GDS Current Projects

Research ProjectJobs at the Borders: What policies can promote gender equality and growth in ASEAN’s economic zones?

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Principal Investigator: Prof. Kyoko Kusakabe

Research Project: ‘What is Essential is Invisible’: Empowerment Security in Economic Projects for Low- Income Women in Four Mekong Countries? (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam)

Sponsor/Amount: Autralian AID: THB 22,243,000

Date/PI: March 2013 – June 2017

Principal Investigator (s): Dr. P. Doneys

Project Website:

Research ProjectMigration and collectives/networks as pathways out of poverty: Gendered vulnerabilities and capabilities amongst poor fishing communities in Asia

Project Description: In response to reduced opportunities in fishing, women and men in fishing households are increasingly participating in internal seasonal labor migration or international labor migration, both circular and long-term. Migration as a livelihood strategy can include households moving to better fishing grounds seasonally, moving away from fishing/aquaculture by accessing alternative livelihoods, moving into fishing seasonally from agriculture, or subsidizing fishing/aquaculture activities through remittances. The main objective of this research is to improve our understanding of whether migration is a potential route out of poverty for women and men in fishing communities in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and India. We propose to do so by identifying disabling (vulnerabilities) and enabling (capabilities) conditions, leading households to stay in or exit poverty. The research aims to generate a gendered analysis of economic, social and subjective dimensions of poverty and wellbeing in fishing communities.

Sponsors/Collaborators: The Gender and Development Program at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) will collaborate with Ragnhild Lund at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway; Nitya Rao at the University of East Anglia, UK; Nireka Weeratunge at the International Center for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka. The project is funded by Norwegian Research Council.

Local Partner Institutions: ICES, Colombo; Cambodia Institute for Research and Development, Phnom Penh; Fisheries Management Resource Centre, Trivandrum; consultant, Econometric Analysis: Ramani Gunatilaka, NTNU

Principal Investigator: Prof. Kyoko Kusakabe
Master’s student under the project:
Raksa Sok

Project Period: 2016-2018

Research ProjectCross-border Women Migrant Workers’ Housing Rights: A Comparative Case Study of Cambodia and Thailand 

Project Description: Housing is the basis of stability and security for an individual or a family. The centre of our social, emotional and sometimes economic lives, a home should be a sanctuary, a place to live in peace, security and dignity. Too often violations of the right to housing occur with impunity. In part, this is because at the domestic level housing is rarely treated as a human right. This study assesses and explores migrant workers housing conditions and rights in Cambodia and Thailand, and the factors that determine their housing security. Specifically, it will (1) describe the housing access and condition of migrant workers, (2) analyze the different housing rights of different migrant workers, age, marital status, and (3) explore how migrants are exercising their agencies to secure housing for themselves.

Sponsors/Collaborators: The Gender and Development Program at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) will collaborate with Pahlaj Moolio and San Sophany at the Pannasastra University of Cambodia, and Habitat for Humanity. The project is funded by SHAPE-SEA

Principal Investigator: Prof. Kyoko Kusakabe
Student assistant researchers:
Khamnuan Kheuntha; Aye Chan Myae; Tiwaporn Hemsakul

Project Period: 2016-2017

Research ProjectGendered impact of cross-border agricultural investment: Case of rubber plantations in Northern Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia

Project Description: The GMS region has seen a large number of cross‐border investment projects in the field of agriculture. Though there has been considerable research on the impacts of contract farming, most studies have used the household as the basic unit of analysis, and do not attempt to differentiate its impact on women and men. Anecdotal evidence shows that women bear the socio-economic costs of transition to rubber production. With a focus on northern Laos, Northeastern Cambodia and Northern Myanmar, we seek to compare the different approaches and arrangements under different socio-political framework. The goal of this project is to explore policies on cross‐border agriculture investment that will protect the rights of small farmers, especially marginalized women farmers. Our analysis will highlight three dimensions: people’s livelihood change, rubber plantation’s benefit sharing mechanism, and cross border investment policies.

Sponsors/Collaborators: The Gender and Development Program at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) will collaborate with Chanthavisith Chanthoumphone at the Public Works and Transportation Institute, Lao PDR; Win Myo Thu at Advancing life and regenerating motherland association (ALARM), Myanmar; Heang Thira at the Centre d’Etude et de Developppment Agricole Cambodgien (CEDAC), Cambodia. The project is funded by SUMERNET Phase 3.

Principal investigator: Prof. Kyoko Kusakabe
Master’s student under this project:
Aye Chan Myae

Project Period: 2015-2016

Research ProjectIntegration of migrants and social policy issues: Reflections from Japan, Korea and Thailand towards creation of inclusive society

Project Description: Our project will review national immigration policies with respect to the social reproduction of migrants and discuss how we can create a more inclusive society. While language services and other special services for foreigners are important, they are not enough to transform our society to be more inclusive. In order for both the migrants and the receiving communities to benefit, we need the issues faced by migrants to be linked to the issues faced by the receiving communities. The challenges that migrants face are often a reflection of the social problems of the recipient countries. If social inequalities are left unchallenged in receiving societies, increase in migrants can further exacerbate the problem in hand. On the other hand, we can utilize the opportunity offered by labor migrants to transform social policies to create an inclusive society that will benefit both locals and migrants.

Sponsors/Collaborators: The Gender and Development Program at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) will lead the research, in collaboration with partners in Thailand, Japan and Korea . The project is funded by Toyota Foundation.


Sureeporn Punpuing, Director, IPSR, Mahidol University, Thailand      Doo-Sub Kim, Professor, Hanyang University, Korea  Kaoru Aoyama, Professor, Kobe University, Japan

Principal investigator: Prof. Kyoko Kusakabe

Project duration: 2015-2016