Monday, 20 November 2017

Migrating out of Poverty will attend the Food, Youth and the Future of Farming Conference

The 24th International Conference of the Agri-food Research Network will take place from the 2-5 December 2017 in Bandung, Indonesia. The conference organisers explain:

Today, more than ever, developing and developed nations are sharing closer concerns (albeit with different contexts) when it comes to food and agriculture, depletion of arable land and agricultural resources, intergenerational gaps among farmers, and the changing face of the global food system. What can we do for the future of farming? And what can we learn from each other?

The conference sets out to explore some of these challenges.

We are delighted that Migrating out of Poverty will be involved in two sessions at the conference. On Tuesday 5 December, in a session on Reimagining Rural Myanmar, Julie Litchfield (with co-author Hannah Sam) will present on Migration and food security in Myanmar. This paper explores this primary data from a rural household survey collected in the first quarter of 2017 in four regions of Myanmar. Myanmar presents an interesting case study given both the size and importance of the rural sector and the pace of recent economic and political reform, including relaxation of migration controls. They estimate an econometric model of the impact of migration on food security of migrant-sending households using a dietary diversity score and other, qualitative, measures of food security, and provide insights into the way migration affects access to food. The paper pays particular attention to the methodological challenges in establishing a plausible causal relationship, and they also explore the nuances of the relationship by gender, destination of the migrant and the role of remittances in mediating the loss of family labour.

Later that day Priya Deshingkar (with co-author Wen-Ching Ting) will present their paper Precarity and Opportunity: Rural Livelihoods, Migration and Change in Myanmar. This presentation explores indepth qualitative research in four agro-ecologically and culturally diverse regions of Myanmar and shows that migration within the country and beyond is important for repaying debt, smoothing incomes and investing in housing, education and health in rural areas. At the same time migration brings many new risks that can set the family back. The focus of this paper is the links between migration, livelihoods, and life trajectories in rural areas. In theorising the findings they employ concepts of precarity, constrained agency, and the spatiality of agency. These allow them to undertake a socially embedded and spatial analysis of the decision to migrate into precarious conditions and show how it is linked to material and social aspirations, and outcomes in the village. The evidence is drawn from 95 interviews in four rural regions (Ayeyarwaddy, Mandalay, Shan and Rakhine State) and 30 in two urban destination cities (Yangon and Mandalay) in 2017.

These papers arise out of research conducted under the Capitalizing Human Mobility for Poverty Alleviation and Inclusive Development for Myanmar (CHIME) project of which Priya is the principle investigator and qualitative research lead, Julie is the quantitative research lead, and Ting is the post-doctoral research fellow. The research is coordinated by the International Organisation for Migration, and funded by the LIFT programme. CHIME examines the role of migration in rural livelihoods in four regions of Myanmar using mixed methods containing a longitudinal element to capture seasonality and other dynamics of migration. 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Talk about 'Migration and Aspirations for Youth' at the University of East Anglia on the 8 November

On Wednesday the 8 November our colleague Dorte Thorsen will be speaking at a seminar at the University of East Anglia in the School of International Development.

In her talk on Migrating out of Poverty? Linkages between Migration and Aspirations for Youth, Dorte will explore the question of whether migration makes migrants and their families better off.
This assessment often focuses on a relatively synchronic assessment of migrants’ living conditions or the remittances they send home. Drawing on research carried out in Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia and Rwanda by partners in the Migrating out of Poverty Research Consortium, she will explore the ways in which migration and remittances shape both migrants and non-migrants’ social positions in ways that will have long-term implications on gender and generational relations within families. She will look at how relationships between adults shift over time in order to tease out the ways in which subtle changes may slowly empower women to have more say in decisions concerning family matters. By examining the impact of remittances on the schooling of the next generation, she will explore how women make sense of and influence decisions about their children’s education and how young people seek to assert their own aspirations for the future as sons and daughters of migrants and as migrants. Dorte argues that the size and temporality of migrant earnings create barriers for upward social mobility for the next generation in highly gendered ways.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Paul Clist (

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Seminar at SAPMiC: The Case of Undocumented Migration from Cambodia to Thailand

On the 13 November, from 12.30-13.30 our colleague Robert Nurick will speak at a Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre (SAPMiC) event.

Migration from Cambodia is a major livelihood strategy for rural families, with most having at least one member migrating in search of work. Thailand is their number one destination. Most have an undocumented status, putting them at risk of arrest and deportation.

Robert will share the findings of interviews with Cambodian migrants and members of their families exploring their motivations and decision-making. The involuntary return of undocumented migrants from Thailand in June 2014 provides the lens through which the significance of migration strategies and the impact of return on family livelihoods are studied. The second part of the talk reviews the experience of sharing the findings in comic form with migrants and their families. Their reflections have helped to frame a follow-up research agenda that addresses their priorities. He will conclude by proposing that the production and sharing of knowledge in an accessible and innovative form has transformed a ‘standard’ piece of qualitative research into a participatory action research process.

The comic, Precarious Migration, is available online in EnglishKhmer, and Thai.

If you would like to attend please contact Matt Withers (