Factors Impacting the Migratory Decision-making of Wolofs in The Gambia

Title

Factors Impacting the Migratory Decision-making of Wolofs in The Gambia

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Research Question

Why are Gambians leaving their country in droves? Annually, 1.5% of the Gambian population migrates out of the country. Having lived with a Wolof family while in the Peace Corps and having mastered the language, Goldsmith investigates the factors that impact decision-making among Wolofs migrating abroad.

Award

Centennial Fellowship in Global Studies

Significance

In Wolof, a common parting greeting is be benen yoon or “until another road.” This greeting can also refer to another path, one which brings prosperity, empowerment, and opportunity. Often, this other path leads Gambians to relocate permanently abroad, also leading to a displacement crisis, which is altering The Gambia in myriad ways. In search of opportunity, both of a better life and larger income, many Africans are migrating from their countries of origin to more industrialized nations for politico-economic and environmental reasons, as well as for the more insidious psychological motives imbedded in preconceived notions of a better life elsewhere. By collecting the stories of Wolof migrants as well as their friends and family, a picture can be painted of the issues which may have forced these Gambians to make the difficult decision of whether to stay or to go.

Methods Used

The proposed research will use three constituent elements as push/pull factors of the Wolof out-migration process: politico-economic, environmental, and sociocultural. By interviewing Wolofs in their communities, who have migrated or plan to migrate, as well as their friends and families, my research will determine how these three constituent elements combine, in unique ways, to motivate migration-related decision-making among potential migrants and their families.

Publication Date

2016

Disciplines

International and Area Studies

Factors Impacting the Migratory Decision-making of Wolofs in The Gambia

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