Land disappearing beneath your feet – environmental migration in the Sundarbans

by Colette Mortreux, Rituparna Hajra and Tuhin Ghosh (DECCMA)

Like all deltas, the islands in the Sundarbans are constantly being remoulded by environmental forces. Formation and reformation of islands results from the balance (or otherwise) between inflows of water and sediment load. When rainfall or snowmelt in the highlands is high, the greater erosive force of the river reduces the size of the islands; but when water in the river is reduced it encourages sedimentation and the growth of the islands. Sea level rise also plays a role in the dynamic environment.

Map 1: location of Ghoramara and Sagar islands in the Indian Bengal delta

Map 1: location of Ghoramara and Sagar islands in the Indian Bengal delta

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Ghoramara island, in the Hoogly estuary in the southwest of the Sundarbans (map 1), was formed in the early 20th century. Particularly high water levels submerged a larger island – Sagar (see map 1), resulting in the formation of five additional islands. It remained relatively stable when the freshwater flow from the Ganges River was fairly stable. Underground tectonic movements then led to a slight shift eastwards in the course of the Ganges. The result was that water inflow was significantly reduced and, as the dynamics in the estuary responded, Ghoramara began to be eroded. Its land area has halved in less than 40 years – from 8.5km2 in 1975, to less than 4.5km2 in 2012 (map 2).

Map 2: Shrinking area of Ghoramara island between 1975-2012

Map 2: Shrinking area of Ghoramara island between 1975-2012

Recognising the dynamism of deltas, in the late 1970s the Government of West Bengal declared Ghoramara island as ‘No man’s land’. Support for protective infrastructure, such as the construction of embankments, and services such as health, drinking water and education was stopped. As the land disappeared beneath their feet, the 5000 inhabitants of Ghoramara had no choice but to leave their homes – true environmental migrants.

Together with environmental migrants from two other islands that has been completely submerged – Lohachara and Khasimara – residents of Ghoramara were resettled in seven colonies on other islands, or on the mainland. Land Records from Sagar Block highlighted that legal titles, or pattas, were granted to the environmental migrants to Sagar Island. First phase migrants in the 1970s and 1980s, mainly from the submerged Lohachara sland, received 1.2-1.6 acres per each household. Those from Khasimara and Ghoramara tended to migrate later, in the 1990s. They were granted smaller plots (0.4 to 0.8 acres) but also received a one room house from the government schemes (Indira Awas Yojana).

Environmental migrants to Sagar Island were also supported with activities to enable them to rebuild their livelihoods. Stable embankment, fresh water ponds were constructed, and government food rations were available until they became established (including 300 gms wheat and 500 gms rice per head per week).

Figure 1b: Population Growth Trend in Sagar Island during 1971-2001 (Source: Ghosh et al. 2014)

Figure 1b: Population Growth Trend in Sagar Island during 1971-2001 (Source: Ghosh et al. 2014)

Figure 1a: Population Growth Trend in Ghoramara Island during 1971-2001 (Source: Ghosh et al. 2014)

Figure 1a: Population Growth Trend in Ghoramara Island during 1971-2001 (Source: Ghosh et al. 2014)

The problem is that the ongoing influx of migrants led to population growth in Sagar Island exceeding projections (figure 1a & b). This has placed a strain on resources. Resettled migrants now complain of degradation in their living conditions, including lack of availability of drinking water and sanitation.

Neither India’s national government nor the state government of West Bengal have resettlement and rehabilitation policies to cover displaced people, which means that there is also no planned compensation package. Population pressure and the resultant demands on resources mean it is not realistic to expect the authorities in the receiving areas to provide livelihood compensation for environmental migrants. Some are able to practice fishing, deep sea fishing, and agriculture. Others are forced to migrate again, shifting the problem elsewhere. Given that the nature of the delta means land is going to continue to disappear beneath people’s feet, a proactive approach by government is necessary to provide for environmental migrants.

 

 

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Left-behind women, left-behind wives

by Georgia Prati

The gendered impact of migration in the Mahanadi delta

Woman preparing food

Woman preparing food

Bina lives in a remote village situated on a spit of land at the crossing of the rivers Brahamani, Hansua and Kharasrota. Her husband is working in Delhi while she is looking after their two children, one boy and one girl. They live in a mud house, on the edge of the Brahamani. It is their third house, the first was lost in the river 15 years ago and the second house had to be evacuated three years ago for the same reason.

