Migrants on the margins was a five-year collaborative field research project that investigated the movement of migrants into and around four of the world’s most pressured cities: Colombo in Sri Lanka, Dhaka in Bangladesh, Harare in Zimbabwe and Hargeisa in Somaliland. Supported by the Society, the research team adopted a comparative approach to look at the opportunities available to migrants in order to better understand their experiences and vulnerabilities.
Research in the four cities engaged with both newly arrived and well-established residents of 13 neighbourhoods, and involved focus groups, surveys, walk along interviews, oral histories, Q methodology, and GIS and participatory community mapping workshops.
The key findings from the project have shed light on the incredible challenges of living in the neighbourhoods studied as well as the significant levels of population mobility, or churn, within these communities. The research also highlights the impact of clear gender differences in men’s and women’s roles in communities, as well as the effect of evictions and tenure security on residents, and how people can easily become ‘trapped’ within these neighbourhoods.
Results from the research are continuing to influence policy within the four cities, and the research team have worked to support local policy makers and municipalities to improve the situations that migrants find themselves in.