conference pic for website

©Daria Menniti

A vibrant debate on the theme of adolescent girls’ migration took place on the 2nd of June during the Conference “Time to look at Girls: Adolescent Girls’ Migration and Development”. This event was co-organised by Terre des Hommes and saw the participation of academics, policy makers, activists and practitioners. The discussion focused on the findings of the 2-year research project and on the influence it can have on policy and practice.

The study was carried out by The Graduate Institute with the collaboration of Terre des Hommes.

What are the experiences, life choices and aspirations of adolescent girls and young women who migrate internally and internationally? In what ways does migration affect girls’ life, in terms of education, marriage, work and childbearing? What impact does girls’ migration have on wider development? What are the legal frameworks and policy that shape adolescent girls’ migration?

These are the main questions that inspired this debate.

The research explores experiences and trajectories of migration of adolescent girls in the Global South and contextualises their choices. The three countries taken as case studies are: Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Sudan. By considering different geographical realities, the research examines the impact that migration has on their own lives, families and communities as well as the forms of vulnerabilities and opportunities that migrant girls experience.

Girls as protagonists of their future

The conference started with the presentations of the country reports and findings from Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Sudan. Among the identified reasons that may lead girls to leave their communities of origin, we find: poverty, early marriages, education, abduction and abuse. Nonetheless, the difficult context in which they were born and grown up is not sufficient to explain their choice to migrate. In fact, a crucial aspect of the girls’ migration phenomenon is their role as entrepreneurial actors of the society. Girls want to be and actually are protagonists of their future: they migrate to follow their own aspirations.

Among the speakers, there was the Minister of the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh, Ms. Nahida Sobhan and the Deputy Director General IOM, Ms. Laura Thompson, as well as experienced researchers, representative from the civil society and academics.

“Listening and understanding the opinions and aspirations of children is extremely relevant in all the programs that Terre des Hommes runs around the world.” Ignacio Packer, Terre des Hommes Secretary General.

Read “Are migrating girls more than passive victims?” (09 June 2016) – http://graduateinstitute.ch/ 

Watch the documentary film (trailer) of the research:

directed by Marco Speroni, produced and researched by Katarzyna E. Grabska, Nicoletta del Franco and Marina de Regt

Watch the video interview with Katarzyna Grabska and Ignacio Packer, Terre des Hommes Secretary General:

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