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This research aims to gather insights into the complexity of daily life during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and major hub of the outbreak.

We intend 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. The study will use online ethnographic research methodology, using online journaling and interviews. By focusing on families, we will explore both how individuals respond to public health measures put in place, and how these are negotiated with others in the household and family.

The research in Pakistan is related to some of the pressing development challenges faced by the country. These include:

  1. Gender inequality: Restrictions on female mobility, low labour force participation and literacy rates, early and forced marriages, and high levels of domestic violence, are all severe concerns likely to be exacerbated by the lockdown and the long-term socio-economic impact of the pandemic.

  2. Poor governance: Trust in government, widely perceived as corrupt, is necessary but lacking during this unprecedented crisis. Our research will investigate how families perceive the government and which guidance, messaging, and services they rely on during the crisis.

  3. Social marginalization: Karachi is a microcosm of Pakistan's multi-ethnic, religious, and linguistic heterogeneity. Christians and Hindus suffer from social and legal discrimination yet are critical care workers in the health and sanitation sector; labour is deeply segmented by caste; poor migrant communities resist public health measures; illegal migrants lack documentation and education. We will ensure our sample reflects how the pandemic has impacted the security and well-being from as diverse a set of respondents as possible.


Who We Are


Ayesha Khan is Senior Researcher at The Collective for Social Science Research. Her research expertise lies in qualitative research design, gender justice movements, policy analysis, and sexual and reproductive rights. She is currently involved in monitoring and tracking the impact of the pandemic in two concurrent research engagements which will feed into its understanding for this proposed study on family life. Ayesha acts as Principal investigator of this study. 

Twitter: @CollectiveKHI



Dr. Faiza Mushtaq is the Dean and Executive Director of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. She is a sociologist who works on gender, social movements and collective action, culture, and qualitative research methods. She has done research on women’s religious activism in Pakistan, and has examined the politics surrounding the polio vaccination campaign in Karachi and the localized resistance to public health initiatives. 



Dr. Shama Dossa is the Associate Professor of Social Development Policy at Habib University. She will bring to this research her expertise as a community development practitioner, researcher, and academic with a specific focus on disasters, gender, reproductive health and rights. Her work explores the dialectic of theory and practice in community development, and in integrating an intersectional lens in public health policies and programs in the context of Pakistan.

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