A Participatory Approach to Create Knowledge and Actions to Improve Immigrants’ Health.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Karina BOGGIO, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
Virginia DE LEÓN, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
Lorena FUNCASTA, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
María CANTABRANA, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
The paper presents a two-year experience of critical university extension at a public primary healthcare center in the Old City of Montevideo. The project has a participatory approach, integrating knowledge and action, to improve immigrants’ health. This process provided the basis for a collaborative research project. In 2016, a group of workers that were concerned with the new immigrant scenario, requested the participation of our Research Group: Human mobilities, work and human rights (CSIC, Udelar). It's important to mention that Uruguayan nation was built on cultural diversity but efforts were directed to get a homogeneous social landscape. Uruguayan cultural identity was consolidated on the narrative of a homogeneous mixture. Recent immigration flows from Latin America have increased. In general, no significant conflicts are identified. Locals have difficulties to reflect on the problematic issues connected to immigration. Immigrants have very few social spaces and opportunities to express discontent. Immigrants get together and become invisible in the city. But they are not invisible for public services workers who deal with their presence. Workers have no specific knowledge or guidelines to understand the experiences immigrants go through. Tension is increasing. The paper reflects on the process of building together this project called “Health and interculturality”, the participation and engagement of the different actors, the challenge of co-producing critical and good-quality knowledge on contemporary human mobilities, interethnic relations and urban conviviality.