Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Migrants on the margins: a focus on Harare

Migrants on the margins: a focus on Harare
25 May
With the second field season for Migrants on the margins – the RGS-IBG’s collaborative field research programme – well underway, we focus on the work of PhD student, Selina Pasirayi

Migrants on the margins is taking a comparative approach in four of the world’s most pressured cities – Harare, Hargeisa, Colombo and Dhaka – to investigate the movements of residents and the impacts of these on marginal communities. Last year, more than 2,000 household surveys revealed a common experience of complex and disrupted mobility histories.

In Harare, Selina has been investigating how the political context in Zimbabwe impacts active urban citizenship, and the role residents’ associations have in supporting migrants. Now based at the University of Sussex, Selina has ten years’ experience working in the NGO sector and her professional expertise, as well as her knowledge of the language, culture and socio-economic context are proving to be of great value to the project.

She explains:

‘I have taken a case study approach to my fieldwork, using participant observation, semi-structured interviews and document analysis. I have also taken part in public meetings and petitions to assess the practices of different residents’ associations and the actions of residents. I have been particularly attentive to the rules, rituals, hierarchies and power dynamics within the residents’ movement.’

One of Selina’s aims is to understand the potential urban activism has for changing local governance and her research has already begun to highlight the positive changes that residents’ associations can achieve for people living in marginal communities. These include: articulating citizens’ rights, creating a space for civic engagement and lobbying for local services.

Selina recently presented her initial results at the African Centre for Cities Conference, along with other members of the Harare research team including her supervisor Professor JoAnn McGregor, and Dr Kudzai Chatiza. She will return to Zimbabwe later in the year to conduct further stakeholder meetings to discuss her findings. Where appropriate, she will also offer suggestions on how residents’ associations can continue to have positive engagements with the communities and residents they work with, particularly those living on the margins.

To find out more about the Migrants on the margins project visit: geog.gr/rgs-motm

This was published in the June 2018 edition of Geographical magazine

red line


Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our free weekly newsletter!

red line

Related items

Subscribe to Geographical!

Geographical Week

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

University of Winchester


Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby




Travel the Unknown


Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    REDD+ or Dead?
    The UN-backed REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme, under which developing nations would be paid not to cut dow...
    Hung out to dry
    Wetlands are vital storehouses of biodiversity and important bulwarks against the effects of climate change, while also providing livelihoods for mill...


NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.