Social Science Baha

Ongoing Projects

Batoghato: Himalayan Lives and Landscapes, and the Roads That Change Them

Funding Agency: Open Society Foundations

Batoghato is pioneering communication project: a research-based graphic novel (a book that tells a story via drawings and text) that dramatizes the human stories within a pressing national issue, the politics of road construction in rural districts of Nepal.

Post-publication dissemination activities create contexts for discussion of the book’s themes, for participatory story-telling, and for introductory training so that others can use the graphic novel medium for socially-relevant stories.

The Role of Intermediaries and Other Private/Public Sector Actors in the Recruitment Process in Nepal, in Relation to the Labour Migration of Nepali Workers

Funding Agency: International Labour Organization

Project Description: This study aims to use the narratives of migrant workers to document the migration experience and identify the various intermediaries involved in facilitating migration for foreign employment. It will examine the interaction of migrant workers with various actors in the recruitment process, estimate the cumulative costs of transactions incurred as they work through agents and other intermediaries, identify various other services these intermediaries provide to migrant workers, such as lending money, and understand the strategies workers use to meet these costs. The study will also examine existing policies that govern and regulate the activities of the above-mentioned actors, and the actual practices, while taking heed of non-regulatory measures such as community-driven interventions, and examine how they help or hinder fair recruitment.

Access to Legal Support for Migrant Workers for Violations in the Recruitment Process in Nepal: Opportunities and Challenges

Funding Agency: International Labour Organization
Collaborating Partner: People Forum

Project Description: The proposed study aims to identify existing gaps, barriers and challenges that both prohibit and inhibit men and women migrant workers from accessing justice with complaints related to recruitment, and also identify practical solutions and policy changes to address these issues. The findings of the study can also facilitate the objectives and commitments made in the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), and also help attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially (SDG 10.7) to facilitate fair and ethical recruitment and access to justice in case of violation of rights of migrant workers.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Nepali Temporary Migrant Workers

Collaborating Partner: Ryerson University

The purpose of this study is to explore and better understand the social and economic impacts of the global pandemic related reverse migration of an unprecedented number of migrant workers to Nepal. The proposed research has its policy relevance in identifying the immediate, mid-term, as well as long-term needs and concerns of returnee migrant workers and their families. This research will contribute empirically by conducting a comparative analysis of the impacts observed between the cross-border (India-Nepal) returnee migrants and international (besides India) returnee migrants.

Survey on Migration Flow between Nepal and Japan

Funding Agency: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Collaborating Partner: Ernst and Young ShinNihon LLC

Project Description: The overall objective of this study is to understand the flows of returnee migrant workers from industrialised countries such as Japan and identify their interests and skills to work in the industrial sector of Nepal as well as the factors preventing and supporting their reintegration into the Nepali labour markets. The study also aims to identify the initiatives and the policy measures of the Nepal government to involve returnee migrant workers from countries like Japan in industrial or any other sectors of Nepali economy. The study will also explore the current situation of the industrial sector in Nepal, including the capacity and interest of Nepali employers in accommodating the skills and experiences of returnee migrant workers.

Institutionalizing and Strengthening Labour Migration Governance and Delegation of Institutions and Authorities at the Local Level to Support Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Returnee Migrant Workers Affected by COVID-19 Crisis

Funding Agency: South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (Sartuc)

Project Description:  The main objectives of this study is to identify the needs and vulnerabilities of returnee migrants through research for the advocacy at the national level; advocate for the delegation of labour migration-related authorities and institutions at the local level to establish the complaint or referral mechanism, compensation, regulation of agents and sub-agents; recommend the Government of Nepal for the formulation and implementation of plans and strategies related to effective rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration; and liaise with different state and non-state actors relevant to the labour and migration and build a partnership for effective advocacy for the creation and exploration of employment opportunities in the local and foreign markets in post-COVID-19 situations.

Gender-Based Violence Institutions and Community Capacities Increased to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence

Funding Agency: The Asia Foundation

Project Description:  This research project has the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of screening and service provision to victims of trafficking in persons (TIP) and gender-based violence (GBV) in diverse contexts. The primary objective is to identify promising practices and challenges in integrating or separating services for victims of human trafficking and GBV.

Evaluating Governance Reform Using a Case-Control Approach

Collaborating Partner: University of North Carolina

Project Description: This project is about a study of the Provincial and Local Government Support Program (PLGSP), a multi-faceted intervention to build the capacity of local government units (LGs) to effectively administer their new powers. The programme is part of Nepal’s 2015 new constitution designed to transition the country to a federal state with three levels of government at federal, provincial and municipal level. This is the first study to provide a rigorous study of a nation-wide federalization on long-term outcomes. In this study, Social Science Baha is collaborating with Carolina Population Centre, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study team includes Co- PIs Sudhanshu Handa and Brigitte Seim (Zimmerman), Public Policy, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Dr. Jeevan Baniya, Assistant Director, Social Science Baha, and Daniel Pamstein, Political Science, North Dakota State University (2020-2023). For more detail, please visit:

Documentation of Nepali Migrant Workers’ Death, Injuries and Ill-Treatment During Transit and Their Employment in Destination Countries

Collaborating Partner: The University Court of the University of Edinburgh

Project Description: The overall objective of the project is to take a critical look at the limitations of the existing data and highlight how the documentation on death, ill-treatment and injuries of migrant workers during transit and their employment in the destination countries can be improved. The findings from this study will be put in broader academic and policy conversation on death, injury and ill-treatment of migrant workers.

No Lean Season

Collaborating Partner: Yale University

Project Description: This research aims to experimentally test whether seasonal a migration subsidy programme has positive impacts in addressing seasonal food insecurity in rural Nepal. It will also explore how migration may transform rural, agricultural labour markets by studying the effects of seasonal migration on both rural labour supply and labour demand.

Supporting Religious Pluralism and Respect for FoRB Across South Asia

Collaborating Partner: Minority Rights Group Europe

Project Description: The overall objective of the project is to promote and protect freedom of religions or belief (FoRB) in South Asia by improved and more collaborative monitoring, reporting, and advocacy on FoRB violations. It specifically aims to strengthen the capacity of a regional researchers’ and activists’ network to monitor incidents, trends, and patterns of FoRB violations; produce and publish authoritative reports; and carry out linked advocacy to combat discrimination, intolerance, and violence against religious minorities, and improve protection of FoRB in South Asia Minority and human rights researchers, activists, and organisations working to promote FoRB across South Asia are direct beneficiaries. And, it will also serve minorities and particularly religious minorities and stateless groups in South Asia.

‘Leaving Something Behind’ – Migration Governance and Agricultural & Rural Change in ‘Home’ Communities: Comparative Experience from Europe, Asia and Africa (AGRUMIG)

Collaborating Partner: SOAS, University of London, University of Birmingham and International Water Management Institute

Project Description: The Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM) at Social Science Baha is a partner organisation of the international collaborative research project on migration and agricultural and rural change (AGRUMIG). The research project seeks to explore the two-way interface between agrarian and environmental change in migrant-sending communities, offering comparative insights between seven countries – Nepal, China, Ethiopia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Morocco. 

The AGRUMIG project engages in an innovative Qualitative Comparative Analysis to better understand the unique economic, institutional and agro-ecological contexts which mediate particular relationships between migration and agriculture, as well as the role played by diverse governance actors throughout this process. It will in turn work with stakeholders through an iterative process of engagement to develop migration governance action plans which strengthen positive development and migration outcomes. More information on the project is available at