Researching the impacts of Covid-19 in The Hague

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is engaged and embedded in the city of The Hague, and enhancing this local engagement is an explicit objective of the current ISS strategy.

The Local Engagement Facility (LEF) fund was set up to encourage and formalize collaboration between ISS and other societal actors in the city of The Hague, including both local communities and formal institutions and organizations.

In relation to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, ISS selected four projects particularly focusing on the impact of Covid-19 and the measures taken on the marginalized or (often) overlooked groups of people. These four projects make use of ISS expertise in development and social justice to inform and impact the lives of people who live on our doorstep.

  • During this Covid-19 period, the Documenting the Undocumented project (DUCCC) aims to engage with direct experiences of migrants, the difficulties they face and solutions they have found, individually and together with others.

    Their experiences can highlight the critical roles played by undocumented workers for all residents in The Hague, and make their struggles more visible: this project provides a window into their everyday lives, from their own perspectives.

    ResearchersHelen Hintjens, Ahmed Pouri, Rachel Kurian, Marie Gillespie


  • Everyday stories of solidarity by members of communities across The Hague are shared in social media displaying resilience, adaptation to, and negotiation of new conditions brought by Covid-19. Yet stories of marginalized populations are not shown as frequently or are put in a negative light.

    This project uses the power of storytelling and collaborative research approaches to unmute conceptual innovations around plural meanings of solidarity, while deploying and testing online qualitative research techniques originally designed under assumptions of physical proximity and body mobility. 

    This project uses the power of storytelling to ensure immigrant and low-income communities are not left behind and to expand the narrative of solidarity responding to the impact of Covid-19 on communities in The Hague.

    ResearchersRosalba Icaza, Aminata Cairo, Zuleika Sheik, Umbreen Salim

  • The measures for the ‘intelligent lockdown’ applied in the Netherlands to contain the spread of Covid-19 affect different segments of society in different ways. For recent migrants, the impacts of these measures may be equal to, or even worse than, the risk of contracting coronavirus.

    Migrants and asylum seekers from Ethiopia and Eritrea comprise a substantial proportion of the recent influx of East African migrants to the Netherlands, with Eritrea amongst the top five countries with a large number of migrants in the country.

    Through collaboration with Council of Refugees in the Netherlands, this project provides insights into the particular experiences of the Eritrean and Ethiopian community in The Hague.

    ResearchersZemzem Shigute Shuka, Binyam Afewerk Demena, Genet Haile Getachew, Yordanos Lassooy Tekle

  • Due to Covid-19, the EADI-ISS conference intended to take place this summer has been postponed to the summer of 2021. It is clear the Covid-19 crisis has had real implications, but it has also fostered a refocus on the implications this has for solidarity between ISS and local organizations in The Hague.

    This project uses the organization of research workshops to explore issues of international development and solidarity, local community issues, and local solidarity practices.

    ResearchersKees Biekart, Sushrutha Vemuri