Enhancing the Capacities of Practitioners Towards Standardized Reintegration Practices

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) is among the services offered through Migration Response Centres in Sudan. Photo: IOM 2021

According to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Integrated Approach to Reintegration, the concept of reintegration  entails a multidimensional process encompassing economic, social and psychosocial elements at the individual, community and structural levels. This complexity requires the involvement of several actors at local, national, regional and international levels. Broadly, these are referred to as return and reintegration practitioners or stakeholders. They may be representatives of local or national authorities, staff from international or local organizations, civil society organizations involved in return, reintegration and sometimes development programmes.

Ensuring a harmonized approach among these actors and developing capacities are as critical as the provision of assistance itself. To do so, the EU-IOM Knowledge Management Hub (KMH) has made several capacity-building tools available to support the work and enhance the skills of return and reintegration practitioners and stakeholders. Furthermore, capacity-building activities have been carried out under the topics of Reintegration processes and practices, as well as Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of return and reintegration programmes.*

Since its launch, the KMH has made strong efforts in the harmonization of reintegration and M&E approaches as one of its key project pillars. It is doing this by building on initial tools developed, such as the Reintegration Handbook and its related training curriculum. Additionally, building on the creation of the Reintegration Sustainability Survey allowing to measure reintegration outcomes, the KMH developed a full Monitoring and Evaluation Package for return and reintegration programmes as well as a related training curriculum. The next step was to use these materials to strengthen stakeholder capacity so that we are all working with a common approach.

The capacity-building component of the KMH particularly encompasses three different sets of tools and activities: Two training curricula to provide practitioners and stakeholders with ready-to-use materials to organize and deliver training sessions on reintegration and on M&E practices for return and reintegration; self-paced e-courses publicly available on the IOM e-Campus platform; as well as regular Training of Trainers and blended training workshops delivered directly by the KMH and based on an operationalization of the IOM Reintegration Handbook.

By making use of these tools, practitioners are trained to adopt evidence-based approaches in the implementation and monitoring of reintegration programmes and, thus, improve and tailor the critical support to achieve reintegration sustainability.

IOM training on land rights aims at avoiding conflict when people return to their communities from the POC camps. Photo: IOM 2021

Since 2018, about 2,400 practitioners and stakeholders have engaged in the self-paced e-course on reintegration, while over 1,000 return and reintegration practitioners have been trained in more than 50 countries around the world.

The high numbers of participants trained is attributed to the KMH's Training of Trainers approach. An initial pool of facilitators was trained not only on the content of the reintegration training curriculum but also on how to plan for and organize a successful training, including facilitation techniques. With coaching from a capacity-building expert, these facilitators then rolled-out training workshops in their regions and countries, adapting the material to their contexts. Another pool of facilitators is currently being trained.

The mixed-method approach making use of interactive presentations, discussions, case studies and role plays was perceived as very effective in the case of Lagos, Nigeria. The KMH also facilitates regular blended training workshops, using a combination of self-paced courses, virtual seminars, in addition to individual and group work over a period of several weeks.

For instance, the English session of the M&E blended training for return and reintegration practitioners carried out virtually between April and May 2021 and attended by 21 participants from different regions (West and Central of Africa, Horn of Africa, North of Africa as well as Bangladesh and Afghanistan) saw majority of participants strongly agree that they could apply the content of the training in their work. Moreover, their responses reflect a clear satisfaction of the training’s impact on their work performance.

Similar satisfaction levels were observed in the participants’ satisfaction survey from the French roll-out of the M&E training programme for Return and Reintegration delivered from June to August.


Two new training curricula for a multiplier effect

Drawing from the above, one of the identified areas of opportunity was for the training sessions to be delivered by anyone interested in raising knowledge on reintegration and on M&E practice. Therefore, the two training curricula are now publicly available for interested practitioners to access and use their content with other actors in the field of migrant return and reintegration, thus generating a knowledge multiplier effect.

The curricula comprise the training materials on Monitoring and Evaluating Return and Reintegration Programmes, as well as the Reintegration Training Curriculum. Both are available on the KMH’s Return and Reintegration Platform.

But what is to be attained with these new materials? The answer to this question lies in promoting – and ultimately achieving – a complete standardization of tools and practices related to return and reintegration, as well as M&E, while also maintaining a certain degree of flexibility so that they can be adapted to different reintegration contexts.


Completing the M&E capacity building offer

Similar to the self-paced  Reintegration Handbook Online Course, available on the IOM e-Campus platform, in the coming months the KMH will also launch a self-paced online course on M&E for return and reintegration that will provide interested practitioners with several modules deepening into in the subject through interactive explanations and quizzes. The course aims to support M&E practitioners in making the best use of the resources within projects and monitoring the achievement of results within return and reintegration programmes through an enhanced awareness of the Reintegration Sustainability Survey.

IOM is committed to supporting migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host or transit countries and wish to return to their countries of origin with return and reintegration assistance programmes.

*The reintegration training curriculum was developed with funding from the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, in the framework of the ORION project while the M&E curriculum was developed in the framework of the KMH funded by the European Union.  

This article was written by Joy Paone and Iliana Yazmin Flores from the  EU-IOM Knowledge Management Hub team.