Module 1: An integrated approach to reintegration

1.4 Establishing a comprehensive reintegration programme

The  reintegration process is not linear and the integrated approach to reintegration reflects the dynamism of the reintegration context. Therefore, reintegration programmes should aim to address the individual, community and structural levels simultaneously and take into account how each level can affect the others.

This chapter presents an overview of key considerations, appropriate assessments for the country of origin and operational staff based there, as well as budget aspects to guide the development and implementation of reintegration programmes.

This information is complemented by Annexes 5, 6 and 7, which provide practical tools that can be used and adapted to each context.

1.4.1 Key considerations for reintegration assistance
1.4.2 Assessing the return context
1.4.3 Developing a reintegration assistance programme

The chart below highlights the proposed steps to take when designing a reintegration programme.

1.4.1 Key considerations for reintegration assistance

The information below covers the key considerations for developing and implementing a comprehensive reintegration programme in line with the integrated approach to reintegration. These considerations underpin all the guidance and interventions described in this Handbook.


Reintegration programming should always promote the returnee’s ownership of and active participation in the reintegration process. Reintegration assistance should be designed and delivered in collaboration with returnees, whose autonomy and agency should be promoted. The rights and needs of the returnee should be at the forefront. Assistance should be gender- and age-sensitive. It should be provided without discrimination or prejudice on the basis of age, race, skin colour, sex, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, or birth or other status.


Reintegration assistance programmes should always consider how to support sustainable reintegration processes even after assistance is no longer necessary or available. This requires promoting local and national ownership and strengthening capacity and systems at the community and structural levels.

Organizations providing reintegration assistance should also consider the environmental sustainability of their programmes and interventions in line with international standards. Where possible, programmes should directly contribute to preserving or restoring the environment.


As described in the integrated approach to reintegration, reintegration assistance should include economic, social and psychosocial dimensions.

Reintegration interventions can address several dimensions simultaneously. For example, a community-based income-generating activity that involves both returnees and community members might impact the economic dimension through the creation of livelihoods, whilst the psychosocial dimension might be impacted by the fostering of social cohesion between returnees and community members.

Strategic and tailored

Reintegration assistance should be designed based on an analysis of the unique circumstances of the return environment. Such an analysis should focus on: the overall context and services available (see section 1.4.2), individual capacities and needs (see section 2.2), wider challenges and opportunities in high-return or key communities (see section 3.1) and structural conditions, stakeholders and coordination mechanisms (see Module 4). Analyses should be continually updated because conditions can change over time. Programmes should be adaptable to a changing environment.

Using this contextual knowledge, reintegration assistance initiatives should develop a programme theory, or theory of change, that clearly articulates the desired results an intervention aims to achieve and how it aims to achieve them, in the specific context in question. This theory of change provides an overall strategy to guide the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the programme. See section 5.2.1 for more information on developing a theory of change.

Adequately resourced

Programmes require adequate human and financial resources. Reintegration teams that have expertise in a wide range of areas (for example psychosocial experts, livelihood experts, medical staff) should be mobilized or recruited, and when possible, both in host countries and countries of origin (see section 1.4.3 for more detail on relevant staff profiles).

Budgeting processes should take into account the need to remain flexible and adaptable by allocating for unforeseen changes or adjustments. While funding availability may limit comprehensive reintegration assistance, reintegration programme managers should promote community-based approaches and structural interventions that complement individual level assistance. Where funding is not adequate enough to provide comprehensive assistance to everyone, programmes should prioritize returnees in vulnerable situations.

Delivered through coordination and partnership

The integrated approach to reintegration requires developing coordination, complementarity and coherence with all stakeholders. These can include governmental and non-governmental, public and private, local and international actors in host countries and countries of origin. Partnerships and good coordination enhance the range and quality of reintegration assistance and can make assistance more efficient by reducing duplication of effort. Coordination should occur:

  1. Between local and regional actors who work directly with returnees and their communities in host countries and countries of origin. These actors could include authorities, NGOs, religious and community leaders, employment centres at the local or regional level and between this local/regional level and the national level.
  2. Across various sectors and among relevant ministries and State agencies holding different mandates (such as interior, foreign affairs, labour, social affairs, humanitarian assistance and development), as well as non-State stakeholders. It is important to mainstream sustainable reintegration into existing coordination mechanisms for migration policies or cross-sectoral mechanisms rather than create new systems that risk being disconnected from other processes.
  3. Between host countries and countries of origin, at both national and local levels through decentralized cooperation dynamics. For example, host countries and countries of origin should work together to agree on a shared analysis of the local context for return.

