Linda Oucho presents her paper 'The influence of networks in the migration decisions of Kenyan and Nigerian women bound for the UK' in Parallel session IV(E) of the conference Examining Migration Dynamics: Networks and Beyond, 24-26 Sept 2013
Networks and the information they convey can play a very important role in the decision to migrate. With technological advancements taking place in today's globalised world, potential migrants can consult individuals on information about their chosen destination, but they can also explore their options by using the internet to investigate the information that they need in order to make a decision of whether to migrate to their chosen destination. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the changing nature of networks through time with a focus on exploring how different types of networks were used by Kenyan and Nigerian women in their decision to migrate to the UK as an individual or a family unit. The paper is based on my PhD thesis completed in November 2011 which focused on the migration decision-making experiences of Kenyan and Nigerian women in London between 1990 to 2010. The aim of the research was to capture women's agency in migration decisions and networks played a very important role in the decision-making process. Fawcett's conceptual framework (1989) was useful for understanding the linkages that exist between networks and potential migrants in terms of the information/ assistance shared and how they operate within a migration system. Fawcett's primary focus was to examine the communication between potential migrants and their networks as well as observable links such as trade flows or family obligations (1989: 673). He identified three types of linkages (tangible, regulatory and relational) and four categories of networks, namely State-to-State Relations, Mass Culture Connections, Family and Personal Networks and Migrant Agency Activities (1989: 673). Although outdated, Fawcett's conceptual framework provided guidelines to understand the relationship between migrants and how the information influenced the Kenyan and Nigerian women's decision to migrate to the United Kingdom.