Research and Training

Focus Groups and Social Inclusion

Focus groups research and reactions to the National Report on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion <link to text>
In 2008, SOS Malta carried out research within the scope of EAPN Malta – a network which it is a member of. EAPN Malta aims to bring together all those with the capacity and the will to eradicate poverty and social exclusion. One of the core roles and functions of EAPN Malta is to seek to influence public policy and national action plans for the eradication of poverty and social exclusion. Main strategies set up by EAPN Malta to fulfil this role and function, include research that adopts a qualitative approach for data collection through focus group interviews with those at the margin of society.
Dr. Frances Camilleri Cassar, SOS Malta researcher, drew up a report documenting the research data emanating from such interviews. The report, often quoting verbatim from the interviews, reflects the drive of EAPN Malta to support the development of existing national strategies for social protection and social inclusion in Malta. Specific populations taking part in the focus group sessions gave an insight into the needs and contradictions faced by persons on the fringe of society. These included widows and widowers, LGTBs, lone mothers, third country nationals, persons outside the formal labour market and ex-convicts. An attempt was made to hold a focus group with persons suffering from terminal illness – however, requests to give a voice to the terminally ill were refused on grounds of privacy and inaccessibility. The focus group meetings were undertaken during June and July 2008. The uniqueness of this research project was that the participants in the focus groups were not their NGO or agency representative, but those persons themselves who face inequality and are at risk of social exclusion.

Based on the outcome of the focus groups, SOS Malta drew up a set of reactions, on behalf of EAPN Malta, to the National Report on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion issued by the Government of Malta. In a 6-page document sent to Minister John Dalli, the network mapped out key concerns and recommendations concerning Social Inclusion in Malta in the hope that the document is revisited and revised before final submission to the European Commission. It said that the National report for social protection and social inclusion in Malta needs to become a more strategic instrument so as to ensure real impact on national policy and on poverty. “This means both piloting and mainstreaming innovative ways of promoting participative democracy and above all investing in participation through ensuring adequate resources for and liaison with relevant non government stakeholders”.


To access the report, click here .


Quick Search