Institutional dialogue between partners can promote a common understanding of the challenges related to return and reintegration and can inform and influence policy development. Interdisciplinary forums for exchange and discussion can unearth cooperation opportunities.

Practitioners and stakeholders can also exchange information and best practices to identify opportunities for synergies and scaling up (for example, through implementation of joint initiatives at the transnational level).


Systematic monitoring and long-term evaluation to assess effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, impact and sustainability should be part of reintegration assistance programming at all three levels of intervention (see Module 5 for details on setting up a monitoring and evaluation system in reintegration programmes). Data collected during the monitoring of direct assistance to returnees, including their feedback, is an important source of information on the effectiveness, impact and sustainability of reintegration measures. Long-term monitoring and evaluation also helps assess the impact of different types of reintegration support on the individual returnee and the community as a whole.

Systematic and continuous data collection, while preserving the right to privacy and protection of personal data, and monitoring and evaluation help stakeholders, especially programme managers, understand the impact of reintegration interventions, verify the theory of change and inform ongoing and future programme design. Feedback mechanisms allow returnees, communities and other beneficiaries to express their views on the assistance received in an open and confidential manner.

Anchored on confidentiality and “do no harm”

Programmes must take measures to protect the personal data of returnees in the reintegration process. This is essential in order to preserve the privacy, integrity and human dignity of the returnees. All personal data must be collected, used, transferred and stored securely in accordance with international data protection standards.13

The “do no harm” approach should be adhered to in reintegration programming at all levels. Support for returnees should cause no harm to the returnees themselves and no harm to their communities. Analysing sources of tension, power dynamics and conflict issues at the onset of programming and then monitoring them continuously, will identify key dividers and connectors within communities and help show how the programme can avoid exacerbating conflict or harm to individuals or groups.

Situated within a migration governance strategy

It is important to remember that reintegration is not an isolated process but part of a larger migration governance strategy. Strengthening reintegration support at the national level can enhance good migration governance and contribute to other development and governance goals.

The drivers that resulted in a migrant’s initial decision to migrate and the factors influencing their ability to re-integrate into the country of origin are two sides of the same coin. If these factors are not addressed, the result will continue to be outward migration as a coping mechanism for actual or perceived inadequate standards of living, a lack of opportunities and insecurity. Reintegration programming should therefore be fully integrated, nationally and locally, into existing development plans and migration strategies.

1.4.2 Assessing the return context

When establishing a reintegration programme, it is important to undertake initial assessments and analyses around the return environment. Understanding the political, institutional, economic, security and social conditions at the local, national and international levels that inform return patterns can help stakeholders develop appropriate supports for sustainable reintegration.

This section guides programme development and management staff through the suggested assessments that should take place in countries of origin. These include mapping policies, laws, labour markets and social conditions, stakeholders and services available to support the sustainable reintegration of returnees. At the end of this initial mapping process, reintegration providers are encouraged to synthesize this information into a project-specific feasibility grid for use during reintegration planning at the individual, community and structural levels, as detailed in section 1.4.3.

Assessments described in this section are highly recommended, especially at the onset of reintegration assistance programmes. Nevertheless, it is also very important to consult them throughout the programme and the project cycle, because they may change.

After the assessment phase, potential reintegration initiatives should be prioritized according to available budget. Whenever possible, responsibilities and costs should be shared by various stakeholders. Note that some reintegration initiatives are not necessarily cost-intensive but require coordination and adaptation to existing mechanisms.

Situation analysis for return and reintegration in the country of origin

A situation analysis in the country of origin details the return and reintegration context and trends as well as the wider policy framework.

