leading voice in the Communication discipline to create more inclusive spaces. His program of research revolves around uncertainty and information-management decisions and has led to the development and refinement of the Theory of Motivated Information Management. That work has increasingly focused on immigrant communities and/or communities experiencing trauma. He was recently elected as a Fellow of the International Communication Association (the first Palestinian so honored) and recognized by UCSB for “extraordinary commitment to the general growth and development of students and the quality of student life.” He is a proud father to two daughters.

More info on CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation & Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey

#CAREMassey#CARECovidLectureSeries#COVID19#Pandemic
#CAREMasseyNZ#MasseyCJM#MasseyBusinessSchool#MasseyUni

CARE COVID-19 Lecture Series-Lecture #9: Culturally-Centering Socialist Futures in COVID with Prof. Mohan Dutta

CARE COVID-19 Lecture Series-Lecture #9: Culturally-Centering Socialist Futures in COVID with Prof. Mohan Dutta

CARE COVID-19 Lecture Series – Lecture #9: Culturally-Centering Socialist Futures in COVID Transformations with Prof. Mohan Dutta.

Facebook Live stream Link: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/275117623792323

Abstract: In this talk, based on the example of the COVID-19 response in the state of Kerala, Mohan Dutta will examine socialist processes of organizing politics and economics in COVID-19 response. He will draw on the key tenets of the culture-centered approach (CCA) to outline culture-centered principles of socialist organizing of health, economics, and politics.

More info on CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey

#CulturallyCenteringSocialistFutures
#COVID19Transformations#CultureCenteredApproach#CARECCA
#CCA#CARECOVID19LectureSeries#CAREMassey#MasseyCJM#MasseyUni

This is Me: Professor Mohan Dutta

Q & A with Prof. Mohan Dutta by Gabriella Davila, Senior Communications Advisor, Massey University

Staff questions and answers

Professor Mohan Dutta is the Director of global research hub, Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) which relocated to Massey in 2018 from Singapore.  He is also Dean’s Chair, Professor of Communication at the School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing.

His research examines marginalisation in contemporary health/healthcare, health care inequalities, the intersections of poverty and health experiences at the margins, and the political economy of global health policies.

Mohan has received more than $6 million in funding to work on culture-centered projects of health communication, social change, and health advocacy. Working broadly on social change interventions designed to achieve the sustainable development goals Mohan has directed seven documentaries, run more than 20 360 degrees advocacy campaigns, and guided the building of various wellbeing infrastructures from irrigation systems and cultural spaces to health care systems and city design. His impact on global policy-making is evident in his advisory roles with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

He has written and edited 10 books and more than 200 articles and book chapters. Earlier this month, he published the book, “Communication, culture and social change: Meaning, co-option, and resistance” with Palgrave MacMillan. He has previously been recognised as an Outstanding Applied/Public Policy Communication Researcher of the ICA and Outstanding Health Communication Researcher of the National Communication Association). Earlier this month he was named a Fellow of the International Communication Association

Can you tell us about your childhood?

I grew up in a middle-class family in a town called Kharagpur in West Bengal, in the eastern part of India in a family of teachers, union organisers, Left party workers, and activists. My childhood in many ways was very simple but also enriching, surrounded by people that were engaged in wanting to make change in the world.

I also grew up in what’s called in India a joint family which is quite similar to the concept of whānau in Aotearoa. We had this one house where two of my dad’s sisters and seven brothers all lived together with my grandmother who was the matriarch and played a key role in holding the family together. I was brought up with 18 cousins and it was quite beautiful in terms of this idea of a collective and a broader whānau caring for each other. This collective played a big role in terms of my own learning and support because when I got a scholarship to go study in the US, for instance, even just arranging the flight ticket didn’t just fall on my dad. My uncles and cousins all chipped in to pay for that money and that is how the broader collective is organised.

What did you like learning when you were a child?

My interests were pretty wide ranging. I loved sciences very much and I did my undergraduate degree in engineering. I really loved maths, physics, biology, and at the same time I also loved English, geography and history.

Learning happened for me inside the classroom but also outside of the classroom and I learned being on picket lines with say an uncle or being a street performer. When I was around 11 or 12, I started performing in many street plays with the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) and often the plays were held at protest marches. When I was growing up, India had strong spaces of resistance against The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). And those were great moments of learning because they taught you in terms of the power of a broader collective and building registers for change against the individualising logics of neoliberalism.

Can you tell us about your most inspiring teacher and why?

My eldest uncle was the headmaster of the local school and I learned a lot witnessing how transformative his impact was, certainly not just in the small little community but in the broader township where we lived and his ability to touch lives.

I had another uncle who was a maths teacher and a union organiser. Early in the mornings on the weekends, children of many different ages would come to our house or sit down with him and learn in an open space. I think that those moments taught me that teaching can be transformative, it can create pathways of mobility for others, and it can make a big difference in society.

How and when did you decide what your career would be?

After I completed my undergraduate engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), I realised I didn’t want to continue with engineering and instead I wanted to do something that had to do with human beings and connecting with them and interacting with them.

It seemed to me that in very disenfranchised communities, the challenge of wellbeing was not one of developing engineering and more technical solutions, but really a challenge of communication in terms of how to communicate and where communities can have a voice in creating policies and solutions that address their needs.

I think that interest in wanting to develop a pedagogy of voice and how those communities have a say was the turning point. I realised that my training as an agricultural engineer at an elite Indian university that produces technology leaders (many CEOs and technopreneurs across the globe are IIT graduates) was quite limited because it didn’t really teach you how to work with the communities that you wanted to develop solutions for. Communication was and is often the missing link, when you consider the challenges of poverty, health and wellbeing, clean drinking water, decent work, inequality and justice outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals.

In one sentence can you describe the purpose of your present position?

I am the Director of Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) and what we do as a collective of researchers, community organisers, activists and communities, is to develop methods of communication and radical democracy so that communities can have a voice and really, have a say in the policies and solutions that are created, and in defining the futures that they would like to live in.

How did you decide to relocate CARE to New Zealand?

CARE’swork is with very disenfranchised communities and there can sometimes be some significant challenges when working within specific authoritarian contexts such as Singapore, neo-fascist India under the Modi regime, or China. Certainly, the Center was up against some significant state pressures when working with rights of low-wage migrant workers and questions of poverty in Singapore.

After pushing against the system and the structure for six years, I was at that point thinking what could this look like if CARE was in a system that was more aligned with its values and philosophy.

We had a number of choices in terms of whether to move the research centre to the US, and whether to move to some other parts of Asia such as Hong Kong, but New Zealand was really appealing because of the confluence of the politics and the ethics of care in the country.

Do you believe that what you do changes people’s lives?

Absolutely. I want to say this with humility, that as an academic who works on communication for social change, one learns very quickly that change takes a long time. It also takes a lot of commitment, not just in terms of one’s role as an academic but I think the commitment of people and communities and other researchers and activists to make change happen.

Having said that, I think that we have a lot of evidence that what we do actually impacts lives and contributes to better outcomes of health and wellbeing. For instance, when you witness our work in rural India in very disenfranchised indigenous communities living in extreme poverty, CARE’s work has translated into building sources of clean drinking water. These communities would otherwise have to dig deep into the ground and get water through a filtering process. In those contexts, we work on developing community democracy to get access through development structures and institutions to clean drinking water.

We work with people on developing methods of advocacy and activism and this very idea of community democracy succeeds in very tangible ways. From designing development infrastructures rooted in democracy to designing hospitals, cities, and health care systems that are anchored in social justice, CARE makes real impact in people’s lives. Also, our work in communities is not episodic. Instead, these are sustained interventions developed through a commitment of a lifetime.

What do you like doing when you’re not working?

Fatherhood brings much joy and meaning in my life. Debalina [wife] and I have three children and we hang out with them, take them places and play with them. That really takes up the rest of the time outside of work. I am privileged and blessed being a father and really enjoy it.

Source: Gabriella Davila, Senior Communications Advisor, Massey University.

The Stiletto Project: A culture-centered co-creative journey with transgender sexworkers in Singapore

posted by Mohan J. Dutta ,CARE Director on July 08, 2020

Link to the CARE White Paper – Issue 9: Relocating the Health of Transgender Sex Workers in Singapore from the Margins: A Culture-Centered Approach

The Stiletto Project, a communication platform, co-created by an advisory group of transgender sexworkers, emerged out of an ongoing relationship between CARE and Project X, South-east Asia’s leading transgender sexworker advocacy organization.

The Stiletto Project showcases the role of participatory communication processes in creating openings for community voices at the “margins of the margins.” 
As an advocacy and activist intervention, the Project emerges from a culture-centered process that works with transgender sex workers (TSWs) in Singapore through advisory groups, in-depth interviews, focus groups, a community-wide rights-based health intervention,  a pre-post survey in the community, and a national-level pre-post survey to identify the problems transgender sex workers face with health, violence, ageing and other affected areas of their life, as well as to implement policy-based advocacy solutions to health and wellbeing.

In 2014, the CARE team initiated a collaboration with Project X to reach out to local transgender sex workers and to form an advisory group of transgender sex workers. The task of the advisory group was simple: to come up with a list of key issues they wanted to work on and to crowdsource the solutions they propose to these issues. 
In 2016, they collaborated to produce a media campaign to create awareness of issues that they faced, the most salient one being stigma and discrimination.

The project went into production in late 2015, with the CARE team developing a website housing health information relevant for this community, based on strategies identified by the community. In addition to the digital component of the campaign, the peer leaders began reaching out to the community to deliver a health intervention in the form of postcards designed for TSWs, by TSWs.

The Stiletto Alliance worked through the framework of the CCA to develop solutions to health and wellbeing rooted in the experiences of community members. 
Challenging the traditional notion of campaigns usually targeting the transgender community with safer sex messaging, The Stiletto Alliance focused on developing infrastructures for community-responsive health information (sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy) resources and implementing communicative strategies for addressing discrimination and stigma.

