Our Community, Our Voice

May 11, 2015

On Thursday May 7th, the SFU Surrey campus hosted the Our-Community-Our-Voice (OCOV) Community Stakeholder Forum. OCOV is a community-based research project, funded by Citizenship & Immigration Canada through the City of Surrey’s Local Immigration Partnership initiative to address the settlement needs and integration of refugees in Surrey.

The Forum, attended by more than 60 people representing local government, community agencies, education and public institutions, came together to discuss and the needs, interests and challenges faced by refugees as they transition to life in Surrey after what is more often than not a traumatic existence in their country of origin.

A key highlight of the day was the introduction of 11 community peer research assistants (RAs) hired for the project, many of whom are recent refugees from Africa, South America and South East Asia. The RAs will ensure the development and implementation of the OCOV project is grounded to the knowledge and expertise that can only comes from having been there.

The OCOV project will play a small but significant role in helping the RAs find their voice, to establishing their own direction forward, and will enable them to support others in their community.

OCOV is as much about the process of capacity building as it is about the results of the research. If you would like to know more about the OCOV initiative, please contact Melissa Roberts,


Our Community, Our Voice

Steve Dooley
Executive Director, SFU's Surrey Campus