March 24, 2022 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Congratulations to Dr. Hala Mreiwed, Assistant Professor – LTA, Childhood and Youth Studies, for being the recipient of a Partnership Engage Grant (PEG), entitled “Peer to Peer Relationships: Participator Action Research” from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) as part of the September 2021 Competition.

Dr. Mreiwed explains the decision to apply for the PEG is to hear from children since she notes that “their voices were not heard, and their participation rights were not always respected during the pandemic.”

The grant will focus on the impact of the loss of peer-to-peer relationships caused by COVID-19 lockdowns on children, the potential power of having these relationships continue during and post-pandemic, and the issues and/or barriers that may arise in the process. This will be examined through Participatory Action Research (PAR), an approach combining theory and practice with action and participation.

The grant is in partnership with the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC), Mindy R. Carter, McGill University (co-applicant) and Laura Wright, University of Edinburgh (collaborator).

The team had noticed decisions were being made for but not by, or with children, especially when it came to school closings and the transition to online or hybrid classrooms. The grant will enable the team to ensure that children have access to diverse resources, support and expertise both during and beyond the project.

In this project, children will be active participants in the research and dissemination of knowledge. Ten children from Ontario and Quebec from grades 7-9 will be leading the research, with adult facilitators/supporters. “As a group, we wanted to hear from children, and we wanted children to lead the research. We know that children have diverse needs and abilities that vary based on their individual contexts. It is essential to ensure that children are able to share their lived experiences and have their voices heard,” says Dr. Mreiwed.

Dr. Mreiwed hopes the project will also positively influence and inform the work of researchers, individuals and groups/organizations working with children or on behalf of children about the power and importance of children’s voices, participation, and the potential impact of peer-to-peer relationships. “There is a lot of research about children but not enough with children. The evidence will also be shared with policy makers and school boards, to name a few, to inform their work and ensure that children are a part of their decision-making processes,” she says.

“This project is a good example of the willingness of faculty members at King’s to share their expertise with community partners and so have an impact beyond King’s itself,” says Dr. Trevor Bieber, King’s Research Facilitator.