The purpose is to understand the root causes of migration from this area as well as the effects that migration has on families, communities and the overall region. Even if this region has a long-lasting migration tradition to Europe and African countries that shapes family and community functioning, recent research suggests new patterns of migration behavior may be emerging in the region. The aim of the study will be to examine whether new social and economic dynamics drive migration behaviors. Have drivers of migration changed since the last few years? What role do social, economic, political and climatic conditions play in driving migration? What groups are particularly affected by migration? Have the effects of migration on families evolved? Do new patterns of migration, if any, impact local dynamics? How are livelihoods and income-bringing activities affected? What are the effects of migration from a gender perspective on families, communities and the region?
The French Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) proposes to implement this study by assembling a French and Malian research team coordinated by three investigators: Dr. Nehara Feldman, anthropologist, Dr. Stéphanie Lima, geographer and Dr. Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, economist. Three post-doctorate researchers will be involved in the project as well as one Malian PhD student. Two post-doctorate scientists will be based at Point Sud, a Malian independent research centre. Their fieldwork will be co-monitored by Nehara Feldman and Aïssatou Mbodj, whose project based at Point Sud analyzes the historical dimensions of migration in the Kayes region1.
An interdisciplinary perspective will be a core feature of the project. This interdisciplinary approach will be highlighted in the cooperation between geographers, economists, sociologists and anthropologists in the overall project. The interdisciplinary viewpoint will also entail the comparison of data between the different axes. Literature review, statistical analysis of existing datasets on migration in Mali as well as newly collected data from the field will be combined. We propose to structure the research into three axes:
Axis 1, entitled “Migration from Kayes: a statistical overview”, will be dedicated to give an overview of the recent evolutions of migration in the Kayes area. This overall framework is expected to pinpoint the main features of present-day migration, by
1 “characterizing recent migration flows for instance from a gender perspective, looking at effects on left-behind family well-being. In order to fully characterize the aspirations to migrate, a quantitative field survey will be carried out among a sample of youth people.
Axis 2, entitled “Migration from the Kayes region, gender and family dynamics”, will focus on gender and family dynamics in the understanding of the emigration from the Kayes region. It will pay careful attention to how the departure and host country contexts influence migration decisions differently for men and women and the way gender influences migrants’s trajectory and their relations with thouse left behind.
Axis 3 entitled “Emigrate and return: territorial recompositions, local governance and citizenship at the municipal level” aims at analyzing the interactions between international migration, territorial recompositions and governance in the Kayes region. Through the decentralization reform, implemented from 1993, it will be necessary to understand the role of migrants in local governance and access to citizenship. The study will take place both in the villages of departure and also in places of residence, particularly in France, where the associative dynamics of Malian migrants is particularly structured.