A qualitative research on COVID-19 induced mobility trajectories and livelihoods of Kenyan labor migrants
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In 2020 lockdown measures such as curfews and the temporary closure of outbound movement in urban nodes have resulted into widespread loss of employment, increased food and tenure insecurity and human right violations, further exacerbating existing inequalities. The influx of return migrants from urban to rural areas have spiked an interest amongst academics and journalists at the onset of the pandemic, but little remains known about how the migrants are faring now (2022). This research looks into the mid- and long-term socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 measures and policies on mobility patterns and livelihoods of labor migrants in Kenya that travel between Nairobi City and rural areas. The research asserts the need for looking into their mobility trajectories through qualitative methods such as (life-history) interviews, mobility mapping activities and focus group discussions to lay bare how the migrants and the caregivers that took them under their wing in times of crisis, were impacted. The research contributes to the debate of analyzing migration through the mobility lens in which there is an eye for how mobility is inextricably linked to the daily lives of these migrants and emphasizes the interconnectedness of urban and rural space through analyzing both the perspective of the migrants as their caregivers. In addition, the research analyzes how social support packages could be tailored to better fit the needs and reach these vulnerable groups.