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She stares at the water flow determined to show me the exact location of their previous house when she suddenly says “It’s there! Our second house was right there. There was also some agricultural land next to it but now is all lost” her finger points towards the downriver, her tone is powerful, almost excited. I couldn’t help myself from thinking that I would have been devastated if I was talking about my house submerged by the river but, as she will explain later, environmental challenges are the norm in this area. Something you get used to since you are a child, something you learn to cope with and eventually accept as part of your everyday life. Yet, she admits to fear that the river will also take the house where she is currently living and to get nervous sometimes during flood events especially because she is alone with two children. Soon after the birth of their first child, Bina’s husband migrated to Delhi to work as plumber, a common employment for migrants from Kendrapara whose plumbing skills are notorious. He was previously working in agriculture but when they lost the last of their 4 acres land in the river, and he realised that there was no job in the locality, he decided to migrate. At the beginning Bina was living with her in laws in an extended family “I was the youngest sister in law, thus I was the primary carer and I had to ask for permission to leave the house to my mother and sister in law but it was nice to share things, prepare food and eat together”. Odisha3Few years and several economic disputes later, her husband decided to separate. Therefore, she is now living alone with her children in a one room mud house made of a tiny little entrance, a thatched roof made of rice straws, one bed and a small shrine for God’s worship. She receives around 4,000 rupees in remittances every month that she uses for the family primary needs and medical expenses, just enough for living without resorting to loans to make ends meet. Joining her husband in Delhi is not an option, it is too expensive for the whole family to live there. He only returns home once a year for 15 days. “What does it mean to be left-behind?” I ask. She looks at me and takes a deep breath “It means to depend on others and to bear the whole brunt of the responsibilities. If my children want something or they are sick I have to ask my brother to accompany me to the market or to the hospital. I often feel overburden. I can’t give my children the time and attentions they deserve”. Social norms impede women from leaving the village unaccompanied, in some cases they cannot even leave the house. For this reason, men usually take care of any activity that takes place outside the village such as shopping for groceries, going to the bank or accompany family members to the doctor. When men migrate women depend on relatives or neighbours to address these needs. I ask Bina if there is any positive in having a more active role in decision-making, especially concerning financial decisions as she manages the remittances. “The positive aspects are outnumbered by the negatives. I have to think about everything by myself, I don’t feel comfortable and I often feel very emotional. Being alone makes you foolish!” she adds “When my husband is here I feel free”.

OdishaI left Bina with many questions still floating around in my head but it was almost lunch time and she had to start cooking. She made me think about the socio-psychological impact of migration, especially when it is so gender biased. In Kendrapara, a coastal district of the Mahanadi delta, sociocultural norms restrict women’s mobility and access to paid work resulting in larger numbers of women left behind by migrating husbands, brothers and sons. Trapped in challenging environments and disadvantaged by unequal gender and power relations they brave life alone in patriarchal societies where most activities are dominated by men. This often implies having low or no access to assets and services (i.e. credit, capital, livelihoods) and a very low bargaining power. Their strength and ability to thrive and take care of the household despite the difficulties is astonishing but I was also taken aback by the psychological bearing. Although there are differences in terms of exhaustion, mobility and power, depending on factors such as their kinship, age or the household composition, an almost common trait is a sentiment of unhappiness, resignation and loneliness. Migration is accepted for the sake of the family wellbeing or, in most cases, survival but it is very rarely reported by women as an optimal choice. As I was leaving Bina’s house she took my hands and said “Even if I want my husband to return, I know that we don’t have any other choice. I want my children to study and have a better life. What can I do? I hold on and when I’m desperate I cry. I don’t share these feelings with my husband, he is there to work I don’t want to upset him”. She then went to collect the rice straw for cooking, there are still so many things to do until dusk that there is almost no time for her to think about the future.

*Bina is a fantasy name used to protect the privacy and anonymity of the respondent.

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Conducting fieldwork in a highly stratified society

 – On the use of participatory visual methods to engage with the marginalised within Indian rural communities

by Tristan Berchoux

Social issues in rural India

Inequalities are omnipresent within Indian rural communities. They are perpetuated by the system of castes, which leads to a social stratification of India’s population. Moreover, vulnerability to external stresses is also driven by gender discrimination, which follows on from the systemic marginalisation of women and the differences of power relationships that exist between men and women, especially in India. In order to get an overview of communities, social scientists have to face the challenge of getting access to the views of such marginalised groups. This blog presents some of the methods I implemented to address this issue during a research fieldwork conducted in the Mahanadi Delta in India during winter 2016.

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Methods to get the voices of marginalised groups out

As part of our work associated with the characterisation of livelihood dynamics under the threat of external stresses, we’ve conducted an in-depth fieldwork in the Mahanadi Delta in India. First, the fieldwork team interviewed members of governmental agencies, NGO representatives and academics in Bhubaneswar. Then, the team spent 6 weeks conducting Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) in 10 rural communities in the Districts of Nayagarh, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara, spending 2 to 3 days in each community. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was chosen as the main method for creating primary data as it enables rural communities to share, enhance and analyse their knowledge of life and condition. Different activities were used to cross-check the data collected and to cover all the aspects of livelihood systems, such as wealth ranking, seasonal calendar or community mapping. The PRAs were conducted by one researcher with the help of a translator and a facilitator who were trained before conducting the activities. The researcher monitored the evolution of the PRA and provided guidance to the translator and facilitator.

Implementing PRA in a class and gender-based structure

Focus groups conducted for each PRA activity were purposely held separately between men and women to capture gender differences and to give women, who suffer from a lack of recognition in India, the opportunity to express their opinions and issues. It enabled the women to express their opinions in an environment free from the power pressure of men, focus groups being conducted by a female translator. In some communities, implementing such an approach raised discussions amongst men, many arguing that “women should not be consulted because they don’t know anything”. This example of the social pressure existing between genders was also felt between castes and we also conducted PRAs with Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) separately. This enabled us to gain access to the opinions of women and socially marginalised groups.

Photovoice to increase participation during PRAs

However, we were also confronted to the ‘habitus’ of social stratification: even with homogenous groups of socially marginalised groups (women, SCs/STs), it appeared to be sometimes difficult to animate the focus group and to co-create the primary data. This lack of participation can be explained by the fact that such groups cannot express their opinions within the community and this pressure remains during focus groups. In order to get round this issue, we decided to add another activity during the PRAs. This activity, called photovoice (www.photovoice.org), is a participatory visual method that uses photography to initiate discussion within the focus groups. After a one-hour training course and the identification of a theme (“household and community assets that are important for their livelihoods), participants were given a camera each for two days so they could document the theme. After the two days, we met in a focus group to review the photos and discuss them. This method was a real success and marginalised participants (women, SCs/STs) got very involved. It led to very interesting discussions that had not been tackled within the previous activities and was a successful way to get the opinions of such groups out.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, it is necessary to extend the range of methods used in social sciences in order to capture the diversity of opinions that exist across the different social stratum within communities. As an example, we successfully used the visual method Photovoice to initiate discussion and get the opinion of marginalised groups such as women and scheduled castes and tribes. The challenge now is to integrate such methods in vulnerability assessment and to take such groups into account in the design of public policies.

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Motivations and challenges of integrating local peoples views into a deterministic model

by Gregory Cooper

From predicting traffic to budgeting monthly expenses, mental models inform everyday decisions by relating possible conditions (e.g. number of cars) to expected outputs (e.g. delay length). As with computational models, mental models are continuously updated as new information comes to light. Consequently, no two perceptions of the world are the same, shaped by individual experiences of interpersonal relationships, culture and the environment around us.

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Mental models have played important roles in the history of Chilika: a 1000 km2 coastal lagoon in the Mahanadi delta, India. For instance, it was hoped that the legalisation of shrimp aquaculture in 1991 would bring economic prosperity by diversifying local livelihoods and boosting annual fishery production. Instead, benefits were reaped by non-native aquaculture entrepreneurs, triggering cultural and socio-economic instability. The institutional settings soon adjusted, largely due to local pressures and scientific contributions of the newly formed Chilika Development Authority (CDA), leading to the banning of shrimp aquaculture in 2001.
Mental models also prompted studies of Chilika’s sediment dynamics in the 1990s, resulting in the new tidal outlet which has since increased fishery productivity 10-fold. Going forward, a balance exists between the institutional-led discouragement of juvenile catch and the desires of some fishers to maximise hauls.
I (very excitedly) travelled to Chilika in early 2016, hoping that both my mental and system dynamics model (SDM) would benefit from exposure to the system and its people. Until February 2016, my SDM was projecting future fishery production from empirical data and published work only. Interviews could tap into decades of experience working, living and ‘dancing’ with the system, as the pioneering system dynamicists Donella Meadows would say. I concentrated on how Chilika’s fishers, scientists and governors perceive the causes of the 1990s collapse, the subsequent recovery and the lagoon’s future. I also hoped the insights would help model evaluation and provide governance scenarios for simulation.
In practice, various barriers exist to integrating qualitative data into SDMs. For example, SDMs assume lumped populations making the same decisions, different to agent-based modelling which can simulate individual decisions. Yet workarounds exist, like disaggregating populations and/or estimating proportions making a decision for a given condition. For example, the former principle splits Chilika’s fishers into traditional and motorised fleets, associated with different fishing schedules and catch capacities; the latter workaround estimates the proportion of traditional fishers purchasing motorised boats for a given average income.
Furthermore, interviews may provide a quantity of opinions which cannot all be incorporated into the model’s finite structure. Therefore, it is useful to consider the rationale bounds of each stakeholder to understand how each mental model is shaped. Regional scientific experts may possess holistic system understanding, whilst fishers live and breathe the conditions important to their activities. Prior to the interviews, I was debating spatially disaggregating the fisher population into northern, central, southern and outer channel fleets. But from the fisher interviews I learnt northern sector fishers commute south to exploit the relatively abundant fish stock, dispelling my preconceived idea that fishers rigidly stick to their locality.
Overall, the field visit exposed me to different qualitative insights not acquirable from my desk. Understanding that traditional fishing communities may collectively begin using motorised boats when socio-economically favourable has highlighted how fishers adapt to intensify practices. Paradoxically, fishers exhibited environmental stewardship during the 1990s collapse by limiting their days fished, doing their bit to calm extraction stresses.
And finally, discussions with state and district level policymakers helped design feasible management approaches to test within the model (e.g. continued ecological restoration, bans, alternative livelihoods). The issue of policy implementation and adherence was continuously stressed, meaning any policies simulated in the SDM must be framed as ‘if all fishers complied with regulations, the resulting dynamics may be as follows…’, which is important for model design and scope. A big thank you to all who shared their mental models with me!

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Indian Bengal Delta State Level Stakeholder Workshop 2nd Round

indian bengal stakeholder workshop

Indian Bengal stakeholder workshop

The second State level Stakeholders’ Workshop in Indian Bengal Delta (IBD) was organized with active support from Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal on 10th November, 2016 in Kolkata.

With this workshop, the DECCMA India team tried a new strategy to ensure wholesome participation from government departments. The team approached the Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal, to send out invites for this workshop. A total of 19 Departments from the State Government Departments, and 4 Chambers of Commerce and 4 Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were invited for the Meet through the office of the Principal Secretary, Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal. This was beneficial as the number of senior government officials attending the workshop was more than the last workshop.

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The meeting was presided by the Principal Secretary, Mr. Arnab Ray, IAS, Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal. In his inaugural speech, Mr. Ray mentioned about the West Bengal State Action Plan on Climate Change and how the Line Departments are trying to implement the plan collectively.

DECCMA’s initial findings were shared with all to give an idea how we are approaching towards our research goals. The different government departments and NGOs were invited to share their experiences relating to DECCMA’s key areas of climate change, vulnerability, migration and adaptation. While the issue of climate induced migration due to possible loss of livelihood came up a number of times, we learnt of successful adaptation instances to make alternative livelihoods, renewable energy, viable for all.

Garnering stakeholders’ opinions and feedback is crucial to DECCMA’s research as it opts for a stakeholder-driven approach. Stakeholders’ feedbacks were collected on Evaluation Criteria of Successful Adaptation and Barriers to Policy Implementation. The research team, comprising members from Jadavpur University and Centre for Environment and Development, helped the attendees by guiding how to fill the questionnaires and resolving any queries. Difficulties with the questionnaire and suggestions to simplify those were received from the stakeholders.

This stakeholder workshop gave us a day to exchange our experiences, findings, and learning to strentgthen our work.

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5th DECCMA Consortium Meeting in Ffort Raichak near Kolkata, India

5th DECCMA meeting Ffort Raichak

Modelling team discussion

Before travelling to India for the 5th DECCMA consortium meeting I was constantly checking the weather forecast for Kolkata. Being one of the DECCMA northern team members and never having been in India before the idea of 35oC and heavy rain made me feel a bit uncomfortable. However on our way from the airport to our 70 km away conference venue Ffort Raichak nobody was thinking about rain (there was none) nor temperature. All that counted was hoping that the “mariokart – style” bus driver would deliver us at the hotel in one piece (which he did).

