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, more so as a result of recent population increase 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 long-term sustainability of the natural environment resulting from activities like ‘sand-mining, stone-quarrying, deforestation and many more’. Equally, lesson learned from the experience of COVID-19 will also be explored as a way of understanding people’s approaches to planning for livelihood during time of unforeseen stresses or vulnerability.
Data collection process for the study will incorporate triangulation approach, otherwise referred to as mixed methods; the first of this, is a baseline survey (questionnaires) distributed to residents in the different locations comprising Goderich. The second, incorporating mixture of interviews and participant observation processes, is a follow-up of the baseline survey to those perceived as being highly vulnerable to natural environmental trends and shocks during the study duration period. It is hoped that the outcome will contribute meaningfully towards knowledge exploration on access to assets for exploring opportunities for diversified means of (sustained) livelihoods for residents in Goderich, while also addressing ways and means of mitigating long-term risks posed to the environment in general.