Development-Induced Displacement and Women and Children's Well-Being

  • Randell, Heather (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


PROJECT ABSTRACT An estimated 200 million people will be forced to migrate over the next 10 years to make way for development projects including hydropower dams, mines, and urban infrastructure, with potentially hazardous implications for their long-term health and well-being. Development-induced displacement and resettlement (DIDR) disproportionately affects vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries, and frequently results in poverty, unemployment, and the loss of social capital. While research suggests that DIDR may be linked with poor health, the effects of displacement on those must vulnerable—women and children—are largely unknown. This project uses a novel longitudinal study design to uncover the complex dynamics between DIDR and women and children’s health and well-being. We will focus on households displaced due to the Belo Monte Dam, which was recently completed in the Brazilian Amazon and is the fourth largest hydropower dam in the world. The majority of those displaced were urban households who lived in the city of Altamira. We will track and conduct in-depth interviews with a sample of displaced and non-displaced mothers in Altamira who were originally surveyed in 2010/2011. By linking follow-up in-depth interview data to baseline household survey data, we will identify how women and children experienced and responded to DIDR, uncover who is most vulnerable, and explore the mechanisms underlying observed relationships between DIDR and well-being. The specific aims are (1) Develop a unique longitudinal dataset that combines survey and interview data for use in qualitative analyses. Select an interview sample of 90 mothers of children under age 18, stratified by displacement status (resettled in a new neighborhood, compensated with cash, and not displaced) and educational attainment; (2) Investigate the ways that women and children experience and respond to DIDR over time, focusing on (1) children’s well- being (education, health); and (2) maternal, infant, and reproductive health (antenatal care, birth outcomes, breastfeeding behavior, access to family planning); and (3) Identify the mechanisms underlying observed relationships between DIDR and women and children’s health and well-being. The proposed project will lay the foundation for an R01 application to collect longitudinal quantitative data from a representative sample of households who will be displaced by the Bem Querer Dam, planned for construction later this decade in the Brazilian Amazon, as well as from a control group of households who will not be displaced. Insights from the proposed research as well as the future R01 project will inform policies and interventions to facilitate more equitable future resettlement.
Effective start/end date9/1/228/31/24


  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $203,908.00
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $226,511.00


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