rural-urban migration

“It’s Better to Sweat than to Die:” Rural-to-Urban Migration, Northern Karamoja, Uganda

Much of the literature on urbanization focuses on migration to large cities. In contrast, this report traces the process, challenges, and opportunities of rural-urban migration to towns and small cities in northern Karamoja, namely Abim, Kaabong and Kotido. The research aimed to better understand how and why men and women moved to the urban areas and to document their livelihood strategies and aspirations after migration. The findings highlight the increasing importance of urban centers in household livelihood diversification in the region, but also show that maintaining ties to rural areas is a key strategy for migrants. Strong rural-urban ties enabled respondents and their rural household members or relatives to balance risk and effectively manage assets. Those respondents who lacked rural ties were the most vulnerable members of the study population. These were overwhelmingly widowed or abandoned women. The report ends with recommendations for national and international actors working in the Karamoja region.