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The New Tendency of migration: is a young woman the new migration

profile?

Climate change impact and domestic violence in the Sahel region.

Anna Chierico

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen Universidad de Deusto December 2022

Supervisor: Dr. Mustafa Sezal, University of Groningen

This thesis is submitted for obtaining the master’s degree in International Humanitarian Action. By submitting the thesis, the author certifies that the text is from his/her hand, does not include the work of someone else unless clearly indicated, and that the thesis

has been produced in accordance with proper academic practices.

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Abstract

This thesis presents the results of a short-term research project conducted in 2022 on the various ways migration, climate change impact, and domestic violence in the Sahel region are intertwined. This connection is crucial to understanding a situation that is becoming more prevalent in Africa due to the economic crisis, structural inequality, and increased demography. Guided by a thematic approach, the study relied on a qualitative data collection method. Twenty-three semi-structured interviews were conducted in contexts of migration and climate change impact. Prior to the survey, thirty-three follow-up interviews were undertaken about migration, climate change, and domestic violence. Data were analyzed and presented as interpretive narratives. Drawing on generalized findings on the link between climate change and gender-based violence, this research intends to shed light on how this relationship might affect migration in an area that is thought to be vulnerable to climate change effects, taking the case study of the NGO Délégation Diocésaine des Migrations, based in Morocco. There is an intriguing connection between the effects of domestic abuse and climate change, which affects outmigration from the Sahel. In light of this, a young African woman is considered to represent the new migrant profile. This study also uncovered and reported other outcomes, such as the particular awareness of climate change.

Keywords: migration; climate change; gender-based violence; domestic violence; Sahel

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Abbreviations and acronyms

NGO Non-governmental organization

DDM Délégation Diocésaine des Migrations

GBV Gender-based violence

IPV Intimate partner violence

FGM Female genital mutilation

UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for

Refugees

IUCN International Union for Conservation of

Nature

UNDP United Nations Development Programme

UNDESA United Nations Department of Economic

and Social Affairs

IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate

Change

UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention

on Climate Change

FAO Food and Agriculture Organization

ILO International Labour Organization

LGBTQA+ Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender,

Queer, Intersex, and Asexual people collectively

ICMPD International centre for Migration Policy

Development.

EAEO East African Employees Organization

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List of figures and tables

Table 1: Sample ... 8 Figure 1: Research Design ... 11 Figure 2: Conceptual Framework ... 17 Figure 3: "Map of the Sahel showing agro-ecological zones and location-specific

examples of annual temperature and rainfall patterns.” (Tomalka et al., 2021) ... 19 Figure 4: "Percentage of adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 years who have undergone FGM, and percentage of women aged 20 to 24 years who were first married or in union before age 18" (United Nations Children’s Fund, 2022) ... 20 Figure 5: Linkage between Climate Change and Domestic Violence ... 60

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Acknowledgments

I want to thank all the people from whom I had the good fortune to be accompanied and supported during this thesis.

First, my supervisor Dr. Mustafa Ali Sezal, for following me every step of this path with excellent availability and, above all, patience and kindness.

My coordinator, drs. Ingrid Sennema for being concerned about the well-being of my classmates and me since day one of this master's degree. Thank you for taking our concerns to heart throughout the course of our study, despite the difficulties.

Délégation Diocésaine des Migrations team, I am honored to have been part of your complex and essential work in a very sensitive context. In particular, to Alvar Sanchez, who believed in me from the first moment. Thank you for supporting me with your esteem and intelligence in observing and listening to the whole team and me. You have been a guide, a constant reference point, and always pushed me to do more than I thought I could and, above all, to do better than I thought possible.

Special thanks for the opportunity to be a NOHA student. This master's degree allowed me to acquire the knowledge I need for my future career, but above all, it allowed me to have the privilege of knowing people of great value, including professors and students. I want to thank some people who taught me a lot and made me grow over these two years.

First of all, a precious person with whom I shared most of the hardships and joys of this journey. My brother, Caio, for teaching me to take life calmly and with self-esteem.

Thank you for the great friendship that will last a lifetime. Nastya, sensitive and very strong at the same time, thank you for teaching me to find a family in a small apartment on the top floor of a building in Bilbao. Olly for always managing to be there, despite the distance. Thank you for your energy, sei un sole. Merel, with whom I cannot wait to face a thousand other adventures; Ali, who always surprises me with his amazement for life and beauty; Maia, with whom I threw myself into significant challenges and with whom

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vi I grew up together. My Nador family: Resu, Amina, Blanca, Marta, Pau, and Mary. Thank you for being my support for a whole year. Hady, who taught me to love without fear.

My family for the constant support and for being my refuge. Grandma that continues to be my rock. My friends are my support. Margherita and Geraldine, thank you for understanding me without judgment. Mariacci and Lontroni, whom I admire so much;

my friends of a lifetime, Clara, Aurora, Chiara, Martina, Margherita, Irina, Amedeo, and Manu.

Thank you for everything you have taught me. You're all a piece of heart.

Finally, the greatest thanks I owe to the people subject to this thesis: Sahelian women. A thesis will never be enough to describe the facets of their lives I hope I have expressed most appropriately. This thesis is dedicated to you, women, fighters for a better life with less violence and more opportunities. Thank you for sharing a part of your life and showing me resilience through your strength.

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Table of contents

The New Tendency of migration: is a young woman the new migration profile? ... i

Abstract ... ii

Abbreviations and acronyms ...iii

List of figures and tables ... iv

Acknowledgments ... v

Table of contents ... vii

Section I ... 2

Chapter 1 - Introduction ... 2

1.1 Research problem... 2

1.2 Research aims and questions ... 3

1.3 Hypothesis... 4

1.4 Justification and relevance ... 5

1.5 Overview of the chapters ... 6

Section II: ... 7

Chapter 2 - Methodology ... 7

2.1 Study method and sampling ... 7

2.2 Data collection and analysis... 8

2.3 Ethics... 9

2.4 Expert consultation process and review ... 10

2.5 Limitations: ... 10

2.6 Research design ... 11

Chapter 3 - Conceptual Framework ... 12

3.1 Climate change and climate migration perception... 12

3.2 Gender-based violence and migration ... 13

3.3 Gender-based violence climate change, and migration synergies ... 15

Chapter 4 - Study area ... 18

4.1 Climate change vulnerability ... 18

4.2 Gender-based violence vulnerability ... 20

4.3 Conclusion ... 20

Section III ... 22

Results ... 22

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Chapter 5 - Climate change ... 23

5.1 Climate change meaning ... 23

5.2 Climate change perception ... 26

Chapter 6 - Domestic violence ... 32

6.1 Domestic violence perception and awareness... 32

6.2 Determinants of vulnerability ... 34

6.3 Domestic violence experienced ... 36

6.3.1 Domestic violence: intimate-partner and family violence ... 36

6.3.2 Domestic violence: cultural and traditional abuse ... 40

Chapter 7 - Migration drivers ... 42

7.1 Economic opportunities ... 42

7.2 Climate change impact and poverty and food insecurity ... 44

7.3 Domestic violence, poverty and food insecurity... 46

Conclusion of results section... 49

Section IV ... 51

Discussion ... 51

Findings’ overview ... 52

Chapter 8 - Migration tendency ... 53

8.1 Economic insecurity... 54

8.2 Climate change impact ... 55

8.3 Gender inequality and gender-based violence ... 56

8.4 The linkage between climate change and domestic violence ... 58

8.5 The new profile of migration: a young African woman ... 60

Chapter 9 - Additional outcomes and Limitations ... 63

9.1 Additional outcomes: Climate change awareness... 63

9.2 Limitations ... 65

Section V ... 67

Chapter 10: Conclusions ... 67

10.1 Recommendations for future research ... 69

References ... 71

Annex 1 : Ethical approval ... 81

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Section I

Chapter 1 - Introduction

The threat posed by climate change is now widely acknowledged as severe and inevitable.

Its long-term implications have an impact on the sustainable growth of all countries.

When governments cannot respond to and adapt to natural catastrophes, the severity of climate change consequences increases significantly. Due to the confluence of the biological system with the political and economic systems that contributed to the country's instability, certain nations or areas are more vulnerable to climate change effects. When the insecurity increases, different threats amplify against the population, such as gender-based violence, particularly against women and girls. A common consequence of the country's inability to find adaptation and mitigation methods is the decision of the individual to find their strategy, including migration. This study aims to understand how migration, climate change impact, and gender-based violence interact, with a particular focus on domestic violence. The experiences of women from sub- Saharan Africa who immigrated to Morocco serve as a lens to examine the effects of gender-based violence and climate change. The Sahel, which encompasses various nations in West and Central Africa, is the area of focus. It is characterized by high exposure to climate change and environmental degradation combined with political instability, conflicts, poverty, food insecurity, gender inequality, and demographic growth. The observation of the synergy between climate change, domestic violence, and migration is then analyzed to understand how it influences the new profile of migration.

This chapter presents the research problem before moving on to the study goal and questions. I provide three hypotheses I wish to investigate to clarify the research issues.

Next, the value of this study in the realm of humanitarian action and its justification is discussed. The thesis's organizational structure is then described.

1.1 Research problem

This thesis's research examines the factors that influenced individuals to migrate from the Sahel region to Morocco. Legislations and states usually consider international migrants

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3 into two types: economic migrants and refugees. This dichotomy is oversimplified for a subject with many nuances (Betts, 2010). Betts (2010) explains that survival migration is driven by the need to survive an unsafe situation such as war, persecution, violence, environmental change impact, state fragility, and livelihood collapse. Mobility accelerates when these interact. In the case of climate induced-migration, evidence suggests that internal migration is the most affected one. Internal displacement could affect 216 million people by 2050 as a result of slow-onset climate change consequences (Clement et al., 2021). The next stage after internal migration is international migration, which is anticipated by the Institute for Economics and Peace to result in 1.2 billion people leaving their country and moving abroad over the course of the next 30 years due to natural disasters and resource risks (2020). Climate migrants should be placed in the context of societal conditions that expose them to vulnerability (Faist & Schade, 2013).

These conditions are related to the inequality structures in which they live, which can lead to high exposure to climate change and other aspects such as structural and interpersonal violence. With their research in Central America, Brenden et al. (2017) show gender- based violence as the primary cause of emigration for women. This study focuses on climate change impact and gender-based violence as influencing factors of migration, considering the case study of the NGO Délégation Diocésaine des Migrations (DDM), an NGO based in Nador and Senegal.

1.2 Research aims and questions

The overarching aim of this study is to learn more about the effects of domestic abuse and climate change in the Sahel region by studying the experiences of Sahelian women residing in Morocco to understand the migratory trend.

The first of three specific objectives is to examine women's perception of climate change and its effects in their own countries. It involves determining whether it is acknowledged as a migration driver. The second specific goal is to examine gender-based violence, especially domestic abuse, as a factor in migration and its potential link to climate change consequences. The third particular goal examines if the synergy between domestic abuse and climate change influences the new migration profile and whether it is related to being a young woman.

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4 The main research question of this study is the following:

What impact do climate change and domestic violence have on young migrant African women from the Sahel?

Precisely, this thesis attempts to answer three sub-questions to respond to the main question fully:

1. What links climate change and domestic violence?

2. How does this linkage impact migration?

3. Does the new migratory profile point to young African women?

This study focuses in particular on three aspects of this experience: the reasons for migration, awareness of climate change and environmental deterioration in the country of origin, and the impact of gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, on the choice to migrate. In essence, this research explores the relationship between the effects of climate change and domestic violence and whether it is related to the feminization of migration from the Sahel to Morocco.

1.3 Hypothesis

The initial hypothesis of this research is based on the preliminary assumption that the new profile of migration points to a young African woman from sub-Saharan Africa. The Sahel region was selected due to its environmental characteristics and because a significant part of Moroccan immigration comes from this area. According to the latest UNHCR data, Guineans and Senegalese are the country's foremost asylum seekers (UNHCR, 2022). This hypothesis is the outcome of two factors. First, according to a Women's Environmental Network study, 80% of climate migrants are female (Haigh &

Vallely, 2010). The second one is the perception by DDM workers of a new trend where women are increasing and getting younger. The second hypothesis is related to the first and considers climate change a migration driver. The third one assumes that domestic abuse is also a migration driver. The supporting evidence comes from DDM information on migrant women who have asked for asylum due to domestic violence suffered in their country of origin. The latter, while contributing to the grounds for the hypothesis, will not be examined as data in this study. Given that the choice to migrate is the consequence of various circumstances that cannot be simplified for two primary reasons, it is crucial to emphasize that climate change and domestic violence are examined as some and not the

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5 only possible migration drivers. On this account, the potential link between climate change impact and gender-based violence is observed as two factors that can influence each other, exacerbating women's security that, in turn, influences their decision to migrate.

1.4 Justification and relevance

Personal experience, as well as the earlier research indicated in the preceding section, led to the basis for this study. My six-month legal assistant internship experience at DDM working on asylum seeker cases led me to conclude that most women flee their home countries due to gender-based violence and as an empowerment and adaptation strategy.

According to a more inclusive definition of domestic violence, most female asylum applicants departed because of abuse from partners or family members. Additionally, the region these women are from is considered a hotspot for slow-onset climate change, with alarming forecasts for the region (Tomalka et al., 2021). Finally, coworkers from Spain and Morocco said that the migrant profile is changing and becoming younger and feminized. In order to test my theory that these three factors are related to one another, I conducted this investigation.

The study's significance to humanitarian work in the field of migration centers on two key issues, namely gender-based violence and climate change, as told through the perspectives of migratory women living in Morocco. The current literature on environmental degradation and climate change is primarily focused on some countries, including Bangladesh, the United States, and the Philippines, to name a few (van Daalen et al., 2022). The potential link between climate change and gender-based violence is primarily taken into account on a large scale, such as in the IUCN report by Castañeda Camey et al. (2020) and the gender guidance by IUCN (2021). There are not any specific studies on the Sahel region that link these two issues. Thus, this study might start a discussion that asks for further research in the region.

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1.5 Overview of the chapters

The thesis is divided into six parts: I- introduction, II- methodology and conceptual framework, III-results, IV- discussion, and V- conclusions. Part II presents the research methodology and conceptual framework. In particular, it explains the research design (Chapter 1), the terminology and literature review on particular issues that are the focus of this research (Chapter 2), and the study area taken into consideration (Chapter 3). Part III includes an observation of the findings and consists of three chapters organized by theme - climate change (Chapter 4), gender-based violence (Chapter 5), and migration drivers (Chapter 6). Part IV is the analysis of the data interpreted with the current literature. It is divided into four parts: the basis for the analysis (chapter 7), the discussion where three theories are proposed to address the research questions (Chapter 8), the study limitations (Chapter 9), and the recommendations for future research (Chapter 10). Part V concludes by summarizing the main findings and theories of the research.

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Section II:

Chapter 2 - Methodology

This study aims to examine the connections between migration, gender-based violence, and the effects of climate change. The experiences of Sahelian women residing in Morocco are the main subject of this study. The information I use comes from the database of the NGO Délégation Diocésaine des Migrations (DDM), the organization I interned for. They granted me access to primary data gathered by NGO employees in June 2022 for internal purposes. The data I analyzed is explained in the following sub-chapters, where I discuss the methods to collect data and how I observe it for this thesis's goals.

Finally, ethical considerations, professional advice, and methodological limitations are described.

2.1 Study method and sampling

The exploratory character of the research topic and the requirement for narrative perspectives led to the selection of a qualitative study design. I selected the research sample in the NGO database with a two-stage procedure. First, NGO workers within the DDM and its partners in Morocco, Senegal, and Guinea were chosen to achieve a broader perspective on the subject due to their long experience in the field. They all occupy positions in direct contact with the migrant population. The research involved 33 workers in all, with the majority being from the DDM organization based in Morocco, precisely 29 out of 33. The second approach identifies migrant women living in Morocco previously selected by DDM's Espace Femme department, which works with them daily as they are responsible for the accompaniment of migrant women in all DDM offices.

The decision to include women in the study as the primary source of information was due to the disproportionate vulnerability they experience during climate disasters and environmental degradation (Haigh & Vallely, 2010; Nellemann et al., 2011; Neumayer

& Plümper, 2007; United Nations Population Fund, 2010; World Bank, 2011) and because in the DDM offices, women are at the center of their activities. The target population is women from the Sahel region who have and have not suffered domestic

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8 violence in their country of origin. Twenty-three women from four Sahel nations —14 Guineans, 5 Cameroonians, 3 Senegalese, and 1 Malian—agreed to participate in the NGO investigation. The sample of women respondents ranges in age, education level, livelihood, and location in the countries of origin. The average age was 28. Within this group, thirteen experienced domestic violence before migration, whereas ten did not.

NGO workers 33

DDM workers 30

DDM NGO partners 3

Based in Morocco 29

Senegal 2

Guinea 2

Sahelian women 23

Country of origin Guinea 14

Cameroon 5

Senegal 3

Mali 1

19-47 years old 28 in average

Attended education Yes 14

No 5

Not answered 4

Type of education Primary school 2

Middle school 1

High school 8

University 3

Domestic violence suffered Yes 13

No 10

Table 1: Sample

2.2 Data collection and analysis

The study uses mixed methods for collecting data. The employees' experiences are questioned to regulate overtime discrepancies and migration tendencies. A survey was distributed to all NGO workers working in direct contact with the migrant population, followed by a voluntary follow-up interview. The questionnaire lasts approximately 15 minutes and is divided into three sectors. They explore the employees' expertise, climate change, and gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, in relationship with migration. The follow-up interview lasts from 15 to 30 minutes, addresses specific experiences, and deepens the exposed knowledge of each worker. All questions were tackled with sex-disaggregated data to overview gender analysis (IUCN, 2021). The interviews were done in the DDM offices or online. Second, a semi-structured narrative interview with migrant women from the Sahel area was constructed based on a 2016

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9 methodological review in order to establish a temporal framework prior to the beneficiaries' migration (Kallio et al., 2016). This particular interview format was chosen because it allows unrestricted narrative and builds on the interviewees' linguistic resources (Flick, 2014). In June 2022, interviews took place in an informal environment.

Participants were encouraged to discuss their experiences and points of view in this settlement, where they could do so freely and in private. The duration ranged from 15 to 45 minutes, and the language used was French. The five DDM offices in Morocco—

Nador, Al-Hoceima, Tangier, Tetouan, and Laayoune—were chosen as locations. The discussion focused on how climate change has affected each person individually and the migration causes. Questions concerning domestic abuse in their home countries were never brought up directly since gender-based violence is a delicate topic and to avoid retraumatizing the victim. Instead, Espace femme specialists from the NGO selected women who had experienced domestic abuse in their country of origin before the interview in order to employ domestic violence in focus.

The interviews with migrant women and NGO workers were recorded and transcribed.

To analyze the transcriptions, I used thematic analysis. Major themes could be identified after thoroughly reading and coding the transcripts (Castleberry & Nolen, 2018). The voices of the research participants are interspersed throughout the presentation of emergent themes in this thesis results.

2.3 Ethics

While conducting the research, rigorous ethical guidelines were followed. Participation is anonymous and confidential. In all interviews, it is possible to withdraw at any time.

Additionally, due to the subject's delicate nature and the immigration status of women, participants were not required to provide any unwanted information. After being informed about the purpose of the study during a debriefing session, each participant verbally agreed to participate. At the moment of the data collection, I had already started my research which enabled me to inform the NGO employees that gathered data to include their use for my thesis since the beginning.

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2.4 Expert consultation process and review

An expert evaluation was conducted of the research design. A faculty member and professor from Loyola University Seville was invited to participate in a consultation workshop where the data collection techniques were reviewed and discussed. Experts from IUCN and USAID offered feedback on the survey for NGO workers.

Recommendations from further researchers were provided throughout the study.

2.5 Limitations:

There are several methodological limitations to this study. First, the data collected by the NGO was restricted to the organization's purposes. My analysis of the information available was limited to what others have collected. Nevertheless, at the same time, I could monitor how it was collected and the ethics of it during the process. Furthermore, the lack of disaggregated data in the Sahel region is a significant limit in proving and strengthening the findings of this thesis. Initially, I intended to analyze how domestic violence and climate change influence both sex through migrants' lives, but the absence of data made it challenging to apply the gender approach. Finally, this study model theoretically considers the Sahel region as one country without considering the differences between the ten countries (see chapter 3). An in-depth examination of the context of each country, including policies and capabilities to implement climate change adaptability programs and gender-based violence protection, may provide a more comprehensive picture of the elements affecting migrants' lives. However, time constraints and the primary information available prevented this from happening.

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2.6 Research design

Research design

Research object

The impact of climate change and domestic violence on migrant women

from the Sahel region

Approach to research object Conceptual framework on migration,

climate change and gender-based violence

Research question

How the feminization of migration from the Sahel is influenced by the impact of Climate

Change and gender-based violence?

Data collection

Survey and follow-up interview to NGO staff members

Semi-structured interview with migrant women from the Sahel

Data analysis Thematic analysis

Empirical findings with relation to literature Figure 1: Research Design

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Chapter 3 - Conceptual Framework

In order to observe the three factors – migration, climate change impact, and gender-based violence- which are the focus of this research, a conceptual framework is needed to have a guide for identifying key research questions. This chapter addresses how these elements are discussed in the literature and emphasizes how they are interconnected. It is divided into three sub-chapters. The first one explores the relationship between climate change and migration. The second discusses the connection between gender-based violence and migration, and the third examines the interaction between the three elements and the lack of supporting evidence in the literature.

3.1 Climate change and climate migration perception

Long-term shifts in weather and temperature patterns are known as climate change. These changes may be natural, such as variations in the solar cycle. However, human activities have been the main driver of climate change since the industrial revolution. Examples include greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing processes that employ carbon- based energy, such as CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide. The primary sources of these emissions are energy, industry, transportation, buildings, agriculture, and land. They also result from gasoline, coal heating, clearance of land and forests, and landfilling of waste (UNDP, 2007). The effects of climate change have both slow-onset and fast-onset effects.

The results can include drought, erratic rainfall, or coastal flooding. In addition to these negative impacts, other stresses like pollution and resource overuse also influence the world's population, which is still growing and becoming more urbanized (UNDESA, 2015, 2017). The irresponsible management of forests, grazing, and industrial agriculture is hastening the destruction of the ecosystem. If global warming continues at the current rate—implying that the average global temperature will not stay below 2°C by the end of the century—small island developing states in the global South would be among those most at risk (IPCC, 2022). The physical climate changes, particularly the more frequent and intense severe events, have harmed natural and human systems worldwide. It has also resulted in decreased water and food security, increased infrastructure damage, higher mortality and morbidity, increased human migration and displacement, ruined

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13 livelihoods, an increase in mental health problems, and greater inequality (Begum et al., 2022). The patterns of human migration are likely to be further altered once joined with other non-climatic causes, such as land use change, structural shifts, and alterations in gender norms, with an impact on immediate adaption choices at the household level (Rao et al., 2020). Those already on the edges suffer significantly from the effects of climate change (O’Neill et al., 2022). Women are particularly vulnerable because of non-climatic factors; for instance, they are 14 times more likely than males to die in a climate disaster (Peterson, 1997).

It is widely acknowledged that some people's decisions to leave their homes when experiencing environmental stresses are driven more by their perceptions of change than by observed change (Black et al., 2013; Hunter et al., 2015). While Brüning and Piguet (2018) and Hunter et al. (2015) lament the lack of empirical research on this subject, Hunter (2009) and Izazola et al. (1998) assert that people's perceptions of climate change and their vulnerability to climate variability are factors that affect their decisions to migrate. Koubi, Spilker, Schaffer, & Böhmelt (2016) conducted empirical studies in Vietnam, Cambodia, Uganda, Nicaragua, and Peru, including data on perceptions to provide a more comprehensive picture of migration decisions. It showed that individual perceptions of slow-onset events decrease the probability of migrating. On the other hand, the perceptions of fast-onset events are associated with a higher probability of migrating, yet the results are not significant. In Vietnam, a comparison of migrants and non-migrants perceptions revealed that the non-migrants had a more accurate understanding of fast- onset events but underestimated slow-onset occurrences (Koubi, Spilker, Schaffer, &

Bernauer, 2016).

3.2 Gender-based violence and migration

Any harm or threat of violence committed against an individual or a group based on one's gender is referred to as gender-based violence (GBV). Gender-based violence is a significant human rights issue that threatens one's health and safety. Men, boys, and individuals of sexual and gender minorities can be victims of GBV, but most of those who suffer from it are women and girls (Collins, 2014). According to the World Health Organization, one in three women is predicted to encounter sexual and physical violence globally (World Health Organization, 2021). In times of crisis, GBV rates increase

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14 (IUCN, 2021). The lack of access to safe and regular travel paths is an example of the structural discrimination that disproportionately exposed migrant women to gender-based violence (von Hase et al., 2021). GBV may be encountered in the home country, during transit and in the receiving country. Due to increased poverty and difficulties finding suitable jobs, some migrant women have made risky economic decisions, rendering them more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and violence (IUCN, 2021). MSF report (2008) in the Horn of Africa found that women and girls migrate to avoid female genital mutilation and other detrimental rituals like child marriage. In some cases, women who choose to move run a higher risk of experiencing violence from parents or guardians, romantic partners, or community members who disapprove of their choice (ILO & UN Women, 2020).

This research focuses on gender-based violence in the country of origin, in particular, family violence as defined by the government of Canada:

"Family violence is when someone uses abusive behavior to control and/or harm a member of their family, or someone with whom they have an intimate relationship."

(Government of Canada, 2022).

In this thesis, family and domestic violence are used interchangeably. According to this definition, family violence is an umbrella term that includes violence perpetrated by an intimate partner and family members. It is a broad definition that allows me to talk about domestic violence and family violence within the same concept, which is why I explicitly used the Canadian government's definition. Physical, verbal, emotional, financial, religious, sexual, and other forms of abuse are all examples of domestic violence. It includes using technology to harass, control, monitor, or stalk someone. It can also encompass severe physical abuse, such as beatings and female genital mutilation, as well as deceptive, coercive conduct and marital rape. This thesis explores gender-related differentiations of the impact of climate change and domestic abuse, framing gender as men and women but noting that gender is a social construct that is not binary and is simply one of many social elements at play.

Migration is not the only factor influencing women's vulnerability to gender-based violence. Other sociopolitical and economic factors, such as armed conflict,

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15 displacement, and resource scarcity, can lead to the feminization of vulnerability (United Nations, 2022), which raises the question of how climate change and environmental degradation can intensify women's vulnerability to violence.

3.3 Gender-based violence climate change, and migration synergies

As we saw in the preceding paragraphs, extensive research has been done on the effects of gender-based violence and climate change on migration, but we cannot say the same for the linkages between the three. The book by Castañeda Camey et al. (2020) and the UN Report A/77/136 (2022) identify a clear connection between climate change and environmental degradation impact and the use of gender-based violence, particularly against women and girls. Negative climate change consequences are heightened by discriminatory legal and governance systems, unequal power distribution, limited participation opportunities, and inadequate public services and infrastructure (United Nations, 2022).

The types of GBV related to climate change impact detected are as follows: violence as a means of control over natural resources, harmful traditional practices, sex trafficking, and domestic violence. The lack of natural resources strongly influences the livelihood of many women, which are usually more dependent on natural resources and hold primary responsibility for collecting water, firewood, or food (United Nations, 2022). For instance, during droughts, water is lacking and women and girls are forced to go great distances into unfamiliar areas at water collecting sites where they are targeted with demands for sexual favors, threats, sexual assault, and rape in return for water. With similar logic, transactional relationships happen to have access to natural resources as the fish-for-sex exchange. The expression alludes to specific "arrangements" between female fish sellers and male fishermen, in which the female fish traders engage in sexual activity with the fishermen to assure a supply of fish, which they then prepare and market to support their families (Béné & Merten, 2008). This phenomenon has been observed across Africa and Asia, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa due to the studies related to HIV evidence (Fiorella et al., 2015).

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16 The second type of gender-based violence relates to traditional practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). According to the data collected by the UN General Assembly in the Horn of Africa, FGM is exceptionally high in areas affected by droughts (United Nations, 2022). Child and forced marriage reduce household expenses and damage such as reputational harm from exposure to sexual violence. Both practices are coping mechanisms to face economic stress, loss of livelihoods, and food insecurity which can be directly affected by climate change impact (United Nations, 2022). Human trafficking and sexual exploitation increase during disasters and displacements due the insecurity they provoke, especially for women and children (Castañeda Camey et al., 2020).

Finally, domestic violence rises with fast-onset and slow-onset disasters. Due to societal pressure and a lack of resources, climate catastrophes can cause a sense of helplessness and stress. The COVID-19 pandemic is a recent example of a slow-onset event in which GBV has significantly increased and where the perpetrators and the victims were compelled to quarantine in the same residence for extended periods of time. Domestic violence increased as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions; this increase is referred to as the "shadow pandemic" since it cannot be observed in the open. When the male breadwinner, who has the traditional responsibility of supporting the family, is unable to carry out this function, he may try to use violence to reestablish toxic ideas of masculinity (United Nations, 2022). According to Castañeda Camey et al. (2020), in a research conducted in Uganda, men were encouraged to attempt selling the crops raised by women for home use owing to the failure of income crops. There were instances where women beat men and when men beat their wives to assert dominance over the land.

The linkage between climate change, gender-based violence and migration is unclear.

Some studies have shown the gender perspective in climate-induced migration (Akinbami, 2021; Borràs, 2019; Chindarkar, 2012; Lama et al., 2021), but not in which way they influence each other. According to UN Women (2022), climate change is referred to as a "threat multiplier" that intensifies social, political, and economic pressures in unstable and conflict-affected regions. They identify gender-based violence as the result of the rise in women's and girls' vulnerabilities (UN Women, 2022). Based on this theory, the thesis's framework treats migration as the dependent variable; gender-based

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17 violence and the effects of climate change as independent factors. The challenge can be seen in how the interplay of the two causes affects migration (See Figure 2).

Figure 2: Conceptual Framework

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18

Chapter 4 - Study area

The five offices in Morocco—Nador, Alhoceima, Tangier, and Tetouan—of the NGO Délégation Diocésaine des Migrations were the locations where the fieldwork for this study was carried out. All locations have a characteristic in common. They are cities of exit to arrive in the Spanish territory, which means that a significant part of the migrant population is in transit, especially from sub-Sahara Africa. The NGO's work is dedicated to assisting the migrant population at a social, psychosocial, and medical level (DDM, 2022). The immigrant rights holders of the NGO services come from different nationalities, and women come mainly from the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal, Cameroun, and Mali (DDM, 2022). These nations are among Morocco's first nine nationalities of refugees and asylum seekers (UNHCR, 2022). Due to the prevalence of women from the Sahel region in DDM offices and the area's susceptibility to climate change and environmental degradation, this research focuses on this region. Since no universal definition of the Sahel region exists, this research uses the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel definition as consisting of the states of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal (see Figure 3;

United Nations, 2018).

4.1 Climate change vulnerability

According to the IPCC, the area is a climate hotspot, which is a location where big vulnerable and impoverished groups (Szabo & Neumann, 2016) with a low level of resilience coexist with high ecological consequences of climate change (Niang et al., 2014). The interaction of climate impacts with poverty, food insecurity, population growth, gender inequality, political unrest, and armed conflict increases the risk to regional security. A third to half of the population subsists on less than $1.20 per day. An average of 50% of the population in the region experiences moderate or severe food insecurity. Guinea has the highest rate, 73.3% (World Bank, 2020).

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19 Moreover, good scarcity has recently increased due to the world's energy and food crises brought on by the conflict in Ukraine (Vergara & Pitterle, 2022). The region's temperature rate increase is 1.5 times greater than the global average. Compared to pre-industrial times, the annual temperature will rise by 1.5 to 4°C by 2050 (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2022). Rainfall in the area is unpredictable. Floods and droughts occur more frequently and with greater severity as wet seasons get shorter. Unpredictable weather and climate are reducing agricultural production, reducing the amount of pastureland that is accessible, and dwindling vital water resources. An estimated 65 percent of the cultivable land in the Sahel is degraded.

Figure 3: "Map of the Sahel showing agro-ecological zones and location-specific examples of annual temperature and rainfall patterns.” (Tomalka et al., 2021)

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20

4.2 Gender-based violence vulnerability

Some of the highest known incidences of GBV among women and girls are seen in the Sahel area. Niger leads sub-Saharan Africa in the prevalence of child marriage, with the Gambia (around 20%) having the lowest rate in the Sahel (GBV AoR, 2020). Female genital mutilation (FGM) is also widespread in the area; Guinea has the highest rate, at around 90%, followed by Mali, with 87% of teenage girls who have experienced FGM (see figure 4; United Nations Children’s Fund, 2022). According to the World Bank, the rate of intimate partner violence (IPV) ranges from 19 in Burkina Faso to 39 in Cameroon, compared to the global average of 27%. Mali recorded 1443 occurrences of sexual abuse in the first few months of 2020; during this time, there were also about 100 reported rape- related births. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the use of gender-based violence, including IPV, child marriage, FGM, sexual exploitation, and trafficking (GBV AoR, 2020).

4.3 Conclusion

This chapter introduces the region studied in this research. The collection of data happened in different cities of Morocco due to the high Sahelian migration at the moment.

However, this study focuses on the Sahel region as all women interviewed come from

Figure 4: "Percentage of adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 years who have undergone FGM, and percentage of women aged 20 to 24 years who were first married or in union before age 18" (United Nations Children’s Fund, 2022)

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21 this area. The vulnerabilities to which the Sahel is exposed are essential to understand the context on which this thesis is based, in particular considering that according to the forecast, climate change will continue and worsen the impact on this area. The region also has a high rate of gender-based violence, and it is characterized by several economic, social, and political factors that influence the adaptation strategy of many people toward crises and changes. In the following section, the thesis findings will be observed according to themes.

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22

Section III Results

The relationship between gender-based violence and climate change impact as migration drivers is observed in the following findings to present the basis in order to respond to whether this interconnection is related to the feminization of migration from the Sahel region. The results address this question by looking at how each theme—climate change, gender-based violence, and migration—affects the lives of migrating women, with a particular emphasis on how they understand and perceive the risks posed by climate change and their own experiences with domestic abuse and other type of violence. In addition, elements that influence women's decisions to immigrate to Morocco are examined to see if they have any bearing on the effects of the thesis's focal points.

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23

Chapter 5 - Climate change

The participants' knowledge of climate change and perceptions of its effects are the topics of this chapter. When asked if they had heard of climate change, most respondents answered with misconceptions or had never heard of it. In some cases, their understanding was distinct from how it was perceived, as many women felt its consequences and impact.

The importance of the meaning associated with climate change and the perception of it, it is crucial in order to determine how aware migrant women are on the topic to understand if and in which way it could have influenced their decision to migrate.

5.1 Climate change meaning

The term climate change is one that responders frequently do not have in their vocabulary.

What is evident is that climate change is not viewed as a priority in the lives of immigrant women in Morocco. It usually provides an indirect cause of migration which lead to a barely perceptible effect. There are several explanations why climate change is not recognized as an influencing factor in migration, and awareness of the phenomenon is one of them. When asked about the meaning of climate change, the respondents (26,09%) tended to believe that climate change is a regional or/and seasonal weather variation. The criteria used to identify climate change was the perceived weather difference between Morocco and their country of origin or the meteorological change between the tropical seasons - rainy and dry seasons – and the four seasons – spring, summer, autumn, and winter:

“Climate change is the season of summer, winter, spring, and autumn. In our region, there are rainy and dry seasons. It is since I came here to Morocco that I discovered the cold. It is the first time I wear socks and gloves and do hot showers.” (Cameroonian, 9th interviewee)

“Each country experience climate changes every time the season change.” (Guinean, 22nd interviewee)

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24

“According to my experience, I perceived a temperature change coming to Laayoune because it is always too hot. During the night, my daughter cannot sleep because of the heat, and I wake up constantly”. (Guinean, 20th interviewee)

Other participants relate this definition of climate change with practical effects. One respondent (Cameroonian, 11th interviewee) noted weather patterns according to the seasonal agricultural production:

“People in my town know that during dry seasons they cannot grow corn because it is very difficult with droughts, but there is a specific period where you can plant the seeds, and if you miss it, it is over.”

Another Cameroonian woman has heard that climate change influences her health condition, but she does not understand the meaning:

“I don’t know. The woman working here (at the NGO) told me that sometimes I feel sick due to the change of weather. But, you know, there is a difference between someone that studies and someone that doesn’t”. (Cameroonian, 7th interviewee)

Education is an element that influences the understanding of specific themes in the life of migrant women, as observed in this quote. Looking at the sample of the women interviewed, five out of 23 did not attend any education, while 14 did and four did not answer. Of the 14 women that did attend school, three finished universities, 8 attended high school, one middle school, and two primary schools (see table 1, pp 8-9). Not all women got degrees at the various educational levels, aside from the university level.

