Social Science Baha

Ongoing Projects

An Assessment of Available Gender Data on Migration in Nepal

Funding Agency: UN Women
Duration: 10 June 2022 to 30 September 2022

Project Description: The overall objective of the study is to carry out an assessment of the extent to which available data and nationally prioritized SDG targets and indicators at both national and local levels are disaggregated by gender and other variables, viz, caste/ethnicity, social and economic status, region and other variables as required by the SDGs, and specifically related to women migrant workers.

Migrant Rights and Decent Work Project

Funding Agency: International Labor Organization
Duration: 25 April 2022 to 9 September 2022

Project Description: The overall objective of the current study is to carry out research for the development of the Nepal Labor Migration Report 2022 by providing a comprehensive overview of labor migration from Nepal with a focus on fiscal years 2019/20 and 2021/2022.

Mapping Recruitment Agencies Practices Against Fair Recruitment Principles 

Funding Agency: SaMi/Helvetas Nepal  
Duration: 20 June 2022 to 13 September 2022

Project Description: The study aims to conduct a mapping and assessment of business practices of selected recruitment agencies by comparing their recruitment process against fair recruitment principles. The study will examine the recruitment practices of the agencies in different steps of the recruitment process and post-deployment, such as sourcing of workers, selection, hiring, and post-deployment engagement with migrant workers.

Project Name: COVID-19 and the Worsening Precarity of Temporary Migrant Workers from Nepal

Funding Agency: Ryerson University
Duration: 1 May 2022 to 31 May 2024

Project Description: The onset of the COVID­19 pandemic has resulted in many migrant workers becoming particularly vulnerable to economic and social hardships. Temporary migrant workers are concentrated in industries that cannot readily adapt to remote working practices and are usually excluded from social safety nets, thus increasing their precarity. This vulnerability became dramatically visible during the global pandemic as temporary migrant workers were reported to be unemployed, unpaid, and at the mercy of their employers before having to return to their home countries. This proposed project examines the pressing issue of the impacts of COVID­19 on the worsening precarity of temporary labour migrant workers. It uses the case of Nepal to study the consequences of the large­scale return and reintegration of migrant workers to their home countries.

Heritage as Placemaking

Funding Agency: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Collaborating Partner: Heidelberg University
Duration: 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2025

Project Description: This four-year project promotes diversity and inclusiveness through a better understanding of solidarities forming and disintegrating amongst communities invested in lived and living heritage. The project brings together a team of critical and passionate South Asianists, specialising in anthropology, geography, art history, museum and heritage studies, literary studies and conservation architecture. Eight research sites – three cities in India and five in Nepal – were selected lying within 350km from each other, related through cosmologies and transnational histories. Ethnography with qualitative interviews, oral histories and participant observation will provide the key methodological framework within a relational and comparative case study approach. Archival material, bureaucratic frameworks and documentation, media analysis and object studies will enhance the data repertoire.


Funding Agency: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
Collaborating Partner: Durham University, BBC Action Media, NSET, Northumbria University, The University of Auckland, Oxford University, Tribhuvan University, University of British Columbia, ADDRN, University of Bristol, University of Newcastle, University of Canterbury, UNRCO Nepal
Duration: 2021-2024
In the Sajag-Nepal project, we examine how to use local knowledge and new interdisciplinary science to inform better decision making and reduce the impacts of multi-hazards in mountain countries. We focus on Nepal, which experiences a range of hazards resulting from earthquakes and monsoon rainfall. Nepal is also undergoing complex social, political, and economic changes as it moves to a federal system of government. Our project is grounded within long-term community-based work with rural residents in Nepal, and reflects their articulations of the need to make better decisions to reduce the risks that they face. It also builds on experience of assessing and planning for earthquake and landslide risk with the Government of Nepal, the United Nations and other humanitarian organisations, and householders themselves.


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 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.

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.

‘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

The Law in Nepal: From Exclusion to Inclusion

Funding Agency: The Asia Foundation, Nepal

Project Description: The study will examine how Nepal’s legal regime has changed over the past 13 years to make the country a much more inclusive state. The study will build on the paper ‘Gender, Caste and Ethnic Exclusion in the Law’ prepared by Bipin Adhikari and Bandita Sijapati in 2011. The said paper is thus far unpublished and the study will provide updates to the paper while also conducting original research. The study will conclude with the drafting and publication of the final report. It is envisaged that Part I of the report would trace the evolution of the legal changes up to the end of the first Constituent Assembly in 2012; Part II would continue with the thread of the narrative thereafter and bring it up to date till the adoption of the 2015 Constitution; and Part III will deal with the rollout of federalism and the adoption of the new Muluki Ain in 2017.