Formal vs. Informal

Registered and unregistered sellers in La Carolina compete for social and retail space in the park amidst growing inter-group tensions.

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Entrepreneurship Amidst Displacement

In this issue of Fresh FINDings we feature research from Jordan, led by Swati Mehta Dhawan of Katholische Universität Eichstätt

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Economic Integration

This video draws on a case study of Uganda, where refugees move from their early arrival phase to coping long term with economic opportunities and set-backs. The information draws on Fletcher research in Uganda.

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The Impact of Volunteer Employment on Migrant Outcomes: Ugandan Perspective

By Dan Creamer, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Formal employment opportunities are limited in Uganda’s economy, especially for migrants and refugees. Considering these barriers, “volunteer” jobs represent a crucial vehicle for migrants to gain new skills, build their networks, gain access to future opportunities, and even earn reasonable wages. This essay seeks to show the importance of volunteer positions for migrants, how these opportunities differ between Kampala and the Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp, and whether these volunteer opportunities are privileging specific demographic groups.

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Origins and Outcomes: Migrant Integration in Uganda

By Dan Creamer, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
In the United States, the postal code of one’s birthplace predicts more about one’s future than nearly any other factor. While interviewing refugees in Kampala and Bidi Bidi Camp, I found a parallel observation in which specific details of a refugee’s origin could predict their outcomes, particularly economic and locational outcomes. Refugees from similar places of origin tend to settle in similar locales. While this finding may be obvious to refugees and development organizations, the deterministic elements of a refugee’s place of origin do not seem to influence programming in the Uganda refugee context.

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Reflections on Conducting a Lean Research Field Study

By Sarah Carson, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Field research is a common and often powerful piece of post-graduate training in international affairs and development. But sending students to the field also comes with risks to both students and study participants. What happens when you send five students abroad to execute Lean Research on their own? What challenges might they encounter, and what innovative solutions could they develop? And what do they learn that could be applied to similar experiences in the future?

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You and I Are Not Friends: The Challenges of Ethnographic Study in the Migration Field

By Padmini Baruah, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. Transnational migration has been one of the most talked-about phenomena of the past decade. With prolonged armed conflict, economic crises, and climate change affecting different parts of the world adversely, it is not a surprise that an estimated 258 million people live in a country that is not the country of their birth.1 Much news has been generated on this subject, and multiple studies have focused on the macro aspects of this issue. However, equally vital is not losing sight of the fact that while broad patterns and theories can explain the macrophenomenon of transnational migration, each migrant’s story is ultimately a subjective and entirely personal lived experience. The powerful contribution of the individual narrative as well as of ethnographic observations to academic studies in this field cannot be overlooked.

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The Other Migration: The Financial Journeys of Asians and Africans Traveling Through the Americas

By Kim Wilson et al.

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In Adjusting to New Labor Markets, Migrants Draw on Past Experience and Retain a Strong Sense of Pride in Being Able to Contribute

By Conor Sanchez, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. Popular notions of migrants as unskilled or uneducated laborers, while sometimes true, are often false. Their jobs back home may not have always ensured adequate income, a factor that could have played a role in their decision to migrate, but they often required some technical knowledge or training. Our subjects had worked as photographers, teachers, accountants, sociologists, and business owners. Some were property owners, tending to farms and livestock or selling various kinds of merchandise out of their home. In many of the interviews, it also became apparent that these jobs had clearly formed an unshakeable part of their identity.

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