Specifically, it should include the:

  • Return and reintegration context

    • Key return migration trends, including an assessment by geographic patterns (which localities migrants mostly return to and originate from, concentration of migrants);

    • Assessment of past reintegration support projects to identify relevant reintegration strategies and sectors that effectively supported the development of local communities and the sustainable reintegration of returnees (including from an environmental perspective);

    • General historical, social, cultural and economic characteristics of the country and how these affect migration;

    • Socioeconomic situation of returnees across different time intervals after initial return, by geographic area, age, sex, gender, skill level, support received, in comparison to local population.

  • Policy framework

    • Mechanisms, processes, policies and legislation (at local, national, regional and international levels) that are relevant to return and reintegration;

    • Government structure, decision-making processes, levels of decentralization and responsibilities;

    • Existing migration and development framework and how it affects reintegration outcomes.

  • Political and security situation

    • Political climate including any upcoming elections or deadlines and main actors;

    • Security situation including any access restrictions and major security risks in the country and in different areas within the country.

To reduce costs and enable a holistic approach to return and reintegration in the wider migration and development context, the situation analysis should be linked with other development planning strategies or frameworks (such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper poverty diagnostics, ILO Decent Work Country Programmes or UN Development Assistance Framework or Common Country Assessment). Rather than starting from scratch, situation analyses should build on existing information, including information about current and expected future returns and community assessments. This information could include studies of past reintegration beneficiaries to assess the effectiveness of any existing reintegration support frameworks information on the reintegration-development nexus; and local level service provision. Ideally, a situation analysis should be performed by a team of local and international experts using a participatory approach. It should solicit perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders, including return migrants and non-migrants in areas of high return, to elicit comprehensive information and foster ownership and sustainability of the process.

Understanding the frameworks, regulations and policies of service provision

Before mapping existing services and resources and planning for the details of reintegration assistance programming, it is important to be aware of the local, national, regional and local rules and systems for service provision.

Reintegration programming should be developed with a clear understanding of the country’s legislation regulating service provision, its frameworks and policies and any referral systems that are already in place (such as for mental health care or to assist victims of trafficking).

The example below guides staff in understanding the context of mental health-care provision. Similar questions can and should be asked in all service areas relevant for reintegration, such as housing, education and employment.

Table 1.1: Sample questions for mapping health-care frameworks, regulations and policies

Legislation and Policy
  • What is the legislation and the policy in force at national level for mental health care?
  • Do central, regional or local authorities finance mental health-care services?
Partnerships/Referral Systems
  • Are there local, regional, national partnerships between organizations, private sector and the government for the provision of mental health care?
  • Is there a formal and operational national referral system for mental health?
Insurance and coverage
  • Are mental health services free? If yes to what extent? If not, how much do they cost?
  • Are there insurance schemes providing free care?
  • How much do they cost?
  • What are the requirements to access the insurance scheme?
Drugs and medications
  • Is there a national list of drugs and medications?
  • Are drugs and medications, especially psychotropic drugs, available at every care level (primary, secondary and tertiary)?
  • Are they to be paid by the patients?
Categories of caregivers
  • In terms of human resources, what are the professional categories of caregivers working in the mental health sector?
Traditional care system
  • Is a traditional care system available and what kind? :
  • Are these practices regulated and or assessed?

Stakeholder mapping

The involvement of national and local authorities and other private and non-public stakeholders is instrumental to the success of reintegration programmes. In order to engage with actors who are or should be relevant to the reintegration of returnees, it is essential to conduct a mapping of actors in areas with a high incidence of return migration. Stakeholder mapping provides a comprehensive assessment of the capacity, needs, willingness and potential for partnerships of different stakeholders at the national and local level. A comprehensive stakeholder mapping is required for establishing the scope of a reintegration programme. Guidance on using the stakeholder mapping to develop engagement strategies, capacity-building initiatives and coordination and cooperation mechanisms is included in Module 4.

