Family and Community in the Time of Covid-19 (FACT Pakistan)

(May 2020 - )

This research aims to get a better understanding of the complexity of daily life during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and major hub of the outbreak. The Pakistan study is part of an international network of projects in ten countries led by University College London (UCL), all using similar methods and addressing related questions. Partners academic institutions in Argentina, Chile, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan and the United States have also begun data collection. Together the country studies will provide an internationally comparative, longitudinal lens on local responses to a global health crisis. The intention is to investigate the challenges experienced by families, the risks posed to well-being and the steps being taken by families to overcome these risks during these difficult times.

FACT uses innovative online ethnographic research methodology, mainly individual diaries and interviews. By focusing on families, we explore both how individuals respond to public health measures put in place, and how these are negotiated with others in the household and family. We will unpack both inter and intra-household differences, exploring how positionality in the household (such as that determined by gender and age) and access to various forms of capital, shape the ways and means through which individuals can mitigate risk to well-being in the context of a public health crisis such as this. Findings will inform national and local policy responses to COVID-19 as it unfolds, and aid in planning for potential future pandemics.

FACT Pakistan is a collaborative research initiative bringing together experts from three major academic and research institutions in the social sciences in Karachi for the first time. The Collective’s Senior Researcher, Ayesha Khan, is Principal Investigator. Her research expertise lies in qualitative research design, gender justice movements, policy analysis, and sexual and reproductive rights. Co-lead investigator, Dr Faiza Mushtaq, chairs the Social Sciences and Liberal Arts department at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. She is a sociologist who works on gender, social movements and collective action, culture, and qualitative research methods. Co-lead investigator, Dr. Shama Dossa, is Associate Professor of Social Development Policy at Habib University with expertise as a community development practitioner, researcher, and academic with a specific focus on disasters, gender, reproductive health and rights.