About Conference

International Organization for Migration (IOM) and National Institute of Psychology (NIP), Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan, have joined hands to organize International Conference on “Mental Health and Protection of Host and Displaced Afghan Communities in Urban and Informal Settlements” on 11-12 Sep 2023 at PC, Karachi. Conference activities include pre-conference workshop (1st day), keynote/guest speeches, panel discussion, oral and poster presentations from different disciplines on day 2. All activities will be focused to emphasize the impact of displacement and settlement in urban and informal settings on mental health, safety, and protection of host and Displaced Afghan communities to restore predictability and control in their life.


The Conference is an outcome of the recommendations formulated in the previous International Conference jointly organized by IOM and NIP on 13-15 March 2023 about Mental Health of Afghan Migrants: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for All Stakeholders (Go to Link). Experts in the field suggested to take measures to address psychological needs for vulnerable segment including Afghan children, youth, and women and formulate strategies to provide protection and care in emergency situations. As per recommendation, the second international conference (Fostering Empowerment Through Psychological Care, Safety and Protection Among Displaced Afghans) was organized, and took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) on 18-19 July 2023 (Go to Link), a key border crossing area, where Afghans are entering with limited resources and access to basic human needs.

A huge number of displaced Afghans are hosted in different regions across Pakistan. Thus, a 3rd International Conference is planned for Karachi on “Mental Health and Protection for Host and Displaced Afghan Communities in Urban and Informal Settlements”, focusing on issues host communities and Afghans have settled in urban and informal settings, rather than areas near the borders. , In this situation of deprivation and lack of control over circumstances, these communities have safety concerns and , living far away from cultural roots with more language barriers, increase vulnerability to mental health and psychological well-being.


The Conference is aimed at discussing the strategies to design, implement, and evaluate mental health and psychosocial support projects and activities for emergency-affected and displaced populations living in Urban and informal areas. Sharing thoughts, experiences, good practices, lessons learned from existing interventions, and research based on data and work related to displaced Afghans may help in planning:

  • How predictability and control in the life of displaced Afghans can be reinstated in urban and informal settlements?
  • Which methods of psychological care and protection are effective indigenously in urban emergency situations?
  • What protocols are required to be followed in providing psychological help to both host and Afghan communities in urban and informal settings?
  • How implementing partners can be engaged in decision-making processes and designing more informed mental health protocols?


1. Participants of the conference would be able to recognize and articulate the foundation of assumptions, central ideas and dominant issues and challenges to the mental health of displaced Afghan and host communities who are striving together to exact necessities of life in urban and informal settings. The conference will direct the attention of the stakeholders for purposefully weaving mental health into their plans to reach the Afghan and host communities in Sindh region.

2. Participants would know the necessary wellbeing and mental health goals for the Afghan and host communities at individual, community, and country level.

3. Conference activities like guest speeches, keynote speeches, panel discussions, preconference workshop, poster presentations and thought-provoking questions will promote dialogue and learning of the mental health status of Afghans displaced from their homeland.