Greater Boston Migrant Service Providers: Challenges and Connections
A Community-Engaged Needs Assessment and Organizational Network Mapping Project
The regular work of MAP Network involves engaging with immigrant and refugee service providers in the Greater Boston area individually and in group settings to learn more about their work, hear their perspectives on pressing issues in the field, and bring them together for collective problem-solving, collaboration, and community building. Through this work, we have come to learn from service providers in Greater Boston about the challenges they face, as well as what they see as the challenges and benefits from collaboration with other organizations. This project is an attempt at exploring these themes more systematically through a survey instrument distributed to service providers across fields, who work with migrant and refugee populations. The project seeks to answer these questions:
What are the primary challenges for organizations that provide services to immigrant and/or refugee communities in the greater Boston area?
What is the nature of the relationships between organizations in the Greater Boston area that provide services to immigrants and/or refugees?
The project seeks to provide data on challenges faced by various types of migrant service providers in the Boston area, as well as connections among service providers. The purpose of this study is to better understand the challenges that service providers who work with migrant communities in Greater Boston face. The study also aims to map the relationships between these organizations in order to provide insight into the organizational network and flow of information and resources in this field.
The current project is a pilot study, and we anticipate that it will be expanded upon in the future. Given the lack of research in this area, we hope that our findings will make an important contribution and will further the understanding of organizational challenges and networks in the field of immigrant and refugee services.
We started with a participatory project design phase throughout early 2022, which brought together representatives from the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement, IINE, Catholic Charities, Dignity in Asylum, St. Mark's Community Education Program, and others.
After the design phase, the MAP Network team developed a survey and gained IRB (a research ethics governing board) approval through the University of Massachusetts Boston.
We distributed the survey during fall 2022, after which we analyzed the results.
During summer 2023, the MAP Network team has been developing a report of our findings.
In August 2023, we plan to release a draft report and convene a Community Forum of service providers for an action-oriented discussion.
We anticipate that the Community Forum event will help generate potential solutions and action items that will enhance collaborations and strengthen services in the field.
A stronger, more connected, more collaborative network of service providers would result in improved and more holistic services for immigrant, refugee, and asylum seeker communities.
Our goal is that the findings from this project will help us to better support organizations in our community that provide services and advocate for immigrant, refugee, and asylum seeker communities, and provide information that can be used by organizations when seeking funding and other support!
This project is supported by funding from the Boston Area Research Initiative, which supports civically engaged research that leverages data to advance social, economic, and environmental justice in collaboration with the communities of greater Boston. MAP Network is grateful to BARI for their generous support!