Culture Centered Approach blogspot:

The Stiletto Project: A culture-centered co-creative journey with transgender sexworkers in Singapore


CARE Covid19 Lecture Series #8: Using data to design, refine, implement, and sustain health risk communication programs for responding to pandemics with Dr Gary L. Kreps

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series #8: Using data to design, refine, implement, and sustain health risk communication programs for responding to pandemics with Dr Gary L. Kreps

CARE COVID 19 Lecture Series
Lecture 8: Using data to design, refine, implement, and sustain health risk communication programs for responding to pandemics with Dr Gary L. Kreps, Ph.D., FAAHB, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Communication Director, Center for Health and Risk Communication, George Mason University

Facebook Livestream link:
https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/259328568842831/

Abstract:
Evaluation research is desperately needed to provide the evidence needed to guide effective prevention, preparation, and response efforts for countering the deadly effects of pandemics, such as COVID-19! We need to conduct surveillance research (such as epidemiological research) to monitor impending health risks, disseminate the latest surveillance data about health risks to policy makers, first-responders, and affected publics, using research to guide evidence-based health risk reduction efforts. Research should guide mobilization of essential risk response resources and personnel, determine needed education and training activities, and guide the implementation of relevant public policies and programs to prepare for pandemics. When pandemics do hit, we need good data to guide development of coordinated treatment and mitigation programs, including designing relevant communication efforts to inform, persuade, and enforce the best evidence-based health risk response activities. These risk response efforts must be carefully monitored and evaluated to identify what is working and what is not when responding to pandemics, to guide needed refinements to health risk programs and policies. Needs analysis research must examine the nature of health risks, identify who is at risk, and suggest what can be done to reduce their risks. Audience analysis must guide appropriate communication with key at-risk populations, especially by actively engaging members of these populations to participate in developing and implementing appropriate response programs. This presentation will examine the best evaluation research strategies for guiding effective communication and response efforts for pandemics to reduce risks and save lives!

More info on CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation website: https://www.massey.ac.nz/care/

#CAREMassey#CARECovidLectureSeries#COVID19
#Sustainability#HealthRiskCommunicationPrograms#Pandemics
#CAREMasseyNZ#MasseyCJM#MasseyBusinessSchool#MasseyUni

CARE News: Professor Mohan Dutta named ICA Fellow

Professor Mohan Dutta has been named a Fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA)


Professor Mohan Dutta.

ICA is an international association which aims to advance the scholarly study of human communication by encouraging and facilitating excellence in academic research worldwide. Fellow status is a recognition of distinguished scholarly contributions to the broad field of communication, and is based on a documented record of scholarly achievement.

Professor Dutta, Dean’s Chair Professor and Director, Centre for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), says the honour is humbling.

Based on his work on healthcare among indigenous communities, sex workers, migrant workers, farmers, and communities living in extreme poverty, Professor Dutta has developed a framework called the culture-centred approach that outlines culturally-based participatory strategies of radical democracy for addressing unequal health policies. The culture-centered approach centres the voices of communities at the global margins.

“I see this as a recognition of the work of the culture-centered approach (CCA) in crafting out solidarities with communities at the margins in addressing entrenched injustices globally. The voices and struggles of disenfranchised communities for social justice forms the foundation of this work that our community-activist-advocate-researcher teams have been carrying out over the last two decades.

“Now more than ever, amidst racist processes of marginalisation, structural attacks on the poor, depletion of democratic spaces, challenges of climate injustice, and a pandemic that is further disenfranchising the poor and the working classes, I see the CCA as an anchor for a communicative register for care and equality across global struggles at/of the margins,” he says.

Professor Dutta has received over $6 million in funding to work on culture-centered projects of health communication, social change, and health advocacy. Professor Dutta has directed seven documentaries, run over twenty advocacy interventions, and guided the building of various wellbeing infrastructures from irrigation systems to health care systems. He has written and edited ten books and over 200 articles and book chapters. He has previously been recognised as an Outstanding Applied/Public Policy Communication Researcher of the ICA and Outstanding Health Communication Researcher of the National Communication Association (NCA). 

Professor Dutta will travel to the United States to receive a plaque during the ICA presidential awards ceremony in May 2021.

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series #7: Reshaping Our Political Horizons in Aotearoa New Zealand: Imagining and Creating a Different Future in the Wake of COVID-19

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series #7: Reshaping Our Political Horizons in Aotearoa New Zealand: Imagining and Creating a Different Future in the Wake of COVID-19 with Dr Sue Bradford

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series #7: Reshaping Our Political Horizons in Aotearoa New Zealand: Imagining and Creating a Different Future in the Wake of COVID-19

Facebook Livestream link:
https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/2967330713385426/

CARE COVID 19 Lecture Series
Lecture 7: Reshaping our political horizons in Aotearoa New Zealand: Imagining and creating a different future in the wake of COVID with Dr Sue Bradford, Community Educator with Kotare Research and Education for Social Change in Aotearoa.

Facebook Livestream link: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/2967330713385426/

Abstract
The health and economic impacts of the covid pandemic have spun our world on its axis. What was ‘normal’ before the covid crisis hit is unlikely to ever be the same ‘normal’ again. In this contribution to the discussions taking place across progressive left communities at present, I will explore some of the opportunities I see opening in front of us to imagine together a vision for this country which moves us not only post-covid but also post-capitalism and post-colonialism; and to share some ideas about how we might invigorate our work within and across some of the sectoral, geographical, academic/activist and other differences which too often divide and weaken our efforts. On its own, imagining a better future is never enough, although a vision that inspires is essential to creating change. We also need to make the most of this historic moment to think together, strategise and act in ways that will strengthen and expand our programmatic and organisational horizons.

Bio: Dr Sue Bradford, Community Educator with Kotare Research and Education for Social Change in Aotearoa, former longtime unemployed workers’ rights activist and Green MP (1999 – 2009).

Dr. Sue is CARE’s first #ActivistInResidence at Massey University

More info on CARE Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/

#CAREMassey#CARECovidLectureSeries#COVID19
#ReshapingPoliticalHorizons#Aotearoa#NewZealand
#CAREMasseyNZ#MasseyCJM#MasseyBusinessSchool#MasseyUni

CARE Read-In: “End the Hate” Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Come and join us for this open for all online-event at CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation for CARE Read-In: “End the Hate” Solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

Date: Monday, 8th June @ 6PM NZST via Zoom

To Participate in the Read-In on Zoom click on the link: https://massey.zoom.us/j/97659469324

Note: The Waiting Room will open 10 minutes prior to the broadcast

Facebook Live Link: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/posts/3769401759742868

About the event: “#EndTheHate” is a campaign co-created by a community of indigenous, migrant, and refugees in Aotearoa New Zealand. In solidarity with the voices of #BlackLivesMatter activists across the globe, we welcome you to this performative reading on racism, police violence, incarceration, and Whiteness. Through this co-creative reading, we hope to build a discursive register for voices that seek to dismantle the racist structures of White supremacy. Please join with essays, poems, stories as we create together registers for dismantling Whiteness.

#Solidarity #BlackLivesMatter #EndTheHate

#CAREMassey #MasseyCJM #MasseyUni

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series Special Live Presentation: Resistance, Poetry and Voices Under COVID-19: Imagining and writing new futures

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series Special Live Presentation: Resistance, Poetry and Voices Under COVID-19: Imagining and writing new futures

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series Special Live Presentation: Resistance, Poetry and Voices Under COVID-19: Imagining and writing new futures

Facebook Livestream link:
https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/2916683465078666/

Poet Teng Qian Xi and Center for Culture Centered Approach to Reseach and Evaluation Director Mohan J Dutta will discuss resistance, poetry, and the intersections between the two. Drawing on her experience of publishing politically critical poetry as a teenager, her longtime engagement with the Singaporean poetry and activism scene, and her experience of teaching literature and creative writing, she will discuss the potential and limitations of poetry as a form of resistance in Singapore under COVID-19. She will also share her perspective on how she thinks poetry and activism can complement each other to offer more just and compassionate narratives around which we can build our lives and societies.

Teng Qian Xi’s poetry has appeared in several anthologies and journals, including Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia (2007), Language for a New Century (2008) and Speaking for Myself: An Anthology of Asian Women’s Writing (Penguin India, 2009). Her poetry collection, They hear salt crystallising (2010), was shortlisted in 2012 for the English-language category of the Singapore Literature Prize.

Her translations of Tan Chee Lay’s poems have appeared in Some Kind of Beautiful Signal, published by Two Lines Press (2010), and online journal Asymptote. She has taught literature at the School of the Arts and Raffles Girls’ School, and is now a full-time private tutor specialising in A-level Literature. She has also given creative writing workshops at the Creative Arts Programme, the School of the Arts and Raffles Girls’ School.

She was born in Singapore, and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Comparative Literature and Society.


Research Roundtable Communication Inequalities and Discursive Erasures – The Fate of Migrant Labour during the COVID-19 Crisis in India- Prof. Mohan Dutta, Massey University


Facebook Event:https://www.facebook.com/events/177930590264625/

Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad presents
Research Round Table Online

Communication Inequalities and Discursive Erasures: The Fate of Migrant Labour during the COVID-19 Crisis in India
by Prof. Mohan Dutta, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University, New Zealand
Monday, June 01, 2020 / 12:00 PM

Abstract: COVID19 makes visible the deep inequalities that are written into the extremely neoliberal cities of the twenty-first century. The imaginaries of “smart” “future” and “digital” that punctuate the propaganda infrastructures of postcolonial urbanism are disrupted by narrative accounts of lived struggles with sustenance and survival at the subaltern margins. In this talk, drawing on my ongoing ethnographic work with the subaltern margins of urban India, and more specifically from in-depth interviews conducted with low-wage migrant workers expelled into the highways of death amidst the lockdown, I will theorize the normalization of hyper-precarity, discardability and death of the poor into the neoliberal propaganda infrastructure. Finally, drawing on the culture-centered approach, I will theorize the possibilities of a Left radical imaginary anchored in organizing hyper-precarious workers.

Mohan J Dutta is Dean’s Chair Professor of Communication. He is the Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), developing culturally-centered, community-based projects of social change, advocacy, and activism that articulate health as a human right. Mohan Dutta’s research examines the role of advocacy and activism in challenging marginalizing structures, the relationship between poverty and health, political economy of global health policies, the mobilization of cultural tropes for the justification of neo-colonial health development projects, and the ways in which participatory culture-centered processes and strategies of radical democracy serve as axes of global social change.

Meeting ID: 949 6306 7484
Password: rrto@mohan

The CARE Papers: International Communication Association (ICA) 2020

Professor Mohan Dutta and the CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation team present their papers for the 2020 International Communication Association (ICA Official Page)

Facebook Premiere Video: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/1165578763784918/

The CARE Papers: ICA 2020

Professor Mohan J Dutta and the CARE team present their papers for the 2020 ICA Conference

Posted by CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation on Friday, 29 May 2020

CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation is proud to share that our social impact in the communication field further complemented by the theoretical and empirical impact.

