SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Only One Home (UnaSolaCasa) Humanity’s Response to the Test of Covid-19

At the end of March 2020, in the midst of the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scalabrinian Missionaries for the Europe and Africa region, through the Scalabrinian Agency for Cooperation and Development (ASCS), have promoted in their regional network of missionary positions and initiatives (Scalabrini International Migration Network - regional SIMN)  through a campaign to raise awareness and funds to primarily support migrants and refugees as "neighbours", who are suffering under the pandemic, due to indifference or marginalisation, despite having, with all other human beings, “only one home”.

Through the network of their pastoral services, projects and programmes across Europe and Africa, the Scalabrinians wanted to stand up on the side of people on the move, who are dispropotionately affected daily by the pandemic and still need to be welcomed, protected, promoted, and integrated (1).

From March to July 2020, the "Una Sola Casa” (Only one home) action-campaign collected donations amounting to around 80,000 Euros. This enabled the campaign to reach and support (mainly with food) over 14,000 people (migrants and non-migrants) in Italy, Europe and Africa (2).

Additionally, by reinterpreting the diversified national and continental situations from the perspective that "we cannot save ourselves" and that, at the local and global levels, "we need each other", ASCS and SIMN’s goal was and is to give substance to the commitment to service already underway and involve more and more actors in being and becoming "one home for all".

The overview of principle reflections by Fr Lorenzo Prencipe, the President of CSER (the Scalabrinian Centre for Migration Studies in Rome), introduces the various Scalabrini Centres recent studies on the impact of Covid-19 on migration and migrants in the world which have been collected into a report (3).

As a result, on the 29th of December 2020, SIHMA’s sister organization, the Scalabrinian Emigration Study Centre of Rome, CSER (Centro Studi Emigrazione Roma) released the publication UnaSolaCasa (OnlyOneHome) (3).

This publication was a collaboration between different Scalabrinian study centres and organisations: CSER; CIEMI – Centre d'information et d'études sur les migrations internationales (Centre for the Study of International Migration) – in Paris, France;  ASCS - Scalabrinian Agency for Development and Cooperation (Agenzia Scalabriniana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo) - in Milan, Italy; SIHMA, our Scalabrinian Institute for Human Mobility in Africa, in Cape Town, South Africa; and SIMN (all of the aforementioned institutes are part of the Scalabrini International Migration Network (Europe and Africa region) called SIMN). 

The publication represents an in-depth piece of research that analyses the dialectic relationship between Covid-19 and migration in Europe and Africa. The studies focused on the local and regional impacts of the pandemic, on the protection of vulnerable minors and families, on international mobility, on migrant labour, and on the re-emergence of xenophobia. 

The topic of SIHMA’s research contribution was the impact of Covid-19 in people on the move in, to and from Africa. The research has developed comprehensive sections for the evaluation of the complex realities and vulnerabilities emerging from the pandemic-related restrictions to local and international mobility. 

Some of the main questions raised in the research are: How did the Covid-19 impact migrants’ education and health in Africa?; How do urban and informal settlement realities manage to follow Covid-19 safety measures?;  What are the implications for migrants’ mental health and for their access to testing and health services?; How do Covid-19-related policies interact with climate change and increasing environmental migration, as well with labour opportunities and the circulation of remittances?; and What is the relationship between forced immobility, migrant criminalisation and xenophobia?

SIHMA’s research was written by Fr Filippo Feraro, James Chapman and our team of researchers and volunteers including Nolwenn Marconnet and Ginevra Gianardi. The research underlines the exacerbation of the pre-existing vulnerabilities that disproportionately negatively affect women and girls, the emergence of new human trafficking routes, and the complex socio-economic issues that are deepening inter-group tensions. The research’s attention also went towards the impact of and response to Covid-19 by Scalabrini projects in South Africa and Mozambique and allowed for the delineation of the operational limitations and unexpected positive outcomes under Covid-19. 

Read the Full Report:



  1. Pope Francis’s four verbs for our shared response to people on the move -
  2. ASCS – Agenzia Scalabriniana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo » Una Sola Casa ( 


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