Cities of Youth: The gendered impact of climate migration on health and wellbeing of youth migrants, and system capacity in secondary cities in Uganda


Start date: 1 April, 2024 End date: 31 March, 2028 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 24-01-SDU Countries: Uganda Thematic areas: Climate change, Gender equality, Health, Lead institution: University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Denmark Partner institutions: Makerere University (MAK), Uganda Project coordinator: Angela Chang Total grant: 9,999,763 DKK

Project summary

Male and female youth in Uganda are on the move. Making up the majority of the population, they are migrating due to climate change and settling in urban spaces in search of better futures. However, migration does not always lead to better outcomes. Youth migrants are more likely to settle in disaster-prone parts of cities and work in informal jobs, which poses unique and gender-specific risks to their health and well-being. Host city residents may also be negatively impacted by an influx of migrants, as there is increased competition for resources, and health and social systems become overburdened. Until now, there have been no empirical studies that study the impacts of climate change migration to youth migrants, hosts, and urban health and social service systems.

We will study four research themes: (1) patterns and drivers of youth climate migration, (2) how climate migration shifts livelihood strategies of the migrants, and (3) the impact of such changes on the health and well-being of youth migrants, all through a gendered lens. We will show how these migration patterns impact (4) the health and well-being of host residents and the health and social service systems in receiving cities.

The World Bank predicts Uganda to have one of the highest rates of internal climate migration in the world by 2050. While some have studied the impact of climate migration in Kampala, less is known about Uganda’s secondary cities and towns. However, these towns are usually the first reception points for youth migrants. We will use a “hub-and-spoke” model to research both larger receiving centres (hubs) and the pathways which youth migrants follow from rural areas and smaller cities (spokes). A rigorous mixed methods and interdisciplinary approach combining our strengths in quantitative and qualitative skills will be applied to address the four research themes. We place a strong emphasis on capacity strengthening and stakeholder engagement through close partnerships with Makerere University and local stakeholders.

This project will provide timely evidence for the central and local governments to prepare for and better respond to the ongoing and increasing youth climate migration. Globally, youth migration will be a defining factor for much of the adaptation efforts to climate change. This project can be a case study of this trend, and the hub-and-spoke conceptual model as a means to examine the dynamic nature of climate internal migration over both space and time.

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