My doctoral research topic, ‘Researching Livelihoods in Goderich Village, Sierra Leone’, is aimed at modelling historiological trends in livelihood dynamics and diversification. Goderich, a sub-urban rural community in the Western Area of Freetown has a long history as an important fishing centre, which attracted specialist fisherfolk, transporters and traders from elsewhere in the country and beyond for decades. In addition to fishing, communities in Goderich have diversified their livelihood activities, on account of recent population mobility and exposure to wide-range of livelihood assets [Financial, Physical, Natural, Human and Social Capital]. The expansion and need for diversified range of livelihoods have also given rise to a range of associated risks, such as the unsustainable use of the natural environment, for example ‘sand-mining, stone-quarrying, deforestation and many more’. Equally, lesson learned from COVID-19 pandemic is also explored as a way of understanding people’s approaches on livelihood planning during time of unforeseen stresses / vulnerability.
Data collection process for the study incorporate primary triangulation approach, otherwise referred to as mixed methods; the first, incorporate mixture of interviews (with Townheads and Focus Group) and participant observation processes. The second incorporate baseline survey (questionnaires) distributed to resident in the different locations comprising Goderich – this is a follow-up of the interviews and participant observation procedures to explore vulnerabilities, trends and shocks throughout participants’’ time in Goderich. It is hoped that the outcome will contribute meaningfully towards knowledge exploration, while also developing strategies to increase access to core SLF assets as a way of improving diversified means of (sustained) livelihoods for residents in Goderich,. The study will also unearth ways of mitigating long-term risks to people’s scope of livelihood exploration, which have implications on the environment.