In partnership with the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Europe, in February 2021, ERRIN launched a project to develop a quality monitoring framework for reintegration assistance.
With return climbing high on the European Union (EU) political agenda, the last decade has witnessed a proliferation of Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programmes in Europe. AVRR programmes generally aim to incentivise return by supporting the reintegration of returnees in their country of origin. These programmes provide a more humane and dignified return. Moreover, AVRR programmes are increasingly considered as a vehicle to improve relationships with third countries and support local development. They are also deemed less politically and financially costly than forced returns.
Yet, the growing interest in reintegration assistance programmes has not been coupled with an equivalent effort to monitor and evaluate them. Embedding monitoring and evaluation (M&E) into AVRR programmes is crucial to know if activities meet policy goals and to provide an evidence base for programme design and implementation. While some organisations and EU Member States have undertaken some steps towards this goal, evidence of what works remains sporadic, and few programmes have deployed a robust M&E framework.
Measuring reintegration outcomes, or the ultimate success and sustainability of reintegration assistance, is crucial to determine whether the ambitions for returnees and wider communities are attained. Such data and analysis is not only valuable for policymakers who may need to make the case for continued investment in reintegration operations, but also for reintegration partners who seek to renew their contracts and wish to showcase their results. It is also critical to make programming better, by identifying which approaches are the most effective and under which conditions. But at present, there is often a ‘black box’ in terms of how and to what degree programme design and service delivery affects reintegration outcomes of returnees. The project aims to address this gap, by setting up a framework for monitoring the quality of reintegration support and, with all the partners, start to build a more robust body of evidence on reintegration.
Within the framework of the project, ERRIN and MPI Europe have held three workshops the Member States delving into the three ‘traditional’ dimensions of reintegration – economic, psychosocial, and social – between February and May 2021, as well as a series of interviews with reintegration stakeholders. These exchanges allow for a deep dive into the concept of successful reintegration and inform the drafting of a set of indicators that could guide future programming. The input from the Member States, and other stakeholders has directly informed the development of the quality monitoring framework and raised key operational questions.
As part of a second phase of the project, ERRIN and MPI Europe have organized two country-case study workshops, focusing on Armenia and Iraq. These activities contributed to showcase all the questions and challenges raised by rolling out such M&E framework. Further workshops are planned for February and March 2022 to delve into other key aspects of voluntary return and reintegration.