Looking into the Future: Using Drawings and Interviews to Uncover Migration Expectations Among Rural Ugandan Youth

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Abstract

Rural youth in developing countries make many important decisions about their future including whether to remain in their village or move to the city. The goal of this study was to investigate the migration intentions of rural youth in Uganda and how drawings of their village and the city might reflect these intentions. Participants included 72 youth ages 11–17 years recruited from a public school in the Kibaale district of western Uganda. Participants drew one picture of their village and one picture of Uganda’s capital city, Kampala. Two days later, 30 participants completed an interview regarding intentions to migrate to the city. Results from the drawings suggest that youth see the village and city as affording different opportunities. Interviews revealed that most youth, especially females and older youth, want to migrate to the city, and reasons for moving include obtaining better jobs and because the city has nicer amenities. Intentions to migrate were not strongly reflected in the drawings of the village and city. This study suggests that rural youth in developing countries have similar migration intentions as rural youth in developed countries and, though drawings may not clearly uncover migration intentions, using drawings in future research should be considered.

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