Projects at a glance 

  • Leaving something behind – Migration governance and agricultural & rural change in ‘home’ communities: comparative experience from Europe, Asia and Africa”  (AGRUMIG)
    Donor: EU Horizon 2020
    February 2019 – January 2022
    Project Lead: Prof Peter Mollinga of School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London.
    Liza Debevec (IWMI) and Fraser Sugden (University of Birmingham) are members of the Project Steering Group
    Unprecedented levels of migration in today’s globalized economy are
    dramatically reshaping social, economic and political landscapes in
    sending and receiving countries. For policy makers and practitioners,
    understanding and responding effectively to such rapid transformation is
    a pressing issue.
  • Improving water use for dry season agriculture by marginal and tenant farmers in the Eastern Gangetic Plains
    Donor: ACIAR
    September 2014 – August 2018
    Project Lead: Fraser Sugden
    IWMI, in partnership with University of London, SOAS, University of Birmingham, and a dozen other partners, will work across 7 countries — Morocco, Ethiopia, Moldova, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Thailand and China — to compare the economic, institutional, cultural and environmental factors which shape the relationships between labor mobility and changes in agriculture and the rural sector, both those that induce migration from agricultural communities at a local level and how the process of migration itself alters agrarian and rural livelihoods.
  • Impact of Water Users Association on Water and Land Productivity, Equity and Food Security in Tajikistan
    Donor: USAID
    May 2014 – June 2018
    Project Lead: Soumya Balasubramanya
    IWMI is leading the gender component of an impact evaluation study conducted on the Water User Associations (WUAs) created and supported by USAID Family Farming Program. IWMI researchers are studying the role of women in irrigation water management to understand the gendered divisions of agricultural labour and agricultural decision makings at the household level.Influenced by the gender of the head of the households and households from which men migrated, the research hopes to unravel constraints women face in agriculture and water management as a result of increasing male out-migration.  And further build upon how women could be supported and benefited from the initiation of community-based water management interventions such as WUAs helping them contribute to food security.
  • Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystems Functions and Improved Well-being of Highland and Lowland Communities within the Bale Eco-Region (BER)
    Donor: European Union (EU)
    July 2014 – November 2017
    Project Lead: Amare Haileslassie
    IWMI is leading the research component of this ambitious multi-actor this livelihoods project in Ethiopia. One of the studies carried out in collaboration with Addis Ababa University investigated the links between youth migration, livelihood strategies and pressure on natural resources in the Bale Eco-Region.
  • Impact of land use change on labour movement in Ethiopia and Kenya
    Donor: Water, Land and Ecosystems CRP
    May – August 2017
    The rapid survey was conducted in two weredas (Raya Azebo and Endamehoni) of Tigray Regional state of Ethiopia and in two zones (tea zone and coffee zone) of Muranga County in Kenya. The purpose of the study is to understand the impact of land use change on labour movement in the study areas. Households that had at least one migrant or returnee (either in country or outside of the country) were selected to inform the study.
  • Refugees and water resource management in Northern Uganda
    Donor: GIZ
    November 2016 – May 2017
    A rapid survey into pressures on the region’s water resource base and related resources either directly or indirectly caused by the refugee arrivals in northern Uganda. This included local and national responses to this movement, on-going support measures and recommendations on future resource development in the context of IWRM to make the water supply environment more sustainable and amenable to future livelihood security
  • Sustainable and Resilient Farming Systems Intensification (SRFSI)
    Donor: ACIAR
    May 2014 – June 2016
    Project Lead: Fraser Sugden
    The overall aim of the project is to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of smallholder agriculture and the reduction of poverty in the Eastern Gangetic Plain by facilitating the adoption of practices that optimize the productive use of water, inputs and labour, while safeguarding soil resources and reducing climate- and market-based risks. This research is led by CIMMYT and a consortia of local and international partners. IWMI’s research component was focused on understanding how water management interventions can supplement conservation agriculture technologies. Migration was a key issue in all of the study communities across eastern India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and mediated farmers’ capacity to adopt climate resilient technologies. 
  • Gender profile of the Ganges basin and watershed case study
    February 2014-December 2016
    Project Lead: Jayne Curnow
    IWMI recently developed a gender profile for the Ganges Basin, mapping district wise key gender and socio-economic indices across the region as a tool for policy makers and practitioners. Spatial analysis of the data identified the striking impact of migration in particular agro-ecological domains within the basin. Later research sought to highlight some of these relationships at a local level in Nepal, a country with considerable ecological diversity. The research focused on a case study basin in Bhojpur district of Eastern Nepal, identifying livelihood trends linked to migration in different agro-ecological domains from 300m to 2500m. The biophysical context (including water access) was found to play a critical role in mediating migration patterns and its relationship with agriculture.
  • ‘Poverty squares and gender circles: unravelling agriculture gaps, challenges and opportunities in the Eastern Gangetic Plains
    Donor: WLE
    January 2015-December 2016
    Project Lead: Fraser Sugden
    This research in Bangladesh, West Bengal and lowland Nepal, explores development interventions in agriculture and irrigation in an era of migration induced feminization of agriculture. At a time when women are playing a critical role in the agricultural sector due to migration, this research seeks to understand whether interventions are harnessing the opportunities, as well as addressing the constraints faced by women in the context of male out-migration. It is guided by the assumption that gendered inequalities persist in the Eastern Gangetic plains primarily because developmental interventions claim to address gender but do not engage with the complexity of inequalities by gender and poverty.
  • Gender, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the Indo-Gangetic Plains
    Donor: CCAFS-Core, WLE
    July 2012-December 2015
    Project Lead: Fraser Sugden
    The project undertook research in lowland Nepal, Bangladesh and India’s Bihar state, to understand the patterns of vulnerability to climate change and the adaptive capacity for women and men farmers respectively, with a focus on agricultural water management. The relationship between migration and climate change adaptation was a critical component of this research. Migration was found to be a response to climatic and other stresses on agriculture. However, at the same time, for the women who stay behind, migration could both facilitate or constrain their resilience to climate shocks. This was linked to one’s position in the agrarian class structure in what is a highly stratified social formation.The second phase of the project focused more explicitly on the relationship between migration and agriculture, seeking to understand the role of class in shaping post migration livelihood changes, how remittances are used, and the impact of migration on labour management and resource allocation on the farm. This second phase also included comparative research in South China in collaboration with South China Agricultural University. In China, in spite of the labour shortages and challenges faced by the older generation in managing the farm, there were also positive lessons, such as the diversion of remittance cash into labour saving technologies.
  • Participatory videos in Nepal: Voicing men and women’s perceptions on climate change
    Donor: CCAFS-Core, WLE
    July 2012-December 2015
    Project Lead: Floriane Clement
    Another component of gaining a further understanding of gender’s role in rural communities was achieved through the use of participatory videos in the Dhanusha district of Nepal. By creating their own films, farmers in Nepal’s eastern Terai were given a direct mouthpiece to voice their experiences and ideas on climate change, adaptation, and the inter-related impact of male out-migration on farming and livelihoods. The use of non-written communication allowed researchers to have a greater impact in a region with low literacy rates, and the series was eventually turned into a 12 part TV series with the help of the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ).

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