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Luckily we had the rest of the day to recover from the trip before the meeting took off in full speed. After half a day of meetings amongst our seven work packages each of them presented an up-date to the plenary. This was continued on the second day and followed by country up-dates.

Key to the country presentations were what we like to call the “wow!” findings – significant findings that contribute to the knowledge base on climate change, migration and adaptation.

Key emerging findings from Ghana relate to attitudes to migration in the context of environmental stress. Living in an area identified for its prevalence of out-migration, 43% of the respondents would consider migrating as a positive option in response to environmental change in the future. This perception is informed by having seen and heard of the cases of other migrants. Knowing this has important policy implications as Ghana considers how to support adaptation in the Volta delta.

Findings from the Indian Bengal Delta (IBD) also illuminate our understanding of migration processes. What is apparent there is that there are clear hotspots where people prefer to migrate. Again this has important policy implications in terms of knowing where population is likely to grow (or diminish) due to migration.

In the Mahanadi Delta findings counter the common belief that floods are bad and need to be stopped. People from various villages actually consider low and moderate intensity flood to be “Blessings in Disguise”. This is because floods bring prosperity to agricultural households. This occurs in three ways: agricultural production is improved firstly because of the improvements in soil fertility; and secondly because the floods eliminate weeds; and floods also bring fish which serve as an extra source of protein.

In Bangladesh, research on the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) delta highlighted their finding that thrust force is a critical cause of damage to infrastructure during storm surges. They are also investigating the duration of storm surge-driven salinity. These results have practical implications for adaptation, because local authorities can make well informed decisions when building or renewing infrastructure such as roads, houses and cyclone shelters in the affected regions.

Beyond the findings from each delta, it was great to see that GBM and IBD have joined forces to learn from each other. The entire team is really looking forward to their next joint steps and what emerges when the delta is considered as a biophysical system without the political boundaries.

Obviously a lot more exciting things were passed on between the researchers, and good plans were made for the coming months. But in such a large and geographically dispersed consortium, such meetings allow an invaluable opportunity for team building. Those of us that are new can put faces to the names previously only known through email addresses, and for those who knew each other already the opportunity to touch base again reinvigorates enthusiasm going forward.

By the way while being in Ffort Raichak there was hardly any rain but still it was so hot and humid that one was soaked form the inside when taking more than 10 steps outside an acclimatised room. However me personally I had the pleasure of experiencing very serious rain when staying on in Kolkata for a few days after the meeting.

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A new tool to measure disaster cost

A new tool developed by National Institute of Disaster Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to measure Disaster Cost

In order to gather a more accurate and scientifically developed assessment of relief and reconstruction packages for disaster-hit regions, the government of India has come up with a new scientific tool based on a UN model which will use satellite imagery and on-ground assessments to measure direct and indirect damages, besides opportunity cost lost due to disasters. The average annual economic losses due to disasters in India are estimated to be $10 billion. This cost is almost equal the sum that the country spends on education and double the amount it spends on healthcare, annually. This tool, known as the Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA), developed by the National Institute of Disaster Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, is ready for trial and a pilot test will be conducted in a calamity-hit region. It is likely that the government would engage the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation as part of the National Sample Survey and project predictable economic losses in disaster prone areas. Future allocation of funds made by the Centre to the states, for relief and reconstruction, will be based on PDNA assessment. Source: 19th September, 2016, Times of India, Kolkata

DECCMA invited to comment on the Draft Climate Change Action Plan of Odisha at the Mahanadi Stakeholder Workshop

The second round of State Level Stakeholder Workshop for the Mahanadi Delta, organized by Chilika Development Authority and Sansristi in collaboration with Jadavpur University (Lead Institution, DECCMA–India) was held at Bhubaneswar, Odisha on August 9, 2016.

The objectives of the workshop were to share some initial findings from DECCMA and receive stakeholder feedback on the same. The workshop also aimed to seek stakeholders’ responses to Barriers to Policy implementation in the context of adaptation and also learn what according to them should be the criteria for evaluating successful adaptation.

The stakeholders included representatives from Government Departments such as Department of Agriculture, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Forest and Environment-Climate change cell (Govt. of Odisha), ICZM Project-Odisha, Department of Revenue and Disaster Management. There were stakeholders from Utkal University and Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT), Scientific Institutions, NGOs, Network organizations, funding agencies and INGOs. District Forest Officials, Researchers and grass root civil society organizations. A total of 35 stakeholders (30 males and 5 females) attended the workshop and all signed the DECCMA Sign-In sheet as a part of the ethical considerations that the project undertakes.

