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OCVP researchers and locals on a walk at Camp A

Field research programme

The Society’s most recent Field Research Programme, Migrants on the margins, was a five year project involving researchers from UK universities and international research partners. It focused on the vulnerability and opportunities of migrants in some of the world’s most pressured cities, including Colombo (Sri Lanka), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Hargeisa (Somaliland).

About the project

The project investigated the movement of migrants into and around these cities, and looked at the opportunities available to them in order to better understand their experiences and vulnerability.

The project aimed to not only dispel misconceptions around migration and improve the lives of migrants in the study areas through advising policy changes, but also to build regional research capacity and networks of expertise across Africa and Asia.


The issue

By 2050, it is estimated that the number of people living in urban areas in Africa and Asia will have doubled to 5.2 billion. And research shows that people moving away from humanitarian, environmental and other crises tend to move short distances, often ending up in marginal communities on the outskirts of urban areas, where it is all too easy to become stuck.

These movements are some of the most important but least studied migration patterns across the globe. The impact that migrants have on urban areas and how cities can best respond to the influx of people is understudied, while little is known about the life chances of the migrants themselves. This is an issue that will only become more urgent as populations grow and the impact of climate change is increasingly felt.