Amelie Tobben

I had the chance to work with ULAB-CSD in the context of the field research for my Master in Global Development from the University of Copenhagen. Being interested in climate change and livelihood strategies, my research focuses on environmental migrants and how they make a living in urban informal settlements. Bangladesh is a country highly exposed to a variety of environmental stresses, such as floods, tropical storms, changing traditional rainfall patterns and droughts. With rural households in Bangladesh mainly building their livelihoods on natural resources and agricultural production, they are highly vulnerable to these environmental changes. Many households have lost their livelihoods in recent years due to changing climate and made the decision to move to other places, such as Dhaka.

The objective of my research was to place the people at the centre of attention in order to understand how they make a living in urban Bangladesh. By using the sustainable livelihoods framework, I am aiming to analyse the fragilities in the everyday life experiences of environmental migrants and to understand their diverse ways of life and living. For that purpose, I conducted mixed methods field research in two slums in Dhaka.

This experience was very valuable, especially due to the great support of CSD and especially by Dr. Samiya Selim. The whole staff provided me with a very warm welcome to the team and with a desk in their lively office in Dhanmondi. They helped me organising the practicalities and logistics surrounding the fieldwork and helped me finding committed students who supported me as research assistants and interpreters throughout the whole process of the field research in Dhaka. Leave alone the engaging and inspiring discussions with the CSD staff about my thesis and related topics. Furthermore, I gained an insight and was allowed to support CSD with a book project about environmental migrants.  I can only recommend the experience of being a visiting researcher at CSD and would like to thank everyone who made this experience so valuable to me.