Domestic migration and mobile phones: A qualitative case study focused on recent migrants to ouagadougou, burkina faso

Jude Mikal, Kathryn Grace, Jack DeWaard, Molly Brown, Gabriel Sangli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Migration has long been used as a strategy for livelihood diversification in rural, subsistence communities. Yet in order for migration to effectively serve as a livelihood diversification strategy, it should meet certain conditions: migration should ease financial burdens, should confer access to economically valuable resources and information, and should broaden social networks. Using qualitative data gathered in 25 interviews with rural migrants to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, we examine how mobile phone technology has impacted migration as a livelihood diversification strategy. Our results show that while mobile phones facilitate migration, the advantages conferred may benefit migrants at the expense of the home communities. Mobile phones alleviate financial constraints, enable access to broader networks, and facilitate informational and resource support among migrants. Our results show limited evidence of migrants using mobile phone technology to provide resources or information to the home community. Our results highlight the need to reconsider the ways in which migration can be used as a livelihood diversification strategy in light of changing communication technologies to promote the economic success of both migrants and their home communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0236248
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Partial funding for this project was provided by the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment (IonE). We also acknowledge the research assistance of Adolphe Yemtim.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Mikal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Adult
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cell Phone
  • Decision Making
  • Developing Countries
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Human Migration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Population
  • Young Adult

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Journal Article


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