Monday, 9 July 2018

Forced Displacement and Mixed Migration in the East and Horn of Africa: Current trends and future directions

Call for papers: Key dates
20 July 2018 - Submission of Abstracts
1 August 2018 - Acceptance Notification
1 October 2018 - Submission of full papers
27-29 November 2018 - Conference held in Mombasa

East and Horn of Africa is a region of diverse opportunities but also experiences various challenges that have made human mobility and displacement a reality for a long time. The region experiences conflicts and political instability and also deals with impacts of chronic poverty and extreme climate variability, all of which lead to different forms of mobility and human displacement. The region plays the dual role of origin and host to refugees and asylum seekers as well as migrants. Latest statistics released by UNHCR indicate that by the end of 2017, there were over 3.2 million refugees originating mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and South Sudan. In addition, there are 5.76 million internally displaced persons within the countries of Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. Mixed migration is on the rise with many travelling to South Africa, Yemen and the Middle East and northward to Europe. Human trafficking and smuggling of persons have defined migratory movements that are mostly irregular in nature. In the recent past, with the crisis in Yemen, the region has seen what can be termed as reverse migration with thousands of Yemenis seeking safety in the Horn of Africa and hundreds of thousands of mainly labor migrants returned to the region from the Middle East. Efforts to provide life-saving assistance, protection, and related humanitarian activities as well as to find durable solutions to this situation continue to be made by governments, international actors and local interventions.

Forced displacement presents a major development challenge in the East and Horn of Africa Region, accounting for some of the world’s most protracted displacement cases with limited prospects for return or self-reliance. In light of this, the “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants”, adopted the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) which provides an imperative to overcome the long-held view of refugees and migrants as a burden to societies while calling for increased solidarity and responsibility sharing in addressing displacement and mobility. It is within this context that the IGAD special summit of 2017 adopted the Nairobi Declaration and its accompanying Plan of Action on durable solutions for Somali refugees (with a much broader reach on solutions for refugees and host communities in the sub region) that further reinforces the commitments made by member states at the Leaders’ Summit in September 2016. The Nairobi Declaration is the regional application of the CRRF which seeks a multi-sectoral approach in dealing with displacement and takes cognizance of the development impacts of displacement on host communities and governments.

Despite the joint efforts, the IGAD region continues to experience significant levels of forced displacement and mixed migration flows. Forced displacement continues to exert strains on regional governments and resources, especially when they become protracted. Refugee settlements and camps as well as most of the migratory routes are often found in areas where communities have low levels of access to social services or economic opportunities. The increased numbers of refugees and undocumented migrants arriving in Europe by boats despite the numerous deaths in the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert is evidence enough to interrogate refugee protection and assistance as well as other forms of migration in and out of Africa. While intervention measures to mitigate and manage forced migration have been put in place, they however remain insufficient especially since most don’t bear in mind the development impacts and realities of displacement and migration. This insufficiency in mitigation can be partly attributed to weak collaboration between knowledge production, policy formulation and practice in the region. The planned conference is therefore an effort to provide a convergence platform for reflections on forced displacement and related migration especially in light of emerging interest by states and the international community to address displacement and migration in a more humane and sustainable manner for both those displaced and the ones that host them.

The horn and eastern regions of Africa are experiencing various developments in the dynamics of forced displacement and mixed migration flows. While there is a wide range of institutional responses to refugees including protection, humanitarian assistance and search for durable solutions, there are also justifiable concerns on problems associated with forced displacement and migration. These are issues of internal displacement, human trafficking and mixed migration flows.
This conference seeks to address several issues. First, enable a scholarly and policy interrogation of the relationship between forced displacement and other forms of migration (Mixed migration flows). Secondly, assess and analyse new knowledge and developments in migration policies and management in the Horn of Africa and the African continent. Third, discuss how these mixed migrations flows influence and are in turn influenced by the political economy of international migration. In discussing these broad dynamics, the conference aims to help in shaping future directions of the forced displacement and mixed migration discourse, interventions and policy in the Horn and East Africa. This is also important in identifying potential avenues for collaboration between policy makers, researchers, international institutions, practitioners and governments in their pursuit to address issues related to forced migration. This is done with the objective of broadening the discussion in order to come up with much longer-term and multifaceted approaches to addressing issues of forced migration.

The continuous development of an on-going and systematic research agenda to support the emerging thinking around sustainable development approaches to managing mixed migration
and forced displacement impacts will be central to this conference. Developing research and knowledge platforms will require the building of strong partnerships with universities, think tanks and other organizations that are able to champion specific research agenda to promote a culture of learning that also drives policy orientation. The research outputs generated will be instrumental in informing policy options for IGAD Member States and influencing programming for durable and transitional solutions by key actors in the region.

The themes that will be addressed in the conference will include the following:
• Economic and environmental impacts of refugees and IDPs
• Integration of refugees and returnees with host communities
• The economics of forced displacement
• The effects of displacement on the displaced and host communities
• Regional governance and migration
• Negotiating institutional responses to displacement
• Humanitarian space and spaces of protection
• What is a human being worth? Human trafficking and people smuggling today
• Protracted urban displacement: the minefield of needs and interests
• Linking Peace, Security and displacement
• What next? The dynamics of evolving protection space
• Durable solutions to displacement-case studies of good practices for building resilience and sustainable livelihoods for migrants/refugees/returnees
• South-South Vs South-North displacement and migration
• Local, National, Regional and Global perspectives on the rights of forced migrants
• Development Induced Displacement and Resettlement
• Refugee health and Psychosocial issues
• Gender and Migration
• ICT and migration
• The good, bad and ugly of migration in the IGAD region

The conference will have two keynote addresses, presentation of papers and round-table discussions.

