University -- "Deportees and Returnees: The Social and Economic Reintegration
of Labor Migrants from Bangladesh"
University -- "Remembering to Forget: Ex-Combatants, Reconciliation
Practices, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra
University -- "Preventing Displacement: The Role of Credit and Savings
in Conflict Prevention"
University -- "Odelay: A Study of Sierra Leonean Refugee Youth and “Cultural
-- "Media Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Observing Information Needs,
Capacity, and Delivery in Transition"
Boston University, Department of Sociology
June 1 – July 31, 2003
and Returnees: The Social and Economic Reintegration of Labor Migrants
Partners: ENDEAVOUR (Ensure Development Activities for Under-privileged
Rural People) and WARBE (Welfare Association of Repatriated Bangladeshi
labor migration is marked by flux in the policies and attitudes of
receiving countries towards migrants. During periods
of economic boom, labor migrants, both legal and illegal, are often
welcomed and tolerated. But as economic tides shifts, these same workers
may be encouraged or even forced to return to their countries of origin.
This project will explore the social and economic reintegration of "returned" Bangladeshi
labor migrants, with a focus on the situation of deportees or those
forcibly repatriated. I will look at the particular challenges and
dilemmas of reintegration faced by deportees, and how they differ from
those experienced by other returned migrants. The project will enable
me to assess the feasibility of a larger, more extensive study on the
situation of deported labor migrants originating from Bangladesh.
Tufts University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
May 27 – July 25, 2003
Remembering to Forget: Ex-Combatants, Reconciliation Practices, and
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone
Human Rights Section of the UN's Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL)
When demobilized members of combatant groups return
to their home communities or settle in new ones, issues of memory,
healing, and reconciliation at a local level take on particular urgency.
In collaboration with the Human Rights Section of the UN Mission in
Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (TRC), I will study Sierra Leone’s TRC hearings and
their immediate aftermath in two communities to examine how local communities
respond to these discursive public memories of violence, and how such
a process intersects (and collides) with local processes of reconciliation,
healing, and reintegration for ex-combatants. While, in the past, TRC
has assumed that violence is healed by verbally discursive remembering,
in many Sierra Leonean communities, past violence is healed instead
by ritually mediated forgetting.
Tufts University, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
June 13 – August 20, 2003
Preventing Displacement: The Role of Credit and Savings in Conflict Prevention
Caisse Villagoise d'Epargne et Credit (Cameroon)
research project proposes to explore the likelihood of conflict-induced
in a rural region of northwest Cameroon, as well as the
possibility of preventing such displacement due to the micro-credit
activities of the savings and credit union Caisse Villagoise d’Epargne
et Credit (CVEC).
department, where CVEC is located, faces a number of open and latent
conflicts, including those between farmers
and cattle raisers,
Muslim factions, and political parties as well as conflicts over
land tenure and the exploitation of natural resources. The potential
conflict escalation is exacerbated by national-level issues, including
extreme government corruption, limited political freedoms under the
Paul Biya regime, and the actual or potential cross-border flow of
refugees from Nigeria.
then, is the environment in which CVEC, the only financial services
institution in the area, operates. CVEC
grants two types
loans through its revolving fund program. The first is for productive
projects such as buying agricultural inputs, paying field laborers,
transporting produce, paying storage fees, or buying small equipment.
The second is for paying school fees for children, which is viewed
by the community as an important social investment and a deterrent
to illegal activities.
claims that “the planning and
implementing of these loans force people to get together regularly
and opens doors for social dialogue.
The most difficult conflicts are those where people do not communicate.
So a lot of minor and middle level conflicts can be handled this
provocative and interesting claim frames the central question
of this research agenda: Can the implementation of micro-credit
effective tool for the prevention of conflict and displacement?
hypothesis is that CVEC currently plays a limited conflict prevention
role. I intend to explore three strands of
to document the nature and impact of this role. First, I will
explore whether the beneficiaries of CVEC’s revolving
fund are parties to the conflicts that put the community at
escalation and displacement;
second, I will look at whether they actually discuss and resolve
their conflicts in the course of utilizing their CVEC loan
funds; and third,
I will examine the relationship between the resolution of conflicts
at this level and the broader potential for conflict escalation
and displacement in the area. My research will occur over the
months, including two months of field work conducting interviews
with CVEC clients and a control group population.
Boston University, Department of Anthropology
May 14 – July 3, 2003
Evaluation of Economic Relief Interventions
National Council for Arts and Culture, The Gambia and Search for
Common Ground, Sierra Leone
will examine the ways in which refugee identity and ritual performance
are linked to Sierra Leoneans’ chronic adjustment difficulties
and profound sense of separation from their own culture, a condition
for which Eisenbruch has coined the term “cultural bereavement” (Eisenbruch,
1991, 1992). I propose that Sierra Leonean emulations of Odelay, young
men’s masquerade societies based upon the original Yoruba associations
from Nigeria, represent an urban ritual response to trauma in the face
of low institutional social support. This multi-site study examines
young men’s integration and healing processes as part of their
refugee experience both in urban Gambia and Freetown. In addition,
this research asks what social and economic forces propel and constrain
changes in refugees’ public identity and Odelay participation.
My research goals are: (1) to gather a detailed sociological survey
of Sierra Leonean youth in urban Gambia; (2) to chart levels of Odelay
participation among different age-grades, and (3) to record the histories
of migration in relationship to kinship and other ties in The Gambia.
MIT, Department of Comparative Media Studies
Media Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Observing Information Needs, Capacity,
and Delivery in Transition
Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan, Kabul;
Institute for Media, Policy, and Civil Society, Kabul; Ministry of
Women’s Affairs, Kabul; InterNews, Kabul; InterMedia, UK
proposal addresses radio reception in rural Afghanistan during its
current climate of
instability and transition. After five years
of the Taliban’s enforced absence of image, voice, music, and
video, Afghanistan is regaining its voicing and communication abilities.
The shift from silence to highly mediated distraction in Kabul has
been one of the most prominent indications of rapid change in the country.
had been the case under the Taliban, finding and maintaining good
access to information is one of the most important coping skills
many Afghans in insecure and rapidly shifting situations. Returning
refugee populations face deeply rooted structural problems on returning
to their villages: millions of landmines continue to litter the countryside,
ethnic tension is high, and looting and raping continues to ravage
civilian populations. Due to poor communication infrastructure (roads,
telephone, mail, and television is damaged and in some cases non-existent
outside of Kabul), villages are often isolated and disconnected from
the resources and information that flow into Kabul and other major
urban centres. Many villages continue to rely on informal information
structures as they did with the Taliban for the majority of their
of the Taliban may have relaxed central government regulations on
the wearing of the infamous burqa for women in Afghanistan,
lack of security and the restrictions of purdah and traditional
attitudes and belief systems continue to restrict women’s mobility,
particularly in rural contexts. Radio is often the only connection
have to the outside world. At the same time, women’s issues
have become of particular interest politically and media and development
are investing heavily in radio programming for women. Women have
an unprecedented public voice in their nation’s history,
and are being encouraged to participate in the political processes via
consultations on the writing of Afghanistan’s new constitution,
election to the Loya Jirga (grand council), and organization through
the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
rural women reading the information flows reaching them? What role
does radio play
in shaping their sense of identity, perception
of the world, and aspirations? Where is radio positioned relative
husband, relatives, community elders and religious leaders in
influencing women’s opinions? These questions are a starting
point of inquiry for this proposal, which aims to produce findings
will be of use
to the radio and humanitarian organizations supporting radio
broadcasts for rural populations in Afghanistan.