Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Migrating out of Poverty UK team meets with the Department for International Development



Migrating out of Poverty has received funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for several years. On the 24 April a team of staff visited our team at the University of Sussex to catch up on cutting edge research and share information on policy formulation.

We were able to provide feedback on the next phase of our work, including:
  • Understanding the nuances and changes within social relations in migrant families and analysing the responsibilities and freedoms involved for both migrants and those staying behind in terms of gender and generation.
  • Examining the range of informal actors involved in the migration industry and how these actors impact on the welfare, rights, freedom and economic status of migrants and their families. This work is generating evidence that can be utilised by DFID in their “whole of route” approaches to reduce migrant vulnerability.
  • Sharing ways to promote safe and regular migration into Thailand from neighbouring countries.
  • Looking at (forced) migration to and evictions between low-income areas of cities, with a focus on trapped populations in Bangladesh, Somaliland, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.
  • Thinking through the significance of informal, under the radar and peer-to-peer community-based responses that support migrants in destination countries.
  • The potential of temporary migration schemes and their developmental impact in post-Brexit Britain.

DFID shared information on their work to help shape the Global Compact on Migration, action on modern slavery, policy formulation to address internally displaced people’s needs, the role of social networks in shaping migration flows, the protection of people taking dangerous migration routes, maximising the socio-economic benefits of migration, particularly in relation to remittances.

Priya Deshingkar, the Research Director for Migrating out of Poverty, reflected: “This was a valuable opportunity for us to better understand policy priorities within DFID and where the evidence gaps are as well as how our research could contribute to filling these gaps.”

Monday, 7 May 2018

Peter Evans from the Department for International Development (DFID) visits the Migrating Out of Poverty Ghana team



By Emmanuel Quarshie

On the 1 May 2018 Peter Evans, Team Leader - Governance, Conflict & Social Development (GCSD) Research Team, DFID Research and Evidence Division at the UK Department for International Development visited the Migrating Out of Poverty research team in Ghana based at the Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), University of Ghana. The May Day visit enabled discussions around the work that the team have been doing on migration and poverty over the last few years.

Professor Mariama Awumbila, the principal investigator gave a briefing on the setting up of CMS and its role in teaching, research, and policy development. She gave an overview of the three phases of the research so far, focusing especially on the phase three research projects which were just beginning, on gender and generation, income and remittances and the migration industry. Professor Joseph Teye, the current director of the Centre, summarized some of the key findings from Ghana, for example:
  • While poor households find it difficult to embark on international migration, they are able to access destinations within Ghana and other African countries.
  • Internal migration is contributing positively to the well being of migrant’s households through remittances. We therefore need to incorporate internal migration into development policy in Ghana.  
  • The majority of migrants live in informal settlements – despite it being a harsh environment, with little social protection. They perceive that their overall well-being has been enhanced by migration.
  • Movements into informal settlements might be associated with reduction in overall poverty and improvements in general well-being. Informal settlements are not places of despair, they offer poor migrants business opportunities that are not available at the place where they come from. 
  • Neglecting informal urban communities would not simply deter rural-urban migrants from settling in these areas. Slum upgrading is a better policy choice.
  • Female migration and the remittances that they send are gradually changing power relations and gender roles in the household.
  • Although there are clear cases of exploitation, brokers sometimes work in the interests of migrants, thereby increasing the latter’s bargaining power, enhancing the realisation of their self-development and allowing them to exercise agency in highly unequal power relations with employers.
  • Uncritically labeling recruitment agencies and brokers purely as agents of exploitation, and migrant domestic workers as victims without any agency, does not reflect the entire situation.
  • The migration industry is made up of different types of recruiters with different interests, clients, practices, and recruiting for different employers. One common strategy/policy will not be efficient for regulating all actors in the industry.

The National Migration Policy and MENOM

The DFID team acknowledged the instrumental role CMS has played in facilitating  the development of Ghana’s National Migration Policy as well as the draft Diaspora Engagement Policy. Professor Awumbila noted that some of the key findings of the Migrating out of Poverty research had been fed into the National Migration Policy including an expansion of the focus to include internal and intra-regional migration. 

Also, she highlighted the Centre’s role in innovative research uptake activities, including facilitating the establishment and development of the Media Network on Migration (MENOM), which has been very instrumental in the dissemination of key research findings as well as providing of updates on key activities carried out by the Centre.   She recounted that although historically, there has been some reporting on migration issues in Ghana, the little rapportage focused more on the negative effects of migration. As a result, CMS saw it as a great opportunity to train journalists as part of its research uptake activities. Currently, a case study is being developed on MENOM which may serve as a useful guide for other organisations to adopt.

The DFID team complimented the Migrating out of Poverty Ghana research team at CMS for their contributions to influence the migration research agenda in Ghana and particularly on efforts to ensure research uptake by various stakeholders as well as their instrumental role within the policy environment in Ghana and Africa.