Submission, Review Process and Announcement of Acceptance
All papers will be subject to a review process. Papers submitted will be categorized into working papers and full papers.

Please send your abstracts to the addresses below:
Michael Omondi Owiso

Truphena E. Mukuna

School of Strategic and Development Studies (SDSS) – Maseno University/Kenya; the Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA); and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) with funding from the World Bank.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Robert Nurick at the Wilderness Festival: The impacts of deportation and forced return on migrant families and communities

What would make you cross borders without papers? Can you imagine living a transient uncertain life with the constant threat of arrest and deportation? Would you leave your children to take up dangerous and low paid jobs? This is the reality for hundreds of thousands of Cambodian migrants in Thailand.
In this thought provoking interactive workshop, we will immerse ourselves in the reality and lived experience of undocumented Cambodian migrants in Thailand. Drawing on interview transcripts we will hear the voices of migrants and their families – their challenges, aspirations and strategies – as they opt for precarious migration to make a better future for themselves and their children.

The Wilderness Festival will take place from the 2-5 August 2018 in Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, UK. You can purchase tickets here. Robert's talk will take place at 13.30 on 4 August 2018.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Visiting Research Fellowships offered

The Migrating out of Poverty research programme consortium announces a call for applications from scholars who wish to pursue research on migration and development at the University of Sussex.
Successful applicants will receive Visiting Research Fellow status at the University of Sussex, be based in the Sussex Centre for Migration Research in the School of Global Studies and will work closely with researchers from Migrating out of Poverty.

The University of Sussex is ranked first in the world for development studies.
"Sussex’ world-leading reputation for international development gives us much to celebrate. It's thanks to the concentration of expertise that spans the University and brings us together with our close colleagues and partners, the Institute of Development Studies. Our critical, engaged research on the global issues of our times infuses our teaching in the School of Global Studies, from our undergraduate programmes in International Development to a dynamic portfolio of postgraduate degrees that include long-standing and new cross-campus collaborations with IDS, SPRU, CIE and Brighton and Sussex Medical School. We’re really pleased to be recognised in this way.”  - Head of School, Andrea Cornwall

Our aim is for fellows to participate in and contribute to the broader research objectives of Migrating out of Poverty, addressing research and/or policy issues related to migration, gender, poverty and development in the Global South. Our team is global with researchers based in Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the UK. We welcome applicants working in our countries of focus or with similar research themes to ours, described below, but will also consider original themes that provide new angles on migration and development related issues in the Global South.

Our research themes

Income and Remittances

Our research examines the impact of migration on the welfare of households by exploring patterns of remittance sending and their use, livelihood activities and outcomes such as poverty, consumption, asset ownership and living standards. We are building longitudinal rural household surveys for Ghana, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe that allow us to explore changes over time between households with and without migrants, and how these differences vary by important characteristics of the migrants and their families, such as destination and duration of migration, age, gender and skills of the migrant, and initial welfare standards of the household.  Our surveys also provide useful profiles of migrants and their remittance sending behaviour

Gender and Generation
Little is known about how migration, gender and generation intersect at the household level or how economic, social and cultural changes impact on these relations. Our research explores complex and multi-layered household dynamics within the family who remain back home in rural communities in Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal and Zimbabwe. An additional aim is to discern whether there are marked differences between migration to places that are accessible, low-cost and often linked with low financial return (internal/cross-border migration) and migration to places with higher entry barriers, high costs and expectations of high financial returns (international migration). We build evidence for gender-responsive approaches to policy-making and programming.

Migration Industry
The migration of an individual usually involves a range of actors including their own social networks, brokers, border control agencies, training and     certification institutions and even NGOs and religious organisations. These entities, collectively known as the “migration industry”, have grown due to the tightening of restrictions on legal options for migration and their increasingly complex procedures. This has different impacts on the welfare, rights, freedom and economic status of migrants and the research on this theme aims to gain deeper insights into these dynamics in different cultural contexts. An improved understanding of the infrastructure that facilitates migration enables us to make suggestions to reduce exploitation and maximise benefits.

Our digital spaces

Who can apply?
We welcome applications from early career academics and more established academics employed by another Higher Education Institution, as well as from professionals working for local, national and international government and non-governmental organisations. We particularly encourage applicants from the Global South.

English is the principal working language of Migrating out of Poverty. For both academic and practical purposes, applicants should have fluency in English. 

How long are the fellowships?
Fellowships will usually be for a duration of between 4 and 12 weeks during normal term time, although longer periods may be possible (dependent on the ability to self-fund).

Facilities and practicalities:
The Migrating out of Poverty research consortium will provide office space and access to university services including computing, meeting rooms and the library. We encourage applicants that have funding for their visit via their institutions, but we may be able to reimburse travel and living expenses for those not able to secure funding.

Visiting Research Fellows are subject to UK Home Office immigration regulations. Visitors from outside the European Economic Area must ensure that they obtain an appropriate visa to carry out research in the University prior to arrival in the UK.

To begin an application, please first send an abbreviated CV, a 1000-word outline of proposed research (including signalling any specific links to our research themes), duration of intended stay, and desired/expected output(s). Please include details with web links of your current institution and position and the level of financial support you have. If shortlisted, we will ask for two references.
Send an initial application or informal inquiries to with the subject line: ‘Visiting Research Fellow application’

Migrating out of Poverty, specifically the research theme leaders: Priya Deshingkar, Dorte Thorsen and Julie Litchfield, will review the applications.

For further information, please read the School of Global Studies web page on Visiting Research Fellows:
Once selected for a fellowship by Migrating out of Poverty, the candidate will receive further instructions similar to the procedures in the link above, however please send all application related communication or queries to

Deadline for applications:

31 July 2018  
(for anyone wishing to visit in the Fall 2018 term)
31 October 2018
(for anyone wishing to visit in the Spring 2019 term)