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Case Study: Design of a research protocol for a project on the future of mobility in Africa in relation to climate

The project on mobility in Africa addresses climate-induced displacement and migration at individual and household levels. TRi Facts developed a detailed research design and protocol that included questionnaires for a quantitative survey as well as qualitative interviews for the Mixed Migration Centre, part of the Danish Refugee Council.

Though climate risks are increasing, there are populations living in areas vulnerable to climate-related environmental stressors that struggle with the decision to migrate. Many people are willing to continue living in precarious environments, despite the detrimental effects on their lives and livelihoods. This shows the importance of ‘home’ and a place attachment in people’s lives. Some people choose to return to climatically unsafe areas even after they have been resettled despite the risk factors involved while others, though willing, are unable to migrate due to circumstances beyond their control. The desire to migrate and the capability to migrate both influence the decision to migrate.

Africa has long been characterised by migration with climate change being one of many factors which influence migration patterns. This research project aims to understand patterns of mobility at individual and household levels, focusing on individual human stories around climate-forced displacement and migration. TRi Facts developed a detailed research design and protocol that included questionnaires for a quantitative survey as well as qualitative interview guides along with training packages for survey and interview administration. These research tools aim to analyse mobility patterns among people affected by climate change, the role climate change plays in migration outcomes, and how mobility varies among different population groups. TRi Facts worked in close collaboration with the Mixed Migration Centre team that is currently implementing the study across seven locations in Africa that are vulnerable to climate-related environmental stressors.

We believe it is important to conduct research which ensures that marginalised voices are heard. MMC’s research supports the development of climate-change responses based on evidence of behaviour and decision-making in relation to climate change and mobility at the individual and household levels. The study allows us to gain perspectives into people’s life experiences and stories, their future aspirations as well as the extent to which their lives have been shaped by the environment and climate around them, and seeks to bring the evidence to the policy table.