Some of them did attend but just for one or two years. There is no significant link between education and their climate change definition nor with the age of the participants. It is noteworthy that most of them received an education, which suggests that the population migrating is not the most uneducated. According to a woman from Guinea (8th interviewee), school allowed her to talk about climate change:

“Normally, you can listen to it when we refer to external events such as the fire in the Brazilian Amazon Forest, and we discuss it at school, but we don’t often talk about this concept.”

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25 Here, a second definition is brought up: climate change as environmental deterioration, global warming, natural disasters, and a shortage of natural resources covered by 13,04%

of participants. As observed in the latter quote, it is not considered a concern in their country. Another Guinean woman (23rd interviewee) stated a similar idea:

“When I think about climate change, I think about global warming, but generally speaking, we don’t talk about climate change. In Guinea, the young population is not worried about it”.

The disinterest of the population explained by participants is the result of a lack of information and a practical approach, as illustrated by a Cameroonian woman (19th interviewee):

“In my country, people don’t think about globalizing everything. They say that if it happens like that, that’s what had to happen. They don’t question the causes. You have to do with what’s there.”

Therefore, individuals react by trying to make the most of the circumstances they now find themselves in rather than thinking broadly about the problem, such as seeing climate change as a global concern. In a similar vein, through a discussion with a Cameroonian woman (14th interviewee), it was clear that she perceived climate change in her life, particularly global warming. Still, she also believed that no one could stop nature takes its course.

“Personally, I think that nature makes its cycle, we cannot prevent the change of nature, but we must let nature take its way.”

Finally, 30,43% of respondents either didn't know what climate change was or hadn't heard of it. Many people showed confusion when asked to describe climate change, while others said they didn't understand what it meant. As explained by a woman from Cameroon (9th interviewee) sometimes cultural gender norms impede you to have a thorough grasp of some topics:

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26

“Sometimes parents hide things from children. Also, me as a woman I had to be with my mother in the kitchen and not in the living room with the men who discuss and talk about different issues”.

Respondents mistake seasonal and regional changes for climate change, and they justify the lack of information by pointing to their schooling and the general lack of interest in their nations. Direct questions were used to test their understanding throughout data collection. Participants occasionally had the correct knowledge from their experience but were unaware of it. The following part examines the perception of climate change by looking at the interviewees' personal experiences.

5.2 Climate change perception

The biographies of the Sahelian migrant women show that despite the lack of information about climate change, the perception of its effects was present. During their time in the Sahel region, the respondents perceived higher temperatures, extreme weather conditions, including heavy rainfall, floods and droughts. Some of them noticed a significant change over time while for others the conditions were stable. Agriculture was mentioned as weather patterns influenced the family production. Finally, the resulting phenomenon of urbanism and overexploitation of natural resources is explored.

A large share of respondents (34,78%) notice how environmental settings changed over time. From childhood to adulthood, temperatures are more drastic, and rain is heavier, besides differences between nationalities. The first interviewee, a woman from Mali, explained:

"The sun was there when I was a child, but it wasn’t as intense as it is now. It's now crazy.

It's too hot - about 45°C".

While residing in Bamako, the capital of Mali, she noticed this alteration. The fifth respondent (Guinean) from Conakry, the nation's capital, shared a similar viewpoint:

"In Conakry, it is warmer than when I was a child. The temperature has risen." (Guinean, 5th interviewee)

Unusual extreme weather conditions are also happening in Cameroon:

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27

"It was the first time in the country. Most people were proud and enthusiastic about the snow in the west of the country. Others understood that snow is a negative sign of climate change" (14th woman, Cameroon).

"Things have changed since I was little. It is so hot in the country. When you are there, you adjust, although it may also be really chilly at times." (Cameroonian, 19th interviewee)

These testimonies highlight the perception of extreme weather temperatures, mostly higher and in some cases lower. In addition to these many respondents witnessed heavy rainfall when living in their home country. However, the majority of women viewed this event as steady over their lifetimes:

"When it rains, there is a lot of wind, and houses move, but it has always been like this."

(Guinean, 6th interviewee)

“From May through July or August, it rains. In September, there is no rain, but there are storms. But it hasn't changed since I was little. In the rainy season, there is a lot of damage to the houses and the roadway.” (Guinean, 4th interviewed)

"Sometimes it rains a lot, ruins the dwellings, blocks the passage, and is complicated. In terms of climate, it's the same. It's not changed over time." (Senegalese, 15th interviewed)

“I was raised in Koundara, where I first went to school. It’s desert there. It’s very hot. In Conakry, it is different. In the rainy season, there are frequent floods and house damage.

But ever since I was little, it’s always been like that. The problem is the garbage that goes up and enters the houses.” (Guinean, 8th interviewee)

A Guinean woman described the challenges she faced while managing and guarding the family's cashew grove during heavy rains:

“Since I remember, the rain level has been the same. There’s no place to sit when you leave, and you must wait until the rain stops. You’re going to sit and wait in the rain for hours, and once you get home, you can smell the freshness. When the sun is out in the morning, we sometimes head out to the plantation, but then it starts to rain.” (Guinean, 3rd interviewed)

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28 Another branch of respondents believe that their country is experiencing frequent torrential downpours and it is getting destructive over time:

“When I was a kid, it rained a lot and was very cold. But now I’ve heard that there have been floods, making it difficult to walk outside, forbidding kids to go out, and causing water to enter the houses.” (Guinean, 20th interviewed)

“During the rainy season, there are floods, damage, everything is wet, and you can’t get out. Now the situation is worse in nature. The floods are stronger and more frequent.”

