Equity in Social Welfare and Global Development Research Group

Our current research projects

The research topics in the group’s project portfolio are varied, yet united by a core interest in questions of equity, social justice and empowerment.

Main content

Food and food work in times of crises: The case of rural South Bohemia

Professor Haldis Haukanes

This qualitative research addresses rural development in South Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the backdrop of ongoing political, economic and ecological/climate induced transformations.  Focus is on production, consumption and sharing of food within and across families, and in the local communities studied. The project builds on research that Haukanes conducted in the 1990s and early 2000s. Three distinct, but interlinked areas are investigated:

  • Families’ everyday food work: changes and continuities over time.  This sub-area focuses on people’s day-to- day food work and its social organisation, including practices of subsistence farming.
  • The sociality of food: sharing and circulation of food. This sub-area addresses practices of food sharing within families and in the community more broadly.
  • Rural development "at large". This sub-area explores policies and discourses of agricultural and rural development.

Experiences of adult children of alcoholics and adult orphaned children of alcoholic caregivers in Botswana: resilience or resemblance

PhD Candidate Refilwe Precious Jeremiah

Alcoholism is a major global health issue that affects many countries including Botswana. Globally, alcohol consumption accounts for 3 million deaths each year, overall alcohol harmful use is responsible for 5.1% of total global burden diseases. Historically, alcohol has been a vital part of Botswana culture. Currently studies indicate that Botswana experiences high level of abstention and episodic heavy drinking, and an HIV/AIDS prevalence of 18%. Alcohol is one of the major contributing factor to social ills that affect families and children such as child neglect, underage drinking leading to school dropout, high risky behaviors that leads to unplanned pregnancies and HIV/AIDS.

Health practitioners in Botswana deal with children who have been through several adversities including living with alcoholic parents and orphanhood (Blevins & Kawata, 2019). These adversities frequently intersect, leaving the child in a complex situation that may be worse (Haverfield & Theiss, 2016). This research will focus on the intersection of these two adversities by exploring experiences of adults who as children lived with alcoholic parents or were orphaned and lived with alcoholic parents / caregivers. Commonly studies focus on risks regarding exposure to these adversities, hence pathologizing the ones at risk (Ungar, 2012).

However, resilience studies show that there are protective factors and resources available for those who face adversities to enable them to adapt to a lesser or greater extent. The study intends to contribute knowledge about resilience among Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoAs) and Adult Orphaned Children of Alcoholic Caregivers (AOCoACs) in the social and cultural context of Botswana. Therefore, the study intends to develop knowledge base on the impact of the intersection of two adversities: alcoholism and orphanhood on the wellbeing of adults who grew up with these challenges. Further, it will explore with adult children of alcoholics and adult orphaned children of alcoholic caregivers how the availability of resources and support influenced their lives.

Reporting in context: An interdisciplinary initiative to strengthen maternal health services and surveillance in Ethiopia and Tanzania

Funded by the Research Council of Norway,  August 2021 – July 2026.

The project is a collaboration between experienced researchers from the University of Bergen, Addis Ababa University, University of Dar es Salaam, and University of Sussex.

The primary objective of this project is to improve the quality of maternal mortality reporting to strengthen the knowledge on which to base remedial action to reduce maternal deaths. The secondary objectives: 1. Investigate systematic differences between how clinical care is delivered and how it is reported in MDSR registries and reviews on health facility level 2. Uncover how reported maternal mortality data is reviewed and managed within the health bureaucracy, and how / to what extent feedback mechanisms work to identify remedial action 3. Investigate legal frameworks surrounding the maternal surveillance and reporting system 4. Develop measures to improve maternal mortality reporting, including measures to enhance the balance between professional accountability and legal protection of health professionals.

Project members from HEMIL: Prof Haldis Haukanes and Prof. Siri Lange

Read more about the project

Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine and Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine for the Chemoprevention of Malaria in Children with Sickle Cell Anaemia in eastern and southern Africa: a double-blind three-arm randomised trial (the CHEMCHA trial)

Funded by the Norwegian Research Council 2019-2024.

Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) is one of the most common inherited disorders in the world: annually, 300,000 children are born with this disorder. Patients suffer repeated ill health and early mortality most often due to severe complications related to hypoxia often precipitated by febrile illnesses. In particular, children with SCA suffer severe complications and much higher mortality if hospitalised with malaria. Thus, in malaria endemic areas, all are prescribed malaria chemoprevention. However, current chemoprevention regimes are either difficult to adhere to or have sub-optimal efficacy. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is showing promise to become the malaria chemoprevention agent of choice for children and pregnant women. However, DP lack the antimicrobial and antiflammatory Properties of SP, and there is some concern that other sick visits than malaria may increase if SP is replaced. At the end of the study, we shall have available comprehensive evidence on the efficacy, safety, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of the two regimes and which will guide regional policy and national guidelines for preventing malaria in children with SCA.

Project members from HEMIL: Prof. Siri Lange

Refugee Resilience

The project / network was established in 2016 and is today linked to the research group Equity in Social Welfare and Global Development at the Department of Health Promotion and Development (HEMIL), and is led by an interdisciplinary research team from various areas of the group's research field, health promotion (Associate Professor Fungi Gwanzura Ottemoller), global development (Professor Marguerite Daniel) and child welfare (Associate Professor Ragnhild Hollekim).

The purpose of the project is to explore factors and processes that strengthen and build resilience when young adult refugees and migrants are to establish themselves and integrate into Norwegian society. We focus on access to relevant information, how good collaboration between different institutions and organizations can contribute to such processes and the involvement of user groups in research.

In connection with the project, a large national and international network consisting of representatives from both the field of practice and relevant academic institutions has also been established with the help of funds from the NFR (cf. PIISTON led by Gwanzura Ottemoller).

From the field of practice, we collaborate with both different parts of the public sector (municipality / state) and the private / voluntary sector, institutions and organizations that work actively with the target group as well as relevant user groups. We have academic partners from Stirling University (Scotland), Western Washington University (USA), and University College Rotterdam (Netherlands) and the German Youth Institute, Munich (Germany).

In 2017, we carried out a pilot project to explore what culture means when young and young adult refugees and asylum seekers have to adapt to a new life in Norway. Under the auspices of the project / network, we currently have research collaboration with both the public sector and other organizations that focus on the target group.

Since 2016, we have had a number of master's students who have written master's theses in connection with this topic, from a wide range of the group's research fields. In 2022, we have applied to NFR for a major research project (WEAK TIES) with a focus on how mentors and mentoring can contribute to successful and sustainable integration into working life for young refugees / migrants.

Youth and the future in times of crises; gendered life visions and vulnerabilities (2014-)

Researcher: Professor Haldis Haukanes

Performed among young Czechs of 17-18 years old living in a small North Bohemian town, the project explores  young people’s dreams and wishes  for the future  in terms of  work/career,  family plans and mobility. The project also aims at getting hold of the youth’s ideas about the future more in general; their dreams, but also their worries and anxieties, and the way that these relate to current European/global economic crises and other global instabilities such as environmental concerns. Theoretically, the project is founded in anthropological and sociological conceptualization of  time, future and the imagination,  and  feminist scholarship on gendered labour market participation, discursive ‘naturalization’ of gendered differences in work,  and the public-private binary. The project is a follow-up study of the project Growing up Global? A comparative study of belonging, gendered identities and imagined futures in the Czech Republic, Norway and Tunisia (Funded by the Meltzerfoundation and Friforsk, UiB, with Marit Tjomsland and Gry Heggli), exploring ways that globalisation influences the dreams and wishes of adolescents in the Western European border areas, and how such globalisation interacts with local ideals for a good and proper life and local gender norms.

The project is funded by Småforsk, UiB, and Meltzerfondet, UiB.

Transforming gender relations? Male involvement in maternal and infant health care in Ghana

PhD candidate Gloria Ampim

The ICPD 1994 recognised the importance of male involvement in sexual and reproductive health as a means to promote the health of men, women and children as well as address constraining gendered influences on health outcomes. Gender could influence women and children’s health through women’s decision-making power in the household, access to economic resources and quality healthcare, and heavy workload within and outside the household. Mid-way through working towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) five, which is concerned with improving maternal health, the international health community realised that the goal was impossible to achieve without involving men as “partners, fathers, husbands, brothers, policy makers, and community and religious leaders” because of their influencing roles in the household and society. Global strategies to involve men have included behaviour change communication campaigns, education and outreach in communities, home visits, and facility-based counselling.

Considering the global and national intensification of male involvement initiatives, this study explores the extent to which male involvement in maternal and infant health care could influence notions and practices of fatherhood as well as challenge dominant social structures in urban and rural contexts.