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 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 of this is a baseline survey (questionnaires) distributed to residents, section town-heads and focus group participants within the different locations comprising Goderich. The second, incorporating mixture of interviews and participant observation processes, is a follow-up of the baseline survey to explore vulnerabilities, trends and shocks throughout participants’’ time in Goderich. It is hoped that the outcome will contribute meaningfully towards knowledge exploration on access to core SLF assets in creating opportunities for diversified means of (sustained) livelihoods for residents in Goderich, while also addressing ways of mitigating long-term risks to the environment in general.