NEWSLETTER ISSUE #5/2018
Prof Derick Blaauw expands day labour research to Namibia
From 11 to 13 October 2017, Prof Derick Blaauw and Prof Rinie Schenck (from the University of the Western Cape) were in Namibia where they had the opportunity of expanding their ongoing research regarding day labourers in that country. The research visit was made possible through a Research and Development Grant (RDG) from the North-West University. Prof Blaauw and Prof Schenck formed a new research team for the Namibia project, with Mrs Rachel Freeman of the Department of Social Work at the University of Namibia as the local research partner. Mrs Freeman had liaised with possible fieldworkers and put together a final team of fieldworkers (all drawn from the Department of Social Work) for the project.
Fieldworker training took place on 11 October, with all fieldworkers having been carefully selected to accommodate all the languages expected to be encountered on the streets of Windhoek. The training was followed by two days of early mornings (6 a.m. starts) and long hours in the hot Namibian sun on the streets interviewing day labourers who try to make a living from informal employment. Hiring sites that had been identified in an earlier reconnaissance were visited and willing day labourers were interviewed. The fieldwork went well and more than 80 interviews were conducted. Afterwards, there was a debriefing with some time devoted to reflecting on the shared experiences.
The data will now be cleaned and prepared for capturing. A preliminary perusal of the questionnaires has already revealed some important differences between the day labour market in Windhoek and South African cities - in particular, the existence of a higher skills wage premium which will be further investigated. The objective now is to publish at least three to four joint research articles in peer-reviewed journals and to prepare a number of conference papers from the data.
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