Relief News

Afghanistan: Rural-Urban Migration Study


October 20, 2014
Organization: People in Need
Country: Afghanistan
Closing date: 30 Oct 2014


In 2013, PIN secured funding from the European Union Food Security Programme for Linking Relief to Rehabilitation and Development in Afghanistan. As part of this project, PINs seek to inform humanitarian/ development actors and policy makers on the causes and extent of rural-urban migration, driving factors in the phenomenon and map the financial activities of rural migrants, including remittances to families remaining in the rural areas and the uses of those remittances.

A number of policy documents have been approved by the Afghan government in 2013; among them, the Afghanistan Food Security and Nutrition Agenda and the IDP policy. Their implementation though is still to be formulated. The study will contribute relevant data to the policy debate on issues of rural and urban food insecurity and poverty, displacement and migration in a context of growing urbanization in Afghanistan, and simultaneously provide program recommendations for practitioners in the field.

In the project area, much like in the wider Hindu-Kush region, labour migration constitutes an important livelihood strategy[1] and, during the time of crises, it tends to take on more significance. the current level of understanding by the wider humanitarian and development community is lagging behind the rhetoric on LRRD, and a better understanding of the drivers and dynamics of the household economy in rural areas of Afghanistan as well as patterns of migration, coping strategies and traditional collective mechanisms, is required.

The root causes of labour migration, the migrants, their work at the destination, the magnitude of remittances and their investment is currently not well understood at the rural level, where the discussion revolves around the main axes of "economic" versus "conflict induced" migration, and the policy of promoting returnees to place of origin, irrespective of the prevailing economic conditions. Given the circumstances in the proposed target area with very few economic activities available, and the dependency on remittances[2], it is perceived as a serious gap. To address this gap, PIN proposes to undertake a desk and field based study on migration. The current call is for a consultant to undertake the desk review, design the tools and methodology for the study, supervise the conduction of the study in the field, and submit a final report.

Scope and Objectives of the Research

Five main specific objectives can be identified:

Understanding the complex issue of the household economy in rural areas better. This aspect will link closely to the Household Economy Analysis which will be conducted under the ECHO funded ERM consortium of which PIN became a partner in June 2012. This has resulted in improved understanding of the need for relief and recovery interventions, instead of over reliance on "spot-assessments" predominantly used.

Exploring the preferences of the agriculture localities and movements of the inhabitants between project areas - Aqpruk, Chakana, Abdoulgan, Baluch. Distinquishing the economic reasons from physical feasibility of the agriculture activities, namely those linked to movements between lower and upper rainfed catchment areas.

Mapping of mobile phone banking services and exploring opportunities for further introduction of these, and to substitute or reduce the cost of existing hawala systems used for remittances.

Targeted capacity building of potential migrants from remote areas to improve opportunities for skilled labour migration. The study is to suggest several type of informal vocational trainings to be offered to local labour migrants in order to increase their skills and abilities

Provide information on financial literacy among our target areas, disaggregated by gender

The results of this study will be published following discussion with the EC and other interested partners. In order to further the understanding of rural - urban migration, and feed this back into policy and funding decisions for future interventions, a series of joint workshops with stakeholders will be conducted, including with international NGO partners, donors, and stakeholders in the Afghan government.

The consultant:

PIN is seeking a consultant to develop the design and methodology of the study in a four week period in Afghanistan, for PIN staff to roll out over the course of the project.

The study to aim to answer the following questions:

Is migration an ex-ante risk management strategy (e.g. response to the lack of employment or, rather, an ex-post response to specific shocks?

What is required in order to migrate - what circumstances need to be in place? What if you are too poor to migrate?

Who are the migrants? Men or women? Educated or unskilled? Rich or poor? What percentage of population migrates?

What are the reasons that force people into migrating (related to question 1)? Security? Income generation? Agriculture conditions?

What kind of work labour migrants are engaged in? Seasonal or long term? What type of labour?