This year at ICA 2020 – 70th Annual Conference, #CAREMassey has 21 (approximately) papers/panels/presentations slotted. This is a great achievement for CARE which is made possible by the contributions of CARE’s hard working staff and dedicated researchers all across the globe, who have worked collectively to achieve this brilliance. Here are some of the paper presentations at this year’s ongoing 70th ICA Virtual Conference.

Check out the list of a few papers on our website
https://www.massey.ac.nz/~wwcare/2020/05/18/care-ica-2020-70th-annual-ica-virtual-conference/

#ICAHDQ2020#ICA2020#CAREMasseyPapers#MasseyUni#CAREMassey#MasseyCJM#NewZealand#CultureCenteredApproach

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series #6: Harnessing Distributed Wisdom and Practice-Based Evidence: The Positive Deviance Approach

CARE COVID-19 Lecture Series: #6 – Harnessing Distributed Wisdom and Practice-Based Evidence: The Positive Deviance Approach

CARE COVID 19 Lecture Series – Lecture #6: Harnessing Distributed Wisdom and Practice-Based Evidence: The Positive Deviance Approach

Facebook Livestream link: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/521984861829201/

Professor Arvind Singhal, from The University of Texas at El Paso will be speaking about Harnessing Distributed Wisdom and Practice-Based Evidence: The Positive Deviance Approach. Positive Deviance (PD) is a novel approach to individual, organizational, and social change based on the observation that in every community there exist certain individuals or groups whose uncommon behaviors and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers, while having access to the same resources and facing worse challenges The PD approach has been systematically employed in over 50 countries to address a wide variety of complex social problems, including
• Decreasing malnutrition and infant and maternal mortality in Vietnam and Pakistan
• Reducing school dropouts in Argentina and in the U.S.; and
• Reducing hospital-acquired infections in the U.S. and Colombia.

Driven by data, the PD approach turns upside-down the normative ways of conducting expert-driven needs assessment and gap-analysis, and follows a systematic process of uncovering cost-effective and culturally appropriate solutions from within the local community.

Read more about Prof. Arvind Singhal and Positive Deviance 

Positive Deviance Books, Articles, and Cases Downloadable at NO cost on the links below

Three Positive Deviance books

FIVE CASE STUDY Positive Deviance Binder

  1. Combating Malnutrition in the Land of a Thousand Rice Fields
  2. Will Ramón Finish Sixth Grade?
  3. Saving Lives by Changing Relationships
  4. Sunflowers Reaching for the Sun
  5. Will Rahima’s Firstborn Survive Overwhelming Odds

PD TEDx Talk  https://youtu.be/n-NAvN-PLW0


 

About CARE COVID19 Lecture Series:
In this lecture series, we will cover the various aspects of health communication within the context of the COVID19 pandemic. From strategies of risk messaging, to community organizing, to systems of governance, to processes of structural transformation, we will explore the ways in which communication is constituted by the crisis and in turn, constitutes the crisis. Anchored in the key tenets of the culture-centered approach (CCA), the series will draw on lectures, conversations, and workshops with community organizers, activists, academics, and policy makers across the globe.
More info on CARE Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/
#CAREMassey #CARECovidLectureSeries #COVID19
#HarnessingDistributedWisdom #PracticeBasedEvidence #ThePositiveDevianceApproach
#CAREMasseyNZ #MasseyCJM #MasseyBusinessSchool #MasseyUni

CARE @ ICA 2020 – 70th Annual ICA Virtual Conference

CARE is proud to share that our social impact in the communication field further complemented by the theoretical and empirical impact. This year at ICA 2020- 70th Annual Conference, CARE has 21 (approximately)papers/panels/presentations slotted. This is a great achievement for CARE which is made possible by the the contributions of CARE’s hard working staff and dedicated researchers all across the globe who have worked collectively to achieve this brilliance.

CARE would like to congratulate and wish you the best for the upcoming ICA Conference in May 2020.

New Frontiers of the Culture-Centered Approach: Interventions Disrupting Structures.
Chairs(s): Christine Elers (Massey University) and Pooja Jayan (University)
Discussant(s): Mohan Jyoti Dutta (University)

Culturally Centering Indigenous Voice
Christine Elers; Mohan Jyoti Dutta; Pooja Jayan; Phoebe Elers; Terri Te Tau

The Culture-Centered Approach for Voice Infrastructures: The Poverty Is Not Our Future Campaign
Steve Elers; Phoebe Elers; Mohan Jyoti Dutta

A Culture-Centered Approach to Health Intervention Amid Farmer Suicides in India
Ashwini Falnikar; Mohan Jyoti Dutta

Navigating Health in Low Income Suburban Sites: A Cultured-Centered Project in Aotearoa New Zealand
Phoebe Elers; Terri Te Tau; Mohan Jyoti Dutta; Steve Elers; Pooja Jayan

Meanings of Health Among Migrant Indian Nurses in New Zealand
Pooja Jayan; Mohan Jyoti Dutta

Digital Media, Racist Networks of Hate, and Power
Mohan Jyoti Dutta

Decolonizing Epistemicide: When Subaltern Communities Own Knowledge Production Infrastructures
Mohan Jyoti Dutta

Land, Space and the Constitution of Poverty in Suburban Aotearoa New Zealand
Phoebe Elers; Mohan Jyoti Dutta; Steve Elers

Health Misinformation: A Global Threat
Chairs(s): Mohan Jyoti Dutta (Massey University)

A Culture-Centered Approach to Health Intervention Amid Farmer Suicides in India
Ashwini Falnikar; Mohan Jyoti Dutta

A Community-Based Heart Health Intervention: Culture-Centered Study of Low-Income Malays and Heart Health Practices
Satveer Kaur; Mohan Jyoti Dutta; Munirah Bashir

Meanings of Health Among Migrant Indian Nurses in New Zealand
Pooja Jayan; Mohan Jyoti Dutta

Theorising Māori Health and Wellbeing: Voices From the Margins
Christine Elers; Mohan Jyoti Dutta

Hindutva 2.0, Digital Transformation and the Re-Imagined Nation
Bipin Sebastian; Mohan Jyoti Dutta

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series-Lecture #4 : COVID, Freud & the Small House at Allington

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series-Lecture #4 : COVID,Freud & the Small House at Allington with Dr. David Hill, M.D, Health Hub Project, New Zealand

Lecture#4:
COVID,Freud & the Small House at Allington
with Dr. David Hill, M.D, Health Hub Project, New Zealand


CARE COVID 19 Lecture Series Lecture 4: COVID, Freud & the Small House at Allington with Dr. David Hill, Health Hub Project, New Zealand
Facebook Livestream link: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/287868709275072/

Abstract: The Covid pandemic has shown how fragile our illusion of superiority is. It has exposed the failure of our systems to cope with a pandemic, failures driven by policies that have created vast inequalities and inequities in our societies. It has also demonstrated how we use language and the psychology presentation and the use of language to represent truth. The Victorians in their novels, from Dickens, to Trollope and George Eliot used prolix and obfuscation to avoid talking about sex and sexuality, just as Freud focussed on behaviours and their sexual representations so do our current politicians use the same tools of prolix and obfuscation to hide truth and promote self interest and the interest of the oligarchs at the expense of the people they represent.
Health and health care have been used as a political tool for years and it is only at times like this that its vulnerability becomes apparent. The health system is controlled by dysfunctional bureaucracies that do not reflect the psychosocial progress of our society and the need for grass roots movement to renew and deepen our democracy. We cannot change what we do unless our organisations change to reflect our social world. They must be flexible, agile and able to listen, sense and respond to their communities. The presentation will discuss ways this can be achieved.

About CARE COVID19 Lecture Series:

In this lecture series, we will cover the various aspects of health communication within the context of the COVID19 pandemic. From strategies of risk messaging, to community organizing, to systems of governance, to processes of structural transformation, we will explore the ways in which communication is constituted by the crisis and in turn, constitutes the crisis. Anchored in the key tenets of the culture-centered approach (CCA), the series will draw on lectures, conversations, and workshops with community organizers, activists, academics, and policy makers across the globe.

More info on CARE Facebook: @CAREMassey & @healthhubprojectNZ

#CAREMassey #CARECovidLectureSeries #COVID19 #HealthHubProjectNZ
#Freud #SmallHouse #Allington #CAREMasseyNZ #MasseyCJM #MasseyBusinessSchool #MasseyUni

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series- Lecture #3: Prejudice and Covid-19: National Similarities and Differences

CARE COVID 19 Lecture Series Lecture 3: Prejudice and Covid-19: National Similarities and Differences with

Prof. Stephen Croucher, Head – School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing, Massey University

Lecture#3:
Prejudice and Covid-19: National Similarities and Differences with Prof. Stephen Croucher, Head-School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing Massey University

Abstract:
The Covid-19 outbreak has brought increased incidents of racism, discrimination, and violence against varied minority groups: “Asians” in the United States and many European nations, “ultra Orthodox Jews” in Israel, “Jews” in the Palestinian state, and “foreigners” in some European nations. In the US for example, since January 2020, many Asian Americans have reported suffering racial slurs, wrongful workplace termination, being spat on, physical violence, extreme physical distancing, etc., as media and government officials increasingly stigmatise and blame Asians for the spread of Covid-19. Thus, using integrated threat theory (ITT) as a framework, this discussion explores how prejudice has manifested during the Covid-19 crisis with various minority groups being blamed for virus and its spread. In addition, the discussion will report on preliminary results of an ongoing multi-national study examining prejudice and Covid-19 in the US, Spain, Italy, and New Zealand.