Some noteworthy points that emerged from this workshop:

  • Paucity of gender disaggregated data in agriculture is an issue. Thus forming pro-gender policy is a challenge. A gender cell may come up soon to tackle the issue in a structured manner. The agriculture department is committed towards a gender inclusive policy.
  • With regard to migration, stakeholders mentioned that deltas are not only sending areas, but also receiving areas but there is paucity of data.
  • Stakeholders acknowledged that almost every year Odisha faces disasters like floods, droughts, cyclones etc. Most of the population along the coastal area depends on agriculture and fisheries and both are affected by climate change. And hence migration is imminent.
  • Stakeholders discussed about the registration process of migrants that is being done by the Panchayati Raj department. Tracking of migrants through these registers will be a good move to understand the dynamics of migration.
  • Some adaptation success stories were also shared which included training opportunities which has ensured migration of skilled labour to even international destinations. This has seen a boost in the local economy owing to the remittances being sent.

Representatives from the Department of Environment and Forest, Climate Change Cell shared that the action plan for Odisha was done in 2010, following which it has been evaluated in terms of its successful implementation and a document has been published incorporating the activities of the department. A draft action plan on climate change for the period 2015 to 2020 has been uploaded online. Having a working experience in Odisha on Climate Change, Migration, and Adaptation, DECCMA was invited to share its comments on the draft document.

This stakeholder interaction has given DECCMA a chance to participate in processes which will have effect on the end-users of its research.

DECCMA India’s Household Survey in Mahanadi Delta

The DECCMA Household Survey went live on May 31 2016 and was completed on July 19 2016. A survey company was appointed (according to our survey protocol) and representatives from Jadavpur University, Chilika Development Authority, and Sansristi were present from the project.

Prior to this, training of enumerators, field testing of the questionnaire with the use of tablets, were done.

Households from fifty locations within our study area were selected for this survey based on migrant and non-migrant as emerged from our household listing activity. The survey team travelled to four locations in Bhadrak district, eight locations in Jagatsinghpur district, five locations in Kendrapara district, twelve locations in Khordha district, and twenty one locations in Puri district to complete this survey.

A total of 1427 households were surveyed which included both migrant and non-migrant households, and male and female respondents. DECCMA’s gender sensitive approach ensured that male enumerators interviewed male respondents and female enumerators interviewed female respondents.

The biggest challenge faced by the team during this activity was the heat wave. Odisha was suffering heat wave conditions since April and temperatures almost touched 50 degree Celsius during the survey. Necessary precautions were taken by carrying sufficient water and glucose. The afternoons were the worst and we had members from the survey team suffering blackouts due to the extreme heat. Some had to be hospitalised as well. Under such conditions, the survey had to be paused for a few days.

During the data collection phase, some locations were revisited to maximise the response percentage. This was done since during the main data collection phase, there were some households where members were not present or unavailable to give responses at our time of visit.

Simultaneously with the data collection, continued the data checking processes. The research team put in hard efforts to ensure that checking was done meticulously. The data from this survey will be guiding most of our research work.

Since the DECCMA Indian team works in two deltas (Indian Bengal Delta and Mahanadi Delta), learning from this survey in Mahanadi Delta will help us in implementing it in the survey for the Indian Bengal Delta.

The DECCMA-India team thanks all who have participated, guided, contributed, and helped in this Mahanadi Household Survey activity.

Out-migration and effects on women in the Mahanadi delta

DECCMA is committed to providing policy support to develop sustainable, gender-sensitive adaptations within deltaic environments. Taking a gender-sensitive approach to the research process, and ensuring that data can be analysed with a gender lens, are integral to achieving this aim.

Awareness of the importance of gender has increased as a result of global commitments, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action. The recently-announced Sustainable Development Goals includes one where the aim is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender equality and empowerment of women also features in the text of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

At local level, however, gender differences are pervasive. Understanding context-specific differences in the roles of men and women, and the relations between them, is essential. Only when these are known is it possible to ensure that planned adaptations are equitable and contribute to gender equality.

In this clip, University of Southampton PhD researcher Giorgia Prati explains how she is investigating the effects of out-migration on women left behind in the Mahanadi delta, India.