African Child Migration in the Context of Vulnerability: Developing a Research Network

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Development Fund

African immigrants represent 13.4% of the 7.5 million foreign-born individuals in Canada, making Africa the second-highest source region for immigrants to Canada. They are a growing population in Canada. Our earlier ethnographic research shows that, in Canada, African migrant children have diverse challenges that must be investigated within the context of migration. Despite emerging international literature on poor outcomes of African immigrant children, international partnerships that investigate the experiences of African migrant children across transnational spaces are very rare. Moreover, few studies have collected data specifically from African migrant children. This project will build on our previous work to look at the experiences of African migrant children in diverse countries.

Focusing on Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Canada, our project will develop an international research partnership to examine the experiences of African migrant children. One objective is to examine the experiences of vulnerable African migrant children and how they navigate their everyday lives in Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Canada. A second objective is to examine the potential for an international research partnership and network to contribute to improving the lives of African migrant children. Our study will include case studies on (i) African migrant children in Canada (children with a single parent, with a family member with a history of gun violence, those who have been separated and reunited with parents); (ii) African children in Ghana (including children who migrate or are trafficked for labour in Africa, children who survive through begging and other hazardous work on streets in Africa, and children left behind by emigrant parents); and (iii) African children in Ethiopia and Nigeria who are refugees or internally displaced persons.

Our project will use a robust transnational and intersectional collaborative approach and mobilize the strengths of diverse partners. Network members, spanning four continents, are collaborators on this project. The partnership will create a multidisciplinary network of research scholars focused on African migrant child well-being in the context of migration. We will engage partners throughout the project (and beyond) through (1) regular in-person, web-based, and telephone meetings; and (2) jointly organized conferences and webinars. We will conduct (1) a research team planning meeting in Canada; (2) multiple case studies with embedded units (i.e., sub-units) of analysis on African migrant children in Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia; and (3) a conference and focus groups with diverse stakeholders in Ghana. A key partner is the University of Ghana, with which the University of Alberta has a well-established partnership of over twenty years. We are also partnering with Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and Jimma University in Ethiopia. Our current planned project partnership is supported through the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a leading global network for higher education and research, made up of 23 universities spanning 13 countries on six continents. Our project will inform national and international policies on African migrant children.

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