About CARE COVID19 Lecture Series:
In this lecture series, we will cover the various aspects of health communication within the context of the COVID19 pandemic. From strategies of risk messaging, to community organizing, to systems of governance, to processes of structural transformation, we will explore the ways in which communication is constituted by the crisis and in turn, constitutes the crisis. Anchored in the key tenets of the culture-centered approach (CCA), the series will draw on lectures, conversations, and workshops with community organizers, activists, academics, and policy makers across the globe.
More info on CARE Website: https://www.massey.ac.nz/~wwcare/
#CAREMassey #CARECovidLectureSeries #Prejudice#COVID19 #MasseyUni

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series Lecture#2: Building & sustaining equality with Prof. Mohan Dutta

Lecture#2: Solidarities among communities, activists, unions, movements and academics: Building & sustaining equality with Prof. Mohan Dutta, Director CARE

Facebook Livestream link – https//www.facebook.com/events/224911882146831/

Abstract:
What does the practical work of building infrastructures for communicative equality look like? COVID19 has made visible the entrenched inequalities across the globe that are systematically erased. Moreover, its trajectory as well as the interventions created to address it have further exacerbated inequalities within societies. In this backdrop, what does the ongoing work of building and sustaining communicative equality look like? This talk will outline the concept of solidarity as a framework for organizing relationships among academics, activists, unions, movements, and communities. It will argue that solidarity works as a de-centering anchor, one that destabilizes the hegemonic categories of knowledge production, instead placing the labour of theory work amidst the struggles for equality. Based on the various forms of activist interventions carried out by CARE, I will examine the various strategies for building and sustaining solidarities, focusing on the necessary work of transforming the academe amid COVID19.

About CARE COVID19 Lecture Series:
In this lecture series, we will cover the various aspects of health communication within the context of the COVID19 pandemic. From strategies of risk messaging, to community organizing, to systems of governance, to processes of structural transformation, we will explore the ways in which communication is constituted by the crisis and in turn, constitutes the crisis. Anchored in the key tenets of the culture-centered approach (CCA), the series will draw on lectures, conversations, and workshops with community organizers, activists, academics, and policy makers across the globe.
More info on CARE Website: https://www.massey.ac.nz/~wwcare/
#CAREMassey #CARECovidLectureSeries #CommunicativeEquality #COVID19 #MasseyUni

Time Magazine says:’ Singapore Was a Coronavirus Success Story—Until an Outbreak Showed How Vulnerable Workers Can Fall Through the Cracks’

BY HILLARY LEUNG  APRIL 29, 2020 Article Source: https://time.com/5825261/singapore-coronavirus-migrant-workers-inequality/

SINGAPORE – APRIL 18: Migrant workers can be seen in the Cochrane Lodge II, a purpose-built migrant workers dormitory that has been gazetted as an isolation area on April 18, 2020 in Singapore. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)

Since mid-March, Asadul Alam Asif has watched nervously as Singapore reported more and more COVID-19 cases in migrant workers’ dormitories like the one where he lives.

The 28-year-old Bangladeshi technician counted himself lucky each day that nobody was infected in his housing block, where around 1,900 workers reside in cramped conditions that make social distancing impossible. To relieve congestion, Asif’s company rehoused some people, which left half of the 16 bunk-beds in his small room empty.

But then, one day last week, seven people in Asif’s dorm tested positive.

He received a text message instructing all residents on the fifth and sixth floors—including him—not to leave their rooms.

“All of us slept very late that night, like 1 or 2 a.m.,” he told TIME by phone. “We were all so worried.”

Asif is one of the more than 200,000 foreign workers living in Singapore’s dormitories, where often 10 to 20 men are packed into a single room. Built to house the workers who power the construction, cleaning and other key industries, these utilitarian complexes on the city-state’s periphery have become hives of infection, revealing a blind spot in Singapore’s previously vaunted coronavirus response.

As of April 28, these dorms were home to 85% of Singapore’s 14,951 cases.

Singapore Prime Ministers announcement: Singapore Extends Coronavirus Lockdown for Another Month

https://time.com/5825261/singapore-coronavirus-migrant-workers-inequality/?playlistVideoId=6151208575001

“The dormitories were like a time bomb waiting to explode,” Singapore lawyer Tommy Koh wrote in a widely circulated Facebook post earlier this month. “The way Singapore treats its foreign workers is not First World but Third World.”

As the coronavirus continues its insidious spread, Singapore’s outbreak suggests the danger of overlooking any population. Even when containment efforts appear to succeed in flattening the curve, keeping it that way remains a difficult, relentless endeavor.

“If we forget marginalized communities, if we forget the poor, the homeless, the incarcerated… we are going to continue to see outbreaks,” says Gavin Yamey, Associate Director for Policy at the Duke Global Health Institute. “This will continue to fuel our epidemic.”

A healthcare worker dressed in personal protective equipment collects a nasal swab sample from a migrant worker for testing for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus at a foreign workers’ domitory in Singapore on April 27, 2020. (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Essential workers

The world’s estimated 164 million migrant laborers are particularly vulnerable both to the disease and to its economic fallout. Their risk of infection is compounded by factors like overcrowded living quarters, hazardous working conditions, low pay and often limited access to social protections.

“Migrants are likely to be the hardest hit,” says Cristina Rapone, a rural employment and migration specialist at the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

For undocumented workers, the threat of the virus is even higher. “They might not seek healthcare because they may risk being deported,” Rapone says.

In the Gulf, a wealthy region dependent upon blue collar labor from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa, the virus has also ripped through migrant worker housing. Figures from Kuwait, the U.A.E. and Bahrain suggest the majority of cases have been among foreigners, many of whom live in unsanitary work camps, the Guardian reports.

Migrant workers with insecure, informal or seasonal jobs also tend to be among the first to be let go in a crisis. When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hastily announced an impending nationwide lockdown in March, hundreds of thousands of internal migrant workers suddenly found themselves unemployed and homeless, forced to flee the cities en masse. The arduous journeys back to their villages—some reportedly walking as much as 500 miles—were made worse by the stigma of being seen as both patients and carriers of the virus.

Indian migrant workers from the Indian state of Maharashtra walk along a National Highway 44 to reach their hometowns during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus on the outskirts of Hyderabad on April (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)

“There is increasing risk that migrants returning to rural areas face discrimination and stigmatization, because they are said to be carrying or spreading the virus,” says Rapone. FAO staff in Asia and Latin America have reported such cases, she adds.

Yet the spread of the coronavirus has also revealed just how much of the “essential work” depends on migrants, from the medical sector to deliveries to the global food supply.

In the U.S., about half of the farm workers are undocumented immigrants, according to the Department of Agriculture. Classified as essential workers, they continue to toil in fields, orchards and packing plants across the nation, even as much of the economy is shut down. Limited access to healthcare, cramped living and working conditions, and even a reported lack of soap on some farms can put them at high risk of contracting the virus.

“Globally, we’re very dependent on migrants to fill up jobs that are absolutely essential to sustain our economies,” says Mohan Dutta, a professor who studies the intersection of poverty and health at Massey University in New Zealand. He adds that health authorities need to do more to protect them.

A ‘hidden backbone’

Singapore’s outbreak highlights what can happen if some of the lowest paid and most vulnerable people in society go unnoticed during the health crisis. After reporting single-digit daily caseloads in February, the island nation of 5.6 million now has the highest number of reported COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia.

This month, cases began surging past 1,000 per day, and almost all the patients were migrant workers.

“The government was really focused on fighting COVID-19 on two battlefronts: community transmission and imported cases,” says Jeremy Lim, co-director of global health at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. “But it overlooked the vulnerabilities of this third front that’s now glaringly obvious to everyone.”

Singapore’s 1.4 million foreign workers make up about one-third of the country’s total workforce, according to government figures. Most of the low-wage workers are from India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China and other countries.

Advocacy group Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) calls them the “hidden backbone” of Singapore society.

“Everything you see as development, [like] the building sector, the marine sector—all this depends very, very much on migrant workers,” says Christine Pelly, an Executive Committee member of TWC2. “Their contribution permeates throughout society in a very necessary and essential way.”

Migrant workers, Dutta adds, are an invisible community in Singapore. Their dormitories are located on the outskirts of the city and on their rest days, they congregate in districts like Little India and Chinatown, where ethnic food shops and money remittances are located. Due to fear of losing their jobs, many do not complain about their living and working conditions.

“Not only are they unseen, but their voices are also unheard,” says Dutta.

A migrant worker wearing protective face mask has his temperature checked by a security guard before leaving a factory-converted dormitory on April 17, 2020 in Singapore. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 140,000 lives and infecting more than 2 million people. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)

TWC2 says it has spent years trying to call the government’s attention to the cramped and dirty dormitory conditions that now pose a grave public health threat. Government regulations stipulate that each occupant be allotted 4.5 square meters (about 48 square feet) of living space, meaning that rooms for 20 people can be as small as 960 square feet, while facilities like bathrooms, kitchens and common rooms are shared.

Some dorms now have hundreds of cases. One of them, the sprawling S11 complex, has over 2,200. Nizam, a 28-year-old Bangladeshi, moved out of S11 after his roommate tested positive earlier this month. He was transferred to a quarantine center.

“One hundred and seventy people share [a] common washroom, kitchen and the room where we eat,” the construction worker says. “Everything is shared. That’s why the virus is spreading like that.”

Besides the dormitories, rights groups have also sounded the alarm on the trucks that ferry migrants to and from work in the gleaming city center. Workers, usually about a dozen or more, are typically packed shoulder to shoulder in the open backs of lorries.

Pivoting strategies

Singapore is scrambling to neutralize the ballooning crisis by locking down the dorms and trying to space out residents.

“This is Singapore’s largest humanitarian public health crisis ever. So the logistics of moving thousands of people, feeding and separating them is not at all straightforward,” says Lim, who also volunteers to help migrant workers.

Around 10,000 workers have been moved out of their dormitories and into vacant housing blocks and military camps. Medical personnel have been stationed at dorms to carry out “aggressive testing,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an April 21 address.

Dormitory residents have been instructed to stop working. The government has said employers must continue to pay their migrant workers during that period, and that testing and treatment will be free.

While workers are being provided three meals a day and free wifi, they are completely dependent on handouts. Workers TIME spoke with say they have not been allowed to leave their dorms, not even to buy groceries or other necessities.

Their treatment also contrasts with the four and five-star hotels that the government has paid to house Singaporeans returning from overseas, fueling criticism of further inequities.

A warning from Singapore

As migrant workers endure the brunt of Singapore’s outbreak, observers say the situation should serve as a reminder for other countries to pay attention to vulnerable residents, especially those for whom social distancing is a luxury.

“They need to be spread out, but they also need to have access to basic infrastructures like ventilation, clean toilets, adequate supply of water, adequate cleaning supplies,” says Dutta, the New Zealand professor.

Seeking to blunt the economic repercussions of the pandemic, many countries are now rushing to restart their economies. Several states in the U.S. have started reopening this week, while in Germany and France schools and businesses are making plans to resume.

But Dutta cautioned against loosening restrictions before ensuring vulnerable groups have access to basic sanitation and decent accommodation. Infections among marginalized communities, if not properly contained, could increase the risk for the entire population, he warns.

“Inequalities are the breeding grounds for pandemics,” he says. “Countries absolutely have to learn [from Singapore] before it’s too late.”

Article & Image Source:
https://time.com/5825261/singapore-coronavirus-migrant-workers-inequality/

CARE Covid19 Lecture Series-Lecture #1 : Communicative Equality & Covid19

CARE COVID 19 Lecture Series Lecture 1 : Communicative Equality and COVID 19 with Prof. Mohan Dutta

Live Stream link- https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/239562410577249/

The first lecture of the series, delivered by Dean’s Chair Professor and Director of CARE Mohan J. Dutta, will examine one of the key concepts of the culture-centered approach, communicative equality. We will explore the ways in which communicative equality plays out amidst COVID19, materializing the fault lines of the pandemic and offering radically transformative anchors for re-organizing human health and wellbeing.

About CARE COVID19 Lecture Series:
In this lecture series, we will cover the various aspects of health communication within the context of the COVID19 pandemic. From strategies of risk messaging, to community organizing, to systems of governance, to processes of structural transformation, we will explore the ways in which communication is constituted by the crisis and in turn, constitutes the crisis. Anchored in the key tenets of the culture-centered approach (CCA), the series will draw on lectures, conversations, and workshops with community organizers, activists, academics, and policy makers across the globe.
More info on CAREMassey Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/239562410577249/
#CAREMassey#CARECovidLectureSeries#CommunicativeEquality#COVID19#MasseyUni

Press Release: CARE AND HOME: New Study On Covid 19 Behaviours Reveals Systemic Challenges Low Facing Wage Migrant Workers Exprience

The Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) at Massey University is partnering with the migrant rights NGO Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) to jointly release the second white paper on the health of low-wage migrant workers in Singapore to understand the realities of the affected workers better. The study was conducted by CARE and draws on 101 usable survey responses. The white paper outlines the specific challenges experienced by the migrant workers in staying safe, such as practising responsible social distancing, and offers recommendations for solutions.  Please click the link for the joint release statement. The white paper is available below.


CARE News: Researchers reveal COVID-19 concern for Singapore’s migrant workers

Article Source: Massey News

Researchers from the Centre for Culture-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) have uncovered Singapore’s large migrant community is experiencing clusters of COVID-19, due to cramped migrant worker dormitories.


An image of a worker from CARE’s migrant worker project in Singapore. Copyright CARE.

Professor Mohan Dutta has been conducting a digital ethnography (participant observations and informal interviews) in Bengali and English, supported by in-depth interviews with low-wage migrant workers. His research has found, although the dormitories are now in lockdown, the workers are unable to maintain physical distancing because of the cramped living conditions, leading to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Professor Dutta, who has been interviewed by The Guardian and the South China Morning Post about the issue, says the workers expressed anxiety about the rapid pace with which the outbreak was unfolding in their dormitories. Singapore’s Ministry of Health reported 1111 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, making a total of 9125, with the migrant worker dormitories emerging as the epicentres of the outbreak. Some 1050 of the 1111 new cases reported on Tuesday were among work permit holders residing in dormitories.

“My earlier work conducted with Singapore’s low-wage migrant workers highlighted the poor living conditions and food insecurity they experienced. These conditions, alongside the lack of worker rights and the absence of spaces for workers to voice their demands, are breeding grounds for the pandemic,” he says.

Singapore has 200,000 workers who live in 43 dormitories across the country, the largest of which holds 24,000 men. The dormitories have been declared isolation units by officials, making them more crowded than usual as only essential workers may leave. 

One participant in the study noted they were unable to keep a one-metre distance from one another as their room has 20 people living in it. Another worker said, “They are saying you need to do those things, washing hands and not go outside together. There’s no point when there are so many workers in a room.”

 The CARE research team is currently conducting a follow-up quantitative study exploring everyday experiences of health and wellbeing among low-wage migrant workers. The initial findings of this study, conducted with 100 low-wage migrant workers, further crystallise the qualitative findings regarding overcrowding, poor toilet facilities and lack of water. The study also reveals overarching feelings of fear and depression among the workers.


An image of workers from CARE’s migrant worker project in Singapore. Copyright CARE.

CARE is a research centre that uses participatory and culture-centred methodologies to develop community-driven com­munication solutions, and has been responding to COVID-19 through its community advisory groups, community workshops, and community researchers.

“The communities we have been working in have been creatively developing a wide range of interventions, community-based resources for support, community-driven advocacy and activist solutions addressing the political and economic challenges foregrounded by COVID-19,” Professor Dutta says.

CARE is also working with 27 communities in rural West Bengal to develop self-organised networks of mutual care. The community advisory group networks have identified the most in-need households in the communities, and have developed culturally-centred food packages (rice, potatoes and daal, considered staple food in this part of India) to be delivered to the most at-need households. The centre is also responding to the distribution of fake news circulated over digital platforms, with community advisory groups working with community researchers to debunk disinformation.

In New Zealand, CARE has developed a network of community support in Highbury, Palmerston North, to address the needs of community members at the “margins of the margins”. It has identified the most in-need households in the communities and developed culturally-centred food packages to meet community needs. The advisory group meets digitally to develop strategies and solutions.

CARE also created the Manawatū Health Information Hub to provide information and raise key information gaps in the community. The information gaps uncovered so far include the availability of testing, financial support and pricing, and have shaped CARE white papers, contributing to its advocacy work. Currently, CARE is collaborating with the Health Hub Project New Zealand to develop a culture-centred, community-grounded framework for community testing.

CARE White Paper Issue 8: Structural constraints, voice infrastructures, and mental health among low-wage migrant workers in Singapore: Solutions for addressing COVID19

Structural constraints, voice infrastructures, and mental health among low-wage migrant workers in Singapore: Solutions for addressing COVID19

Mohan J. Dutta Director, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research & Evaluation, Massey University

Responding to the continued rise in COVID19 clusters in migrant worker dormitories in Singapore, and building on earlier research (See CARE White paper Issue 6), this White Paper reports on the findings of a survey conducted with low-wage migrant workers in Singapore. In addition to the poor living conditions highlighted earlier, the structural constraints on preventive behavior are explored. Drawing on the key tenets of the culture-centered approach, the research highlights the powerful role of structural factors such as arrangements of dormitories, the absence of hygienic conditions because of the structures, the lack of clean toilets, pressure on limited toilets, and scarcity of water. The findings highlight the challenges to mental health and wellbeing experienced by the workers. Moreover, it points to the absence of voice infrastructures, and the ways in which this absence contributes to conditions that are rife for the pandemic. Solutions for structural solutions and voice democracy are offered.

CARE NEWS: Singapore’s cramped migrant worker dorms hide Covid-19 surge risk says The Guardian

City-state has been lauded for its comprehensive measures but officials have been accused of overlooking key group


 Foreign workers wearing protective masks queue for free meals in Singapore Photograph: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Singapore, praised for its gold standard approach to tracing coronavirus cases, is facing a surge in transmission linked to its cramped migrant workers’ dormitories, where thousands more infections are expected to emerge.

The health ministry reported 728 new cases on Thursday, the biggest rise in a single day, as medical teams raced to test and isolate workers living in vast dormitory blocks.

While Singapore has been lauded for its rapid and comprehensive approach to contract tracing, officials have been accused of overlooking the dormitories, where thousands of workers live in close quarters and between 12 and 20 men might share a single room.

In March the campaign group Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) urged officials to make plans to protect workers, warning: “The risk of a new cluster among this group remains undeniable.” Authorities are resorting to moving men to multi-storey car parks, military camps and floating hotels in an attempt to reduce crowding.

Mohan Dutta, a professor at Massey University in New Zealand, who has interviewed 45 migrant workers in Singapore since the outbreak began, said many feared an outbreak was inevitable due to the conditions.

“Participants told me that even up until Monday they don’t have access to soap and adequate cleaning supplies,” he said. While migrants were being served food so that they did not use shared kitchens, the quality of meals was poor and lacking in nutrition. In some cases 100 men were sharing five toilets and five showers.

Nine dormitories, the biggest of which holds 24,000 men, have been declared isolation units by officials, while all other buildings accommodating the city-state’s 300,000 workers have been placed under effective lockdown. The restrictions, an attempt to reduce further transmission, have left the dormitories even more crowded than usual as only essential workers are permitted to leave.

One construction worker, from Bangladesh, told the Guardian there were long queues to use shared bathrooms which often did not have enough water for the showers or toilets to function.

No one in his dormitory had yet tested positive, he said, but some people had temperatures of 38C. “In my room and other rooms also there are many [with] symptoms, some feel [they have] no energy, someone has body aches,” he said. “We are frightened.”

Foreign workers are seen outside their dormitory rooms at Cochrane Lodge II in Singapore Photograph: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

The government said it had increased cleaning services in the dormitories, which are usually privately operated, and was providing meals to workers and moving people to alternative accommodation.Advertisement

Professor Dale Fisher, a senior consultant in infectious diseases at Singapore’s National University Hospital, said medical teams had moved from hospitals to test people on site quickly. “If we don’t stop it there the hospitals will get overwhelmed.”

It was likely that thousands more cases would be discovered, Fisher said. “[The men] are all 30 to 40 years old, which is good, but still when you’re dealing with these massive numbers you’re going to get a good number of sick 30 to 40-year-olds.

“The risk [relating to migrant worker dormitories] is completely different and the preparation and the anticipation wasn’t there.

“The message to other places is, if you have an overcrowded setting it is just so vulnerable,” Fisher said, pointing to slum areas in countries such as India. “When people say India’s shutdown has been extended – I can’t think of anything other than shutting down. It’s like the only defence you’ve got.”

The second wave of cases in Singapore has brought the total number of infections to 4,427 including 10 deaths. Fisher said he was not aware of any fatalities among migrant worker clusters but these typically were not recorded until a later date.

Singapore’s migrant workers, who are largely from India and Bangladesh, are an essential part of the work force. Many toil for long hours on the country’s construction sites, building its skyscrapers and shopping malls, so that they can send money to relatives back home.

It is not uncommon for workers, who have temporary contracts and are dependent upon their employers for work permits, to be paid less than promised. Workers might be promised as much as S$1,200 per month, but typically receive anything between S$500-750, according to Dutta. The workers pay large sums in agency fees to work in Singapore and are often reluctant to complain for fear of being deported.

