Timing and meaning of marriage and childbearing in long term displaced situations, a research proposal

Marieke van der Pers, Population Research Centre, University of Groningen
Inge Hutter, University of Groningen
Renée Bakker, Network On Humanitarian Assistance, University of Groningen
Magdalena Bjerneld, Uppsala University

The PhD research proposal to presented focuses at demographic factors that influence the reproductive health situation of long term displaced populations and persons. In collaboration with three institutes the project aims at getting insight in the timing and meaning of marriage and childbearing among individuals that are displaced for several years. As nuptiality and fertility levels and patterns resulting from emergency and displacement are the outcome of usual, postponed, unplanned, unwanted, reduced or intensified fertility behaviour and decision making of people it is of interest to understand the meaning of these events in order to get a better understanding of their reproductive health needs. The reason for having more insight in these needs relates to the fact that displaced livelihoods increase the risk of reproductive health problems and risks. As the number of long term displaced person increases, it is of interest to extent the limited knowledge demographers have about these populations in order to contribute to interventions that aim at reducing reproductive health related mortality and morbidity. Besides studying demographics the research especially focuses on the decision making processes of individuals. What are the goals that motivate people’s reproductive behaviour? Do displaced persons feel able to perform intended reproductive (health) behaviour? Which factors enable or hinder these performances? Which role has the community in this? Looking into the ability of individuals and communities to perform behaviour leading to aimed goals refers to the concepts of self efficacy and empowerment, both major concepts included in the research. Case studies among displaced persons will be selected on the basis of the theoretical framework and the expertise of the host institutions. Qualitative research followed by a survey will be conducted to understand the timing of marriage and fertility as to get insight in motivations for and decision making in reproductive (health) behaviour.

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Presented in Session 86: High Risk Groups