Examining the Role Of Networks in Conflict-Induced Migration in Bawku
Conflict-induced migration has received extensive attention, but little remains known about the role of social networks in the patterns of migration during conflicts and peace times in the Ghanaian context. This study examined the use of social networks for migration during the conflict and peace time. The aim was to understand migrants’ experiences in and out of Bawku, and to offer a comparative perspective. The mixed method approach was employed to survey 180 respondents in Bawku. Additionally, 80 relatives of the selected respondents were contacted and surveyed. Also, 24 respondents were recruited for three focus group discussions. The survey data was analysed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and presented using tables of frequencies and charts, while the framework analysis was used for the qualitative data. The study revealed that migrants’ decisions were motivated by strong ties to family and friends in both the origin and destination areas. Respondents who did not migrate lacked networks outside Bawku, rather had strong family ties in Bawku. However, there were instances where networks failed to explain migrants’ destination decisions. For return migrants, the motivating factors transcended strong family ties to include education and employment ties. While this paper extends studies on conflict-induced migration by introducing the theoretical framework of networks, it was narrow in scope. Future research should therefore include categories of migrants and how networks affect their activities. This paper should be considered as a starting point in the analysis of the role of networks in conflict-induced migration in Bawku.