Workers’ dormitories are on the outskirts of the city-state, which, Dutta said, “makes them in many ways invisible to the landscape of Singapore”.

Article Source

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/17/singapores-cramped-migrant-worker-dorms-hide-covid-19-surge-risk#maincontent

CARE White Paper Issue 7: April 2020- Culture-centered community-led testing

Culture-centered community-led testing

by Gayle Moana – Johnson, CARE – Community Research Assistant and Mohan J. Dutta, Director,Center for Culture – centered Approach to Research & Evaluation Massey University

In this white paper, the community advisory group in Highbury, working with community researcher Gayle Moana-Johnson, developed the key conceptual guidelines for culture-centered community-grounded testing. The white paper highlights the key concepts anchoring the partnership between the community advisory group and the clinical team at HHPNZ

This white paper outlines the key principles of culture-centered community-led testing that are voiced by the advisory group of community members in Highbury, anchored in the principle of representing the most “in-need” members of the community (referred in the rest of this white paper as the “margins of the margins”). The key ideas in this white paper are developed as anchoring principles for the partnership between the community advisory group and the Health Hub Project New Zealand (HHPNZ).

CARE White Paper Research News – Coronavirus: Singapore migrant worker dormitories still hot topic as Covid-19 cases rise

A migrant worker looks out from a window of his Singapore dormitory. Photo: AFP

Published: 14 April 2020 by Kok Xinghui and Bhavan Jaipragas,
South China Morning Post

  • The island nation’s authorities have corrected course after appearing to be caught off guard by the logistical scale of quarantining nearly 200,000 workers
  • But their living conditions, care and the quality of food provided have remained controversial points of discussion

Singapore’s army of migrant workers remains in sharp focus amid expectations that a surge in Covid-19 infections in the tightly packed mega-dormitories that house them will continue in the short term, even as locally transmitted cases among the rest of the island state’s population show signs of easing.

The health ministry on Monday night announced 386 new confirmed infections – the highest daily surge so far. 280 of the new cases were foreign workers. With the latest increase, some 40 per cent of the country’s current total of 2,918 cases are work permit holders employed in low-wage jobs shunned by locals, such as construction.

Authorities have rapidly corrected course after appearing early last week to be caught off guard by the scale of logistical work required for them to quarantine the nearly 200,000 workers who live in 43 dormitories across the country.

Even so, accounts from activists as well as a prominent migrant rights researcher who conducted online interviews with dozens of the quarantined workers suggest improvements are needed to help them get through the isolation period.


Singapore migrant workers under quarantine as coronavirus hits dormitories

All dormitory residents are currently barred from leaving their accommodation, while the residents of eight of these dormitories cannot leave their rooms amid tighter restrictions owing to community transmission in their buildings.

In the latest move, Singaporean officials are gearing up to move some healthy workers from their dormitories to floating accommodation on vessels typically used by employees of the country’s marine and offshore sector.

The government has also announced plans to house some of these healthy workers in empty public housing flats, military camps, and multistorey car parks and void decks in public housing estates currently under construction. Military personnel, including doctors and logistics staff, have been deployed to the dormitories.


A view of the S11@Punggol foreign worker dormitory in Singapore. Photo: EPA

National development minister Lawrence Wong, the co-chair of the country’s Covid-19 ministerial task force, in a Facebook post on Sunday said community transmission in the country as a whole was moderating. Singapore is under a month-long partial lockdown described by the government as a “circuit breaker”.

But “the number of work-permit and dormitory-related cases has increased sharply, and this is likely to continue going up, especially as we undertake more aggressive testing of workers at the dormitories”, he wrote.

“As I had shared earlier, we have a comprehensive strategy to take care of our foreign workers and contain the virus in the dorms. This will take some time, but we are going all out to tackle this.”

Jeremy Lim, an adjunct associate professor with the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said the latest data showed the contrasting situations of local residents and foreign workers.

“The government was focused on the Singapore population and left the worker measures to the dormitory operators and employers. This, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, was insufficient; the [dormitory] operators and employers couldn’t cope and hence the challenges faced now,” said Lim, who also chairs the medical services committee at HealthServe, a non-profit organisation offering health services to migrant workers.

The living conditions of workers in the dormitories – a subject of heated debate last week – remains a national talking point. The Ministry of Manpower came under fire last week after reports of some of the dormitories’ filthy conditions, which were exacerbated by the quarantine as all residents were indoors throughout the day.

Some workers – many of whom cook their own meals despite their long hours – also complained about the quality of food catered for them.

Since then, cleaning has been considerably stepped up, according to media releases by the ministry. It also released video interviews of the workers saying conditions were better, while photos circulating online of the workers’ meals also showed a marked improvement.

This Week in Asia understands there are special plans to give the workers a festive cheer on Tuesday to mark the Tamil New Year and the Bengali New Year.


A migrant worker is attended to by personnel from Singapore’s Academy of Medicine. Photo: Reuters

Still, the lockdown conditions are causing a strain on the workers, going by a study by Mohan Dutta, a New Zealand-based professor who has conducted extensive research on Singapore’s migrant workers.

In a white paper published on Monday, Dutta released findings from 45 hours of digital ethnography – or interviews – conducted with the workers online. The 43 interviews in a mixture of Bengali and English were conducted between April 7 and Monday.

Dutta wrote that “multiple participants refer to feelings of depression when discussing their living arrangements”.

Participants also disputed the reported improvement in the quality of food. Some said the price of the catered food was now S$140 (US$99) per month – S$20 (US$14) more than usual – and described the poor fare as “cruelty”.

“Moreover, our advisory group members note that in spite of the media attention to food and the stories about improvement in the quality of food, they are continuing to be served poor quality food,” the University of Massey professor wrote.

Activist Kokila Annamalai, writing on Facebook on Monday, said “despite some improvements, we’re a long way off from doing enough for migrant workers as Covid-19 cases mount in the community”. Based on conversations with workers and rights groups, she flagged several concerns including fears about mass lay-offs; non-payment or arrears of wages; and difficulty in obtaining medical attention for non-coronavirus ailments.

Local migrant worker advocacy group TWC2 has compared the workers’ situation to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, on which 3,711 passengers and crew were quarantined and more than 700 people eventually infected with Covid-19.

“When social distancing in dorm rooms with 12-20 men per room is effectively impossible, should one worker in a room be infected – and he could be asymptomatic – the repeated contact he has with his roommates because of confinement would heighten the risk to his roommates. The infection rate in the dorm could increase dramatically,” the group said.

Luke Tan, the case work manager for the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, said workers who lived in “converted industrial dorms or unlicensed dorms” might be falling under the radar when it came to testing for Covid-19, the availability of protective gear as well as food and salary payments.

“We know sooner or later the authorities will reach them but would it be too late?” he said.

The Ministry of Manpower in a statement on Monday said it had inspected over 600 factory-converted dormitories over the past three days, with minor lapses found in 57 locations.

Elsewhere, an op-ed piece in local Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao about the workers’ current circumstances drew sharp reactions, with the writer questioning whether workers cleaned kitchens and toilets themselves or if they relied on cleaners.

“If personal hygiene habits don’t improve, sanitation standards will not change no matter where they go,” wrote the writer, adding that the government had already done a good job.


Police officers enter the gate of a dormitory compound for foreign workers placed under quarantine to battle the spread of Covid-19. Photo: AFP

Reacting to a Facebook post translating the article, several people voiced their disappointment at that viewpoint, decrying it as “classist”. TWC2 had earlier said that structural constraints such as design of space, density, and the work hours of the workers played a part in the dormitories’ cleanliness. “It’s no use pontificating from a middle-class distance,” the non-profit said.

The embassies of countries with large numbers of workers in Singapore are offering assistance to their respective citizens. A large proportion of the city state’s 981,000 work permit holders are drawn from China, Bangladesh and India.The Chinese embassy in a statement on Saturday said it was “putting the health of Chinese workers living in the foreign worker dormitories as a priority”, adding that it was delivering essential supplies including some 20,000 masks to 1,800 of its nationals.

The High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Singapore, Md. Mustafizur Rahman, in a video address to his country’s nationals working in Singapore, offered reassurances about salary payment, medical benefits and the provision of meals during the quarantine period.

“You should obey all the health measures instructed by the Singapore government, it will be good for you and all of us,” he said.

Additional reporting by Dewey Sim

Article Link: Coronavirus: Singapore migrant worker dormitories still hot topic as Covid-19 cases rise

Source:www.scmp.com

CARE White Paper Issue 6: Infrastructures of housing and food for low-wage migrant workers in Singapore

Courtesy Julio Etchart as part of CARE’s “Respect Migrant Rights” campaign in Singapore

The high incidence of COVID-19 cases in dormitories housing low-wage migrant workers in Singapore makes visible the structural challenges of poor housing and food. Building on CARE’s ongoing work with low-wage migrant workers in Singapore, this white paper presents imaginaries for healthy housing and food voiced by low-wage migrant workers.

CARE OPED: COVID19 – The Time For Communicative Leadership: Lessons from Aotearoa

MOHAN J.DUTTA | 4 APRIL, 2020

New Zealand shows the way


Communicative leadership is anchored in the idea of communication as community, communication as both the primordial source of community, and communication as a resource in manifesting community. Communication forms the infrastructure of community.

Be it in its local manifestation, in its national articulation of a collective identity, or in its global networks in response to crises, community is built on communication.

Communication as communion brings together participants in spaces, creating the basis of shared values, shared meanings, and shared actions. It is through the fundamental work of communication as bridging, as bringing people together, as creating the basis of dialogue, as creating the framework for forming and sustaining relationships that we come to realize communities.

It shouldn’t take a pandemic to make evident the powerful role of communication as constitutive of community, locally, nationally, and globally. Also, it shouldn’t take a pandemic to recognize the urgency of principled communication, one that is anchored in the search for truth, in transparency, in dialogue, and in democracy.

And yet, we are here.

Globally we are in the midst of a pandemic because of communicative failures at multiple layers of leadership across the globe, from authoritarian regimes that worked hard to hide the initial information about the epidemic, to opaque global institutions that are co-opted by the agendas of authoritarian regimes, to neo-fascist political parties that have taken over some of the world’s largest democracies, driven to power by their manipulative campaigns that thrive on hate and division.

The failure of much of global leadership to respond to the pandemic, to develop preventive resources, to create and sustain health infrastructures, and to care for communities is fundamentally the failure of communication.

Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson, globally we are witnessing the implications of communicative failures across nation states. Each of these men have risen to power through the deployment of communication as an instrument of hate.

Trump draws his power from simplistic narratives of the “outsider threat,” which forms the infrastructure of his “Make America Great Again” campaign. It is no surprise then that he finds refuge in the “Chinese virus,” triggering a wide range of anti-Asian incidents of hate in the U.S.

Modi’s popular appeal thrives on the use of hate to prop up an imaginary of a Hindu India, built precisely through the exclusion of its Muslim other. For a political project that was right until the COVID19 outbreak orchestrating the xenophobic exclusion of India’s Muslims through its National Registry of Citizens, it is no surprise that the COVID19 threat would be catalysed to orchestrate Islamophobia.

Driven by the deployment of communication as propaganda, U.S., Brazil, India, and U.K. have witnessed the pitfalls of communicative failure in the backdrop of COVID19. Communication, in its utter ugliness, thrives on circulating propaganda on one hand. On the other hand, it systematically obfuscates the failure in governance, the absence of basic public health and welfare infrastructures, and the abject failure of the state to care for its poor and underclasses.

In the midst of this evident failure in leadership in some of the largest democracies across the globe, it is humbling to witness a model of communicative leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand that is anchored in care, transparent communication, social justice, and democracy.

The face of the New Zealand response is the Prime Minister, a student and adept practitioner of communication as communion.

From the initial days of the sharing of the state’s COVID19 response to the ongoing lockdown that the country is witnessing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears on the screen at least once or twice a day. Her daily briefings to the press are fed through a wide range of broadcast and new media. You witness a leader that takes the care to respond to the most difficult of questions, supported by accurate information grounded in scientific knowledge, and sincerely committed to transparency. If there are questions she does not have the information on, she states so openly and with clarity.

Communicative leadership is transparent, this is one of the first lessons we learn from the response in Aotearoa.

Communicative leadership is evident in the clarity and preparation with which the lockdown was implemented in Aotearoa. Each of the different levels of response to COVID19 were explained with clarity, along with the specific behaviors being recommended in each of the levels. The message with the behavioral recommendation was simple and is repeated multiple times across channels. The Minister of Health and the Director General of Health communicated information clearly about the number of cases, the status of the cases, and the steps being taken to “flatten the curve.” A dedicated Government website communicates the information clearly and with daily updates.

In addition to her meetings with the Press, the Prime Minister draws on her highly popular Facebook live platform to participate in conversations. She takes the time to read questions and directly respond to them, often getting online from home in an informal setting.

Her responses are not mediated by public relations teams or crisis consultants.

This is communicative leadership in action, authentic in its dialogic potential. It is this very authenticity that forms the basis of community, a key part of the Prime Minister’s ongoing message to New Zealanders, to do what New Zealanders do best: respond to COVID19 as a community, caring for each other, and taking care of each other.

Care also forms the basis of a strategy that incrementally moved into the lockdown. An initial level 3 alert gave people an opportunity to prepare, before the level 4 lockdown was implemented. During this period, there was ample communication about the evidence driving the decisions, the basis of the decisions, the explanations for the behaviors being recommended, and the support available to enable the behavior.

Care and social justice form the basis of the Labour-led response strategy in Aotearoa. The lockdown has been supported with state-driven financial support for employees, with paid leave support given to organizations to ensure job security. Similarly, policies have targeted rents to be paid during the lockdown. The Minister of Finance often accompanies the Prime Minister in communicating the financial policies being put into place for support. Anchoring these policies in justice ensures that the rights of workers and low-income communities are at the forefront of the conversation.

The strong presence of Māori culture in Aotearoa shapes the state’s response to kaumātua (the aging members of communities) with care, ensuring their wellbeing is placed at the heart of the response. Communities across Aotearoa reflect this communicative leadership in local spaces, responding with mutual aid and support for each other. Communities of care anchored in mutuality hold up communicative leadership.

That robust democracies are integral to COVID19 response means that there ought to be ample room for plural voices, for questions to be raised, and for evidence to be shared based on experiences in communities to shape a climate of dialogue. In our work at the Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) in Aotearoa, this opening for ongoing dialogue based on community voice is perhaps one of the strongest elements of communicative leadership. Even as we develop advocacy papers based on questions emerging from communities, we often find that the issues we raise have already been addressed at a rapid pace.

Democracies depend on their abilities to listen to the people that own them. We witness in the COVID19 response in Aotearoa this accountability to the people, supporting a flexible infrastructure that is continually responsive to the pandemic and its changing nature.

Certainly there are ongoing challenges as the state responds to the changing numbers and scale of the pandemic. A communicative leadership has the robust capability to respond to these ongoing challenges because it is based on the recognition of the fundamental role of communication in making our communities and in sustaining them.

In an earlier OpEd, I wrote about COVID19 offering us a window into imagining new ways of organizing our communities, democracies, and the earth. Communicative leadership is a key ingredient in this work of imagination.

Article Source: The Time For Communicative Leadership Lessons from Aotearoa

MOHAN J.DUTTA | 4 APRIL, 2020

Follow us on : Facebook: @CAREMassey

Twitter: @CAREMasseyNZ


 

CARE White Paper Issue 4: March 2020

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Package

by Christine Elers (Ngā Hau), Junior Research Officer, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research & Evaluation (CARE)

We are writing about the government’s covid-19 wage subsidy package, in particular:

  • the sick leave payment due to be folded into the modified covid-19 wage subsidy package; and
  • the online publication outlining the names of all employers who have received the covid-19 wage subsidy package.

CARE Expresses Its Solidarity with our Activist-In-Residence Jolovan Wham

CARE’s Activist-in-Residence Jolovan Wham has surrendered himself to serve a 1 week jail sentence today, March 31 2020, for criticising Singapore’s judiciary.

In his statement posted on Facebook, Jolovan voiced:

“I’m doing this in lieu of a 5k fine because I do not recognise the legitimacy of the judgment and the law, both of which are unjust.

It should never be an offence to speak your truth. Decades of oppression and persecution have resulted in the normalisation of fear. It is so normalised that we have become indifferent to injustice, especially political injustice and threats to our civil rights. We have shrugged it off so much that over time, we’ve become numb to it, instead of feeling outraged.

If we can’t speak up, assemble freely, and campaign without looking over our shoulders, the reforms we want can only be done on the terms of those in power. We will have to wait for when they are ready. All this could take years, decades, or never at all. Or we can only pick issues which are considered ‘low hanging fruit.

All the levers of change are controlled and those who don’t follow the script are persecuted. We are so muted, we can only plead, but never make our demands as equals.

Acts of non-violent resistance and disobedience has to be one of the tools we use to open up our already shrinking civil and political space and to empower ourselves. It often starts with one person, or a small group of people, but over time, with persistence and repetition of action, the space will enlarge and we will progress, one step at a time.

We need to speak our truths, and to do so, we should refuse to fear. I refuse to be complicit in the diminishment of my spirit: resistance is no longer a choice in a system determined to de-humanise you.

There should be a role for those who not only negotiate the boundaries but transgress them. Not everyone can take this position and I understand those who can’t because the costs may be high; my privilege, on the other hand, allows me to take greater risks, and for that I am grateful.”

Sharing below an interview conducted by Professor Mohan Dutta with Jolovan on the topic of authoritarian repression and strategies for social change. Also sharing Jolovan’s public talk as activist-in-residence at CARE. CARE stands with you in solidarity, because as you say so eloquently, “Those of us who can risk it, should. Those who can’t, should show their support, because solidarity is the first step to change.”

A Conversation with Jolovan Wham, CARE Activist-in-Residence

Professor Mohan J Dutta sits down with CARE Activist-in-Residence Jolovan Wham about his work in Singapore

Posted by CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation on Monday, 25 November 2019
Public Talk with Jolovan Wham

First World Authoritarianism: Lessons from SingaporeTune in for this exciting public talk with CARE Activist-in-Residence Jolovan Wham!

Posted by CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation on Tuesday, 26 November 2019

CARE OPED: COVID19 – India’s Underclasses and the Depravity of Our Unequal Societies

What COVID19 makes visible


Article: COVID19 – India’s Underclasses and the Depravity of Our Unequal Societies

“It takes a pandemic to render visible the deep inequalities that make up the highly unequal societies we inhabit. As pandemics go, the power of COVID19 lies in its mobility, along the circuits of global capital, picked up and carried by the upwardly mobile classes feeding the financial and technology hubs of capital.

The irony of neoliberal globalization lies in the disproportionate burden of accelerated mobilities borne by the bodies of the poor at the global margins. The poor, whose bodies are the sites of neoliberal extraction, are also the bodies to be easily discarded when crises hit.

The images of throngs of people, the poor, now expelled from their spaces of precarious work at the metropolitan centers of financial and technology capital, spaces that are projected as the poster-models of mobility in development propaganda, walking on the long walk home, are circulating across our mobile screens.

Images of a migrant worker dead after the gruelling walk home, a mother pulling her daughter as they try to make their way home, a young man bursting into tears at the sight of food, a father walking as he carries his sleeping daughter on his shoulders, crowds of workers waiting in long lines to board buses, these are the faces of the unequal India made visible by COVID19.

These images of emaciated men and women, with little children, carrying pots, torn down bags and dilapidated beddings on their heads, walking on the roads and highways that form the infrastructures of the new India are haunting reminders of the masses of displaced people expelled by wars, riots, genocides, and famines.”

By: MOHAN J.DUTTA | 29 MARCH, 2020

Source:https://www.thecitizen.in/

CARE’S COVID-19 RESPONSE

CARE has been responding to COVID19 through our community advisory groups, community workshops, and community researchers. The communities we have been working in have been creatively developing a wide range of interventions, advocacy, and activist solutions. Please click the link below to explore our policy briefs, white papers, and interventions addressing COVID-19 based on the key tenets of the CCA

CARE COVID-19 WHITE PAPERS

CARE White Paper Issue 8

Structural constraints, voice infrastructures, and mental health among low-wage migrant workers in Singapore: Solutions for addressing COVID19

Mohan J. Dutta Director, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research & Evaluation, Massey University

Responding to the continued rise in COVID19 clusters in migrant worker dormitories in Singapore, and building on earlier research (See CARE White paper Issue 6), this White Paper reports on the findings of a survey conducted with low-wage migrant workers in Singapore. In addition to the poor living conditions highlighted earlier, the structural constraints on preventive behavior are explored. Drawing on the key tenets of the culture-centered approach, the research highlights the powerful role of structural factors such as arrangements of dormitories, the absence of hygienic conditions because of the structures, the lack of clean toilets, pressure on limited toilets, and scarcity of water. The findings highlight the challenges to mental health and wellbeing experienced by the workers. Moreover, it points to the absence of voice infrastructures, and the ways in which this absence contributes to conditions that are rife for the pandemic. Solutions for structural solutions and voice democracy are offered.


 

CARE White Paper Issue 7

Culture-centered community-led testing

Gayle Moana – Johnson, CARE – Community Research Assistant and Mohan J. Dutta, Director,Center for Culture – centered Approach to Research & Evaluation Massey University

In this white paper, the community advisory group in Highbury, working with community researcher Gayle Moana-Johnson, developed the key conceptual guidelines for culture-centered community-grounded testing. The white paper highlights the key concepts anchoring the partnership between the community advisory group and the clinical team at HHPNZ

This white paper outlines the key principles of culture-centered community-led testing that are voiced by the advisory group of community members in Highbury, anchored in the principle of representing the most “in-need” members of the community (referred in the rest of this white paper as the “margins of the margins”). The key ideas in this white paper are developed as anchoring principles for the partnership between the community advisory group and the Health Hub Project New Zealand (HHPNZ).


CARE White Paper Issue 6:

Infrastructures of housing and food for low-wage migrant workers in Singapore


Courtesy Julio Etchart as part of CARE’s “Respect Migrant Rights” campaign in Singapore

This white paper responds to the high prevalence of COVID-19 in clusters associated with dormitories that house low-wage migrant workers in Singapore. Based on an ongoing digital ethnography (45 hours of participant observation) conducted in spaces where low-wage migrant workers participate online, 43 interviews conducted between April 7 2020 and April 13, 2020, inputs from advisory group of lowwage migrant workers, and drawing on 157 in-depth interviews conducted since 2013, the following key challenges with housing and food, as well as corresponding key solutions are proposed. Each of the key challenges is presented, alongside specific recommendations for solutions. The participants for the interviews were identified using snowball sampling. The interviews were conducted in Bengali, mix of Bengali and English, or English, depending on the level of comfort of the participant. Given the sense of anxiety expressed by the participants (see theme 7 below), the white paper does not disclose the locations. Also, it does not separate the different forms of arrangements to protect the confidentiality of the participants. The excerpts from the interviews are truncated to protect the identity of the participants. One of the limitations of the current study is the small sample size of the COVID19- specific data gathered between the April 7 and April 13 timeframe; however, the depth of the narratives offer rich contextually-embedded insights into the challenges being experienced by low-wage migrant workers and the potential insights they envision. The CARE research team is currently conducting a follow-up quantitative study exploring everyday experiences of health and wellbeing among low-wage migrant workers.


CARE White Paper Issue 5: April 2020

Challenges To Seeking Health Information And Healthcare Among Low Income Communities Amid COVID19

by Mohan J. Dutta Director, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research & Evaluation, Massey University

The findings reported here are drawn from our advisory group of community members that represent the community in Highbury. The advisory group has been built on the basis of purposive sampling, ensuring that the voices of the “margins of the margins” are represented. The advisory group meets face-to-face as well as on a digital platform. The group is facilitated by two community researchers, recruited from within the advisory group and trained in the fundamentals of interview-based research.


CARE White Paper Issue 4: March 2020

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Package

Christine Elers (Ngā Hau), Junior Research Officer, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research & Evaluation (CARE)

We are writing about the government’s covid-19 wage subsidy package, in particular:

  • the sick leave payment due to be folded into the modified covid-19 wage subsidy package; and
  • the online publication outlining the names of all employers who have received the covid-19 wage subsidy package.

CARE White Paper: Issue 3 April 2020

The limits of the “Singapore Model” in COVID-19 response: Why authoritarian governmentality is not the solution

Mohan J. Dutta, Director, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE)

A wide range of models have been proposed as frameworks for responding to Covid-19. These models highlight
the significance of health communication in preventing the spread of COVID19 as well as in effectively responding to it. The positioning of specific models as solutions to COVID-19 is tied to the creation of actual strategies of response
globally. One such model that has been rapidly disseminated in policy discourse and circulated in articulations of COVID response is the “Singapore Model.” Drawing on the key tenets of the CCA, this paper will examine the premise of the “Singapore Model” as a framework for global health.

The white paper draws on the key tenets of the CCA to examine Singapore’s pandemic response. The CCA foregrounds the interplays of culture, structure, and agency in the constructions of health meanings and the development of health solutions.

Structure refers to the political
economy of organizing resources in society. Culture reflects the community norms, community-based meanings, and community values guiding relational negotiations of health and wellbeing. Agency reflects the relational and collective capacities of communities to develop solutions.


CARE White Paper: Issue 2 March 2020

A culture-centered approach to pandemic response: Voice, Universal Infrastructure, and Equality

Mohan J. Dutta, Director, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE)

The global nodes of spread of Covid-19 highlight the significance of health communication in preventing the spread as well as in effectively responding to it. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Noting the aggressive movement of the virus across countries, with eight countries reporting more than 1000 cases of COVID-19, the WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. Drawing on critical analyses of the pandemic and crises response literatures as well as building on the experiences of CARE in developing culture-centered community grounded interventions,this white paper outlines the culture-centered approach to pandemic response, specifically directed at offering culturecentered guidelines for effective communication. The culture-centered approach foregrounds the interplays of culture, structure, and agency in the constructions of health meanings and the development of health solutions


LIVE interview with Dr. Phoebe Elers on Radio Waatea about Poverty Is Not Our Future campaign

Dr. Phoebe Elers, CARE Massey spoke on Radio Waatea about the forthcoming launch of #PovertyIsNotOurFuture campaign. Waatea News and interviews are broadcasted on all 21 radio stations of the Iwi Radio Network.

LIVE interview on Radio Waatea

Interview with Dr Phoebe Elers on Radio Waatea about the forthcoming launch of Poverty Is Not Our Future campaign. Radio Waatea news and interviews are broadcasted on all 21 radio stations of the Iwi Radio Network.

Posted by Poverty Is Not Our Future on Monday, 10 February 2020

To know more, follow us on our campaign page- Poverty Is Not Our Future or visit CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and… website
#PovertyIsNotOurFuture #Auckland #GlenInnes #CAREMassey #MasseyUni #MasseyCJM #CAREResearch #NewZealand #waateanews #IwiRadioNetwork #NZPol

Culturally-Centering Communication and Social Change: Dalit Development

An informative lecture by Professor Mohan J Dutta about Dalit Development

Culturally-Centering Communication and Social Change: Dalit Development

An informative lecture by Professor Mohan J Dutta about Dalit Development

Posted by CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation on Thursday, 6 February 2020

Professor Mohan J Dutta Dean’s Chair In Communication & Director, CARE, Massey University

Follow us on :Facebook @CAREMassey or click below

https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey

CARE Presents: Of Labor & Love – A Film by Omer Nazir

A recount of the lives of two workers in Indian brick Kilns who are bonded to debt.

Being in debt has become a normal condition in financialised capitalist economies. Student loans, mortgages, credit cards, consumer loans or pay day loans are common. The normalisation and prevalence of debt has produced what noted Italian Marxist theorist Maurizio Lazzarato terms as “indebted man”.

In Western economies, a market exists for debt and is managed by banks or other regulated lending institutions. In developing countries, in addition to the banks; local lenders, including employers or their intermediaries, not only serve the demand for debt, but use the debt to create relations of dependence, producing not simply indebted people, but debt bonded labourers – a form of modern day slaves. The film recounts the life and conditions of two workers in Indian brick kilns who are bonded to the debt owed to their employers, local lenders and to grocers, and in doing so demonstrates the disciplinary effects of debt.

Conceptualized by Craig Prichard, Ozan NadirAlakavuklar & Omer Nazir

Not Part Of My World- An Anti Racism Initiative

Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) @CAREMassey

& Carncot School @CarncotSchool

presents

NOT PART OF MY WORLD – Anti-racism Initiative

NOT PART OF MY WORLD – Anti-racism Initiative by @CAREMasseyNZ & @CarncotSchool.

CARE have teamed-up and worked on an anti-racisim project with Carncot School and here are a few glimpses of the project.

https://youtu.be/14O2JLg-rP4 via @YouTube

#NotPartOfMyWorld #AntiRacism#CAREMassey #MasseyCJM #MasseyUni #CarncotSchool #Aotearoa #NewZealand

Project Synopsis:

Across the globe we see the rise of racism. Especially concerning is the way in which hate is used to produce violence. It is in this backdrop that the Center for Culture Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) collaborated with Carncot School to create a project that
sought to help us understand the problem of racism and more importantly create ways of addressing racism. So it really is my privilege to introduce these short snippets for you
that highlight the work done by the students at Carncot with the support of the principal Dr. Owen Arnst.

What you will see in these videos are the ways in which students think about the world of racism, the world of hate and the dialogues they open up through their invitation to connect
to build relationships and to imagine a better world that is free from hate. What happened as part of this project is that the students worked in small groups to first understand
the problem of racism within the context of their comfort zones.

They thought about their comfort zones and what really makes them feel comfortable within these zones, then they
grappled with the idea of difference, what does it mean to recognize difference and what does it mean to relate to difference. Once they grapple with these two questions of
comfort zone and difference they then created an anti-racist campaign that highlighted this idea that racism has no place in our world.

CARE Director Professor Mohan Dutta participated in a call-in conversation, “Are we racist?” with Jacinta Parsons

CARE Director Professor Mohan Dutta participated in a call-in conversation, “Are we racist?” with Jacinta Parsons at ABC Radio Australia, discussing Black Lives Matter, racism, Whiteness, and the colonizing project.

“As tensions around race and racism boil over in America is it time for Australians to look closer to home?

Image Source: VectorStock

Prof Mohan Dutta is Director of the Centre for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) at New Zealand’s Massey University and he joins Jacinta Parsons and her listeners for a frank and illuminating discussion.

Duration: 24min 43sec
Broadcast: Wed 3 Jun 2020, 12:30pm”

Here’s a link to the dialogue.

https://www.abc.net.au/…/…/afternoons/are-we-racist/12317616