Relevant stakeholders can include a variety of different public, private and civil society actors, including government ministries and agencies, local governments, municipal stakeholders, private sector entities, CSOs and NGOs, migrant associations and diaspora organizations, and international organizations active at the local level. These could be at work in a range of policy sectors, according to the country context (for instance in the development, migration, environment or humanitarian sectors).

  • Never conduct a stakeholder mapping in isolation. Before starting a stakeholder mapping exercise, the lead reintegration organization should engage with partner organizations (such as key government ministries, UN agencies, international NGOs and so on) as well as community leaders and local authorities who are active in the area and have first-hand experience with relevant stakeholders. This can facilitate the mapping exercise and reduce its time and cost. It also enables the transfer of informal knowledge on the roles, expectations, capacity and intentions of stakeholders that may not be accessible through direct engagement with the stakeholders themselves. Local authorities can play a key role in this information- gathering.
  • Whenever possible, information about stakeholders’ capacity, interests and motivations should be validated using other sources to take account of different perspectives and eliminate potential bias, intentional or otherwise.
  • Finally, stakeholder mappings should be continuous. They should yield a growing network of actual and potential national and local partners that evolves over time as new stakeholders emerge, reintegration programme objectives evolve and return flows change.

Table 1.2 below provides step-by-step guidance for conducting a stakeholder mapping exercise for reintegration programmes.

Table 1.2: Conducting a stakeholder mapping for reintegration programme implementation

Step Activities
1. Pre-select
  • Prioritize local areas with high incidences of current and/or expected future returns. The budgets of reintegration programmes are often limited, and therefore cost-and resource-intensive stakeholder mapping exercises should be conducted primarily in contexts which do or will accommodate larger inflows of returnees. National authorities such as the Ministry of Interior or the National Bureau of Statistics can often provide relevant information on locallties registering a higher demand for reintegration-related services.
2. Identify
  • Identify entities or groups present at the national and local level who:
    • have the potential to i) improve the delivery of services to return migrants and/or ii) provide support to the economic, social and psychosocial reintegration of returnees (such as the local municipality, private sector actors, relevant suppliers and so on); and/or
    • are likely to be affected by the return and reintegration of returnees, for instance local communities or small-scale entrepreneurs who may be affected by increased competition.
  • Include key cross-cutting issues, such as gender and environmental sustainability, and relevant actors in the stakeholder mapping.
3. Analyse
  • Analyse the role, expectations, willingness to collaborate, capacity, and needs of each identified stakeholder. Some stakeholders have the potential to affect the performance of the reintegration programme more than others. A possible way to assess this is to ask the following questions for each identified stakeholder:
    • What are the principal functions and the role of the stakeholder in the national/local context that are relevant to the reintegration programme and its performance?
    • What are the key motivations of the stakeholder in relation to the reintegration programme and its foreseeable outcomes? Who has a financial stake/interest?Who has a political interest? If the stakeholder is disinclined to engage with or support the reintegration programme, what are the key reasons? Can they be addressed or mitigated?
    • Is the capacity of the stakeholder adequate to become engaged with the reintegration programme and its beneficiaries? If not, what support would they require in order for this to become the case?
  • Where present, stakeholders' existing strategies and development plans should be assessed and used to guide the design of reintegration interventions. The legitimacy and institutional role of national and local stakeholders should be respected and existing initiatives and resources complemented and supported, rather than creating separate structures and strategies.
  • Finally, it is important to map both the main supporters and the key potential obstructors to collaboration. Using a matrix and then mapping stakeholders (see Annex 6 for a sample) according to their role, expectations, capacity and willingness, enables the lead reintegration organization to create a picture of stakeholders' level of involvement and therefore the type of engagement that will be required with them. Assessing their motivations also provides insights in to how to successfully engage them for partnerships and collaborations.
4. Prioritize
  • Assess the relevance of different stakeholder categories in the light of the stakeholder mapping, identified reintegration challenges, capacities and foreseen reintegration planning. Prioritization is key to maximizing engagement with the most relevant stakeholders and to avoid wasting time and resources by communicating to stakeholders who do not require it. The relative importance of different categories of stakