New Research Reveals Insights and Challenges of Information Campaigns on Irregular Migration

Berlin – While information campaigns to promote safer migration decisions have been widely used globally, there are still knowledge gaps about their impact. On 14 June 2023, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) published the results of the impact evaluation study of the second phase of Migrants as Messengers (MaM-2). The study was conducted by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC).  

Migrants as Messengers is a flagship project conducted by IOM using an innovative peer-to-peer awareness-raising approach and aiming at empowering young people to make informed migration-related decisions in West Africa.  

The study analyzed the effects of information and awareness initiatives in the Gambia, Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal involving 14,000 survey participants across 333 locations. A key innovation of the study is that the research team randomly assigned the locations that participated in the campaign.  

“The study evaluated the effects of awareness raising activities on knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and intentions related to irregular migration by using a cluster randomized controlled trial approach,” said Oumarou Hebie, study lead.  

The results of this study point to the importance of peer-to-peer safe migration information campaigns such as MaM. According to the study, 52 to 79 per cent of the population trust returnees as a good source of information.  

Irregular migration from West Africa to Europe is driven by multiple, often overlapping factors. One such factor is the limited knowledge of the risks of irregular migration. To address this issue, information campaigns are implemented throughout the region as a policy tool to tackle misinformation and promote safer decision-making on migration. 

The project engaged returning migrants, drawing from their own experience to design and develop community engagement activities. The campaign is carried out directly by volunteer returnees who share accounts of their migration experiences with their communities and families. Through interviews and on-the-ground activities, these volunteers engage their peers so they too can share their stories.  

“The research team was able to pinpoint challenges related to the campaign implementation, participant engagement, and the varying effectiveness of different campaign objectives. This information enables IOM to enhance efforts to better reach and serve potential migrants,” said Eduardo Acostamadiedo, data officer at GMDAC.  

The impact evaluation study provides recommendations for conducting robust evaluations in real-world settings, establishing clear causal effects, and for implementing information campaigns as a whole. However, there are still a lot of unclear aspects that need further investigation in order to improve the design of future awareness raising projects.  

Click here to read the full study.  

For more information please contact: 

Damien Jusselme, IOM GMDAC, Email: Tel: +221338696200

Andi Pratiwi, IOM GMDAC, Email: Tel: +49 151 64128933