(Cameroonian, 14th interviewed)

These quotes show how the rainy season is characterized by heavier rain and increased frequency of torrential rain that can cause floods. Two respondents report noticing warmer weather during the rainy season, particularly a warm wind that was typically cold:

“The wind is very hot now. Before, the wind was cold. Things are getting worse. Some people suffer from climate change impacts. The air is hot. Normally it’s not like that. The environmental degradation has increased.” (Guinea, 23rd interviewed)

“In my country, during rainfall, the weather is becoming hotter. Things have changed a lot since I was little until now. Even though I'm not there, I am aware of how challenging life has become.” (Senegalese, 16th interviewee)

In the last cases, it is clear how the change in temperatures and weather conditions are recognized as risks and threats to their compatriots. These risks are particularly highlighted by women whose family livelihoods depend on natural resources. Households living out of agriculture have been the most impacted by rising temperatures, more frequent rainstorms, and droughts. In many regions, agriculture is the first source of income for the community. Two Guinean women have expressed the impact of rain on their family production:

“My dad had land to grow rice, and we lived off rice sales. But with a lot of rain, rice will spoil, and from August to September, there is a lot of rain. The rain has gotten heavier since I was little.” (2nd interviewee)

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29

“My family relied on farming. My uncle had a cashew nut field. During the rainy season, the rain destroyed the plantation. Cashew trees are particularly tough to grow in the rain.

You need to cut it, pick it, and it hurts because you stay wet for a long time. My sisters and I always left to help on the plantation.” (Guinean, 3rd interviewed)

The 14th interviewee from Cameroon explained how heat and droughts hinder output.

This statement is confirmed by a Guinean woman who had her family livelihood from the cultivation of African eggplant and Fonio. Both goods require high temperatures for growth. Fonio is cultivated in the Sahel region and grows in the dry season, while the African eggplant is grown in all sub-Saharan Africa and needs to be well-drained. The distance traveled in quest of water is increasing as it becomes harder to find, she says, explaining the greater scarcity of water brought on by droughts. According to her experience, the quantity and accessibility of water found are not stable (Guinean, 13th interviewee). She continues explaining how the heat affects agricultural production:

“The amount of production has decreased over time. Because it is too hot right now, growing is more challenging. We used to grow fonio as well, but now that the money is missing, we cannot do so. The land is used only for the production of eggplant.” (13th interviewee)

The eleventh respondent, a 19-year-old woman from Cameroon, said her family used to produce cocoa but that it is no longer sufficiently prolific:

“When I was little, at the time of my grandfather, my family lived off it. Cocoa production is more difficult now because the seasons are unpredictable. The cultivation does not always bear fruit, and the sale of the harvest does not allow my family to have agriculture as only revenue”.

These testimonials indicate that various factors contribute to the difficulties facing the agricultural sector. Some see heavy rain as the cause, and some people do not have enough money to support their family's capacity to maintain the plantation and buy seeds, while others experience more unpredictable seasons than they were in the past. According to a Guinean woman (23rd interviewee) there is less of a propensity for agriculture to be the only source of income. One of the effects of this process is urbanism:

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30

“Farmers and breeders are compelled to go to the city to earn a little more. They must leave for the big cities to have a future. They used to have good harvests as their primary source of income, but now it is different. Schooling is also a reason to leave for the capital.” (Guinea, 23rd interviewed)

The population living in the rural area are forced to look for other sources of income.

According to a Cameroonian woman, farmers are generally from the elderly community (11th interviewee). This opinion is confirmed by a Senegalese woman who explained that young people are not attracted to continuing their family heritage in agriculture as it is not a stable and enough prolific income:

“Nowadays, young people are increasingly looking for non-physical jobs like teaching or business. Only older people keep doing that. Agriculture is not very common due to the physical effort and because you do not earn much money from it. Usually, the harvest is used for the family and to sell what remains, but you don’t make much money. With machines, like mass agriculture, yes, because you can sell the products at a large scale, but families cannot afford it. External enterprises usually do it.” (Senegalese, 16th interviewed)

In this instance, she noticed that the youth's mentality had changed. They put more emphasis on money. Particularly in Senegal, the natural resources are lacking due to overexploitation, and as an example, she mentioned the multinational companies in the territory. In the interview, she continues explaining:

"Before, it was simple to use the various natural resources available. Now that people are aware that natural resources may be used to generate income, there is always a lot of food available, yet we sell it all." (16th woman, Senegal)

Along with agriculture, other industries are also affected. For instance, the 15th respondent (Senegalese), said that fishing in Senegal used to be simpler and now overfishing in the ocean puts fishing in danger. Due to the large number of fishermen, it is now more difficult.

To sum up, a substantial majority of respondents (43,48%) asserted that they did not notice any change over time when they were in their native country, despite numerous

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31 testimonies mentioning changes in temperatures, seasons, and availability of natural resources. Through women's voices, the perception of climate change exists in accordance with the data available on the region's vulnerability to climate change. In the following chapter, domestic violence is observed, including its perception by migrant women, the awareness of it, the vulnerability that exposes women to this type of violence, and the domestic violence expressed during the interviews.

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32

Chapter 6 - Domestic violence

Domestic violence was mentioned in most of the interviews with Sahelian women.

Respondents opened up in the interviews and explained traumatic events related to violence perpetrated by family members or partners. This chapter is divided into three sub-chapters: the perception and awareness of domestic violence, the vulnerability to violence due to power dynamics within the household and structural gender inequality, and the domestic violence expressed during the interviews. Data collected from the NGO workers' responses to the survey and the follow-up interview are used to strengthen the information gathered with the semi-structured interviews with the migrant population.

6.1 Domestic violence perception and awareness

Respondents do not have a unison view of the concept of gender-based violence.

Researchers did not ask about the meaning of GBV due to the subject's sensitivity. Still, during the interviews, certain types of violence suffered were brought up while explaining their story in their home country. Looking at the words used, they perceive both physical and psychological violence as violence. The terms "threat, trauma, mistreatment, punishment, and violence" are all used by women to associate the experience of violence, conveying an understanding of the seriousness of the acts experienced. Even though there is awareness of specific violence in other cases, particularly those conforming to cultural and social norms, there is a tendency to normalize violence:

“In the country of origin, acceptance is quite prevalent. You see, especially in the polygamous family, you can't react, you can't do anything, so even if your spouse fights in front of everyone, according to education and society, you don't have the right to respond. You go through a lot of suffering.” (12th NGO worker)

This NGO expert explained how traditional practices such as polygamy, can influence the tolerance of the use of violence within the household. Domestic abuse, as seen by this example, could be recognize but women may choose to desist in fighting against it due to generally accepted norms. The same NGO worker continued citing a common idiom across cultures:

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