Impact evaluations at IOM’s Global Migration Data and Analysis Center

The growing efforts to rigorously evaluate the impact of our own interventions

For the past five year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been applying cutting-edge data collection and analysis methods in assessing the causal effects of its programing on targeted population. In IOM, these efforts are led by the Global Migration data Analysis Center (GMDAC). Since 2019, GMDAC conducted a systematic review of the evidence, and practical guidance on impact evaluation of information campaigns in the migration sector2 and published three impact evaluations reports (see text boxes). Leveraging on the methodologies and the findings of these studies, two other large-scale impact evaluations have been conducted (in Eastern and Western Africa) with reports launched in 2023.

Impact Evaluation Reports

Assessing the effectiveness of online Facebook campaigns targeting potential irregular migrants: A pilot study in three West African countries

The Impact of Mobile Cinema Events on Potential Migrants in Guinea

Migrants as Messengers: The Impact of Peer-to-Peer Communication on Potential Migrants in Senegal - Impact Evaluation Report

What is impact evaluation?

Impact evaluation is “a particular type of evaluation that seeks to answer a cause-and-effect question”: What is the causal effect of a project on one or several outcomes of interest? The focus is on the changes directly attributable to a project, its modality, or design. To achieve the goal of quantifying causal effects, having similar groups of beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of the project in a population is key. This is usually achieved through random assignment of part of potential beneficiaries to the intervention, while others do not benefit from the intervention, wherever ethically possible. The goal of the random assignment is to ensure similarity between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries in all aspects but the intervention to be measured. 

Why is it relevant for IOM policy and projects? Why is it relevant for Member State and the donor community?

Hundreds of projects  are implemented every year throughout the world in support to migration processes or in providing direct support to people on the move in need of assistance. However, very few interventions are grounded on rigorously established evidence of their causal effects and mechanisms. Good evidence on causal effects and causal mechanisms are key in order to improve quality of programming and project implementation and to achieve better measurable results. It is a key engagement of IOM for transparency and accountability towards member States and the donor community.

GMDAC, a service provider for IOM, partners and members states on rigorous impact evaluations 

Over the past years, GMDAC impact analysis team has developed its impact evaluation capacities and offers its services internally to IOM mission worldwide, and externally to humanitarian and development partners and member states.

The impact analysis team offers the following services:

Lead rigorous, collaborative impact evaluation in any relevant sector of intervention (AVRR, humanitarian operations, awareness raising campaigns, communication, etc.)

Support the development of proposals that include impact evaluation components  

Support in designing and conducting rigorous impact evaluations of specific interventions in migration sector using rigorous sample size calculation, sample selection processes for rigorous studies

  • Liaise with IOM and external data collection capacities
  • Develop guidelines and requirements in evaluating impact in specific sector
  • Advice and oversight services related to impact evaluations
  • Coordinates ex-post impact assessments and other impact-related research activities at IOM 
  • Generate evidence gap map to design future IOM projects as well as informing decision makers about existing evidence on migration topic 
  • Come-up with joint recommendations for policy and programming based on impact evaluation process and results
How to request GMDAC’s support on impact evaluation? 

We encourage all IOM missions and partners (Member States, Humanitarian and Development actors, Academics, etc.) to contact us for impact evaluation support. Requesting our support is simple: you can contact us directly at

Costs are highly contingent on the design, geographical scope, sample size and complexity of the intervention and can be adapted for your project. An allocation of 10% of the project budget can allow conducting rigorous impact evaluations including staff cost and operational activities but cost may vary.