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The Digital Leisure Divide and the Forcibly Displaced - Part 2: Field Research (2023)

Posted on:
November 7, 2023

In this report authors document the evidence on digital leisure in the forced displacement context, highlighting issues unique to that context. This report is a continuation of the desk review, and provides evidence from fieldwork carried out in two refugee shelters in the city of Boa Vista, Brazil – Rondon III and September 13 – at the end of 2021. The report focuses on the main uses and potential benefits of digital leisure in refugee contexts. It brings together evidence from Venezuelan forcibly displaced people with an emphasis on Brazil due to that country’s relevance in the human mobility context within the Latin American region.

"The report aims to inform actors in the government, private, non-profit, and aid agency sectors who are interested in digital inclusion and rights-based solutions for forcibly displaced people. It provides insights about issues of access, privacy, and trust experienced by forcibly displaced persons while using devices and navigating connectivity in their everyday lives. It also explores the opportunities for community-building and local citizenship through content creation and connection with family, friends, and society at large. We reveal how digital leisure fosters unique opportunities for self-realization and shapes specific worldviews through their information practices in digital spaces. The possible livelihoods enabled by digital leisure and the aspirational digital lives of participating Venezuelan refugees and migrants are also explored.

This research project considers the digital leisure divide to be an important aspect of existing digital gaps experienced by forcibly displaced communities. It covers the main infrastructural, cultural, economic, legal, and political limitations that stymie the connectivity of forcibly displaced people...

In terms of digital media use, our fieldwork supports refugees and migrants’ preference for mainstream platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube in this context. This report proposes a typology of digital leisure activities including entertainment, gaming, sex/sexuality/intimacy, content creation, social capital, community voice, and contemporary livelihoods. It incorporates current UNHCR policies, including the agency’s Age, Gender and Diversity Policy as well as community-led guidelines that take a bottom-up approach to refugee connectivity and digital inclusion...

The report offers concrete recommendations to academics, industry, humanitarian organizations, and the public sector on how to leverage on digital leisure as a critical and creative value and resource in the lives of forcibly displaced populations. Through this novel approach, we suggest pathways towards more fulfilling lives and expanded opportunities for people going through forced migration around the world, with a focus on Brazil as a relevant case study."

The PDF below is designed in a two-page width/column format making it a bit difficult to read embedded here. You can download it below.

Summary

In this report authors document the evidence on digital leisure in the forced displacement context, highlighting issues unique to that context. This report is a continuation of the desk review, and provides evidence from fieldwork carried out in two refugee shelters in the city of Boa Vista, Brazil – Rondon III and September 13 – at the end of 2021. The report focuses on the main uses and potential benefits of digital leisure in refugee contexts.
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