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Research : From vulnerability to resilience – gender, migration and social capital

Research theme coordinator: Karin A. Siegmann

NCCR N-S Research Group "From social vulnerability to resilience"

SDPI – Migration: Inducing or reducing risk?  
Policy dialogue around migration  

Research objective

Livelihoods in rural areas are often fragile, in highland and in lowland contexts. The core area of study, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) of Pakistan, is exposed to different types of risks and crises, from the absorption of millions of Afghan refugees, to earthquakes and very poor health indicators in national comparison. The region also shows comparatively wide gender gaps in access to livelihood assets. Migration is an increasingly important livelihood strategy, connecting rural to urban areas.

Under these circumstances, households may still serve as entry points for the study of livelihood, but they have to be reconceptualized as embedded in highly gendered networks of exchange and support, in which conflicts are negotiated, and people, goods and services move between different regions and between rural and urban places. These lose networks of people and institutions support or hinder resilience of livelihoods. Recent feminist scholarship has further shown that institutions governing the distribution of and claims to resources are influenced by constructions of gender and gendered hierarchies. Linking up with this new thrust in livelihood research, emphasis will be given to the influence of gender and of the institutional context (i.e. social, economic, and political) at different scales (intra-household, regional, national, and global) on causing livelihood vulnerability at household level, and on fostering livelihoods resilience.

Step 1: Retrospective comparative analysis of risk and vulnerability

The research synthesis summarizes insights gained during former research in the KP. First findings indicate that vulnerability indeed is widespread especially among households in the mountainous regions of Pakistan, affecting inhabitants of higher altitudes and women most severely.

Step 2: New empirical research on resilience

Refining the analytical approach of the Sustainable Livelihoods framework, especially to (i) give more and adequate attention to the gendered dimension, (ii) to give adequate attention to the forces and influences at different scales (esp. national and global).

Step 3: Improvement of assessment tools for resilience building

Research findings are analysed and synthesised at two levels: 1) what did we learn regarding factors that support or hinder resilience building, and 2) can we – based on the experience gained – propose a multi-scale gendered perspective to facilitate the assessment of resilience?

Step 4: Getting research into policy and practice (GRIPP)

To examine ongoing policy dialogues on livelihood resilience, a parallel process of exchange and dialoguing with concerned stakeholders is crucial. Policy makers from national and provincial levels, representatives of the local governments, members of civil society groups and others will be consulted. On the basis of these discussions, a GRIPP initiative will be started in collaboration with local groups and networks.

Key publications are:

Steimann B. 2005. Livelihood Strategies in North-West Pakistan. Results from the Sustainable Livelihoods Survey 2004, North-West Frontier Province (Pakistan). NCCR IP6 Working Paper No. 5.

2.4 MB
Sadaf T, Siegmann K.A. 2004. Gendered livelihood assets and workloads in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Paper presented at the 7th Sustainable Development Conference Islamabad, December 8-10, 2004.

353 KB

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