National and international migration - what are the characteristics of each? What is the income generating potential of each? (including traditional rural-urban migration, plus economic migration and casual labour)

To what degree do remittances contribute to overall household income (in other words, are earnings spent on the wage earner him/herself or contribute to the overall household income? What is the magnitude of remittances and what percentage of the overall household income does it represent. The study will include clear and practicable recommendations for people working at both policy and practitioner level.

Regarding the remittances, an analysis of locally available financial services - such as hawala system, banking services or mobile phone banking will be part of the study

Back-up financial solutions, in the case of remittances failing to come through, such as money lenders, micro-finance services and banking services will also be mapped to provide a full spectrum of the financial activities of migrants.

Context of Research

The security situation in Afghanistan varies by region, but is generally characterized by a summer "fighting season" and a relative lull period during the winter months. Overall, security is quite good in the project areas of Southern Balkh Province and Mazar e Sherif City. to the rural areas be dealt with? However, it is difficult to predict the situation in 2014 given the nation-wide presidential elections 2nd round planned in June, and the gradual withdrawal of international forces by the end of 2014. In such a context, the researcher or Consultancy Company is required to maintain a high level of flexibility to adapt to the changing security environment in Afghanistan (or some of the cities) by adjusting its timeline and work schedule.


The exact methodology should be proposed by the consultants in their expression of interest. It should include as a minimum:

Secondary data review

Qualitative primary data collection through focus group discussions to shed light on the research questions and inform the design of the questionnaire for the survey. Primary data collection (quantitative)

The researcher can also use, but not be limited to using the following methods: desk review of secondary information, field visits and observation, focus group and individual discussions, key informant interviews, and stakeholder consultation at various levels in the program location. PIN proposes the following major activities and timeline:

Expected tasks of the Research Consultant/Consultancy Company

1) Conduct a desk review of the relevant and recent research on the topic

2) Conduct discussions/meetings with key stakeholders in Afghanistan

3) Development of methodology and actual tools to be used in order to conduct the study

4) Supervise the piloting of the methodology

5) Train PIN staff in the methodology and ethics of conducting such studies

6) Random sampling for household surveys should be used where appropriate

7) Supervise the conducting of focus group discussions and household surveys in the field

8) Submit a report within the agreed timeframe to PIN on the results

Expected Deliverables

Short report summarizing the desk review of existing data and studies

Presentation to PIN of tools to be used for the study

Written description of methodology to be employed

Piloting of tools

Final report of the study

Research Consultant or Consultancy company's Expertise

Post-graduate degree in Development or other related subjects;

Experience in Development, Rural Livelihoods, or IDP/Returnees;

Excellent social research skills with a portfolio of previous research in a similar field and context;

Excellent English writing skills;

Experience in the use of participatory methodologies and developing gender sensitive evaluation methodologies;

Experience working in conflict affected contexts;

Previous experience working with digital data gathering processes is desirable;

Previous experience working in Afghanistan is desirable;

Knowledge of Dari and/or Pashto is desirable;

Willingness to travel to the field in Afghanistan.

[1] Ghobadi et al. 2005; Hoermann et al. June 2010

[2] During the drought in 2011, over 40% of households listed remittances as their largest or second largest source of income in the proposed target area.

How to apply:
Research Consultants or Consulting companies meeting the above criteria are invited to submit proposals by e-mail to The position will be recruited on a rolling basis.. Please write "Rural Migration Study" in the subject line.

Proposals should include the following:

Clearly state in the beginning if the application is for an independent researcher or a consultancy company.

A brief proposal (no longer than 5 pages), explaining the proposed methodology for the research and structure of the final report.

CV(s) of the consultant(s), outlining relevant experience and accomplishments. In case of a consultancy company, CVs of all relevant personnel to prove the capacity to provide a full report (statistician and digital illustrator, etc.)

Two work-related references, preferably related to similar assignments.

One sample of a similar work assignment/product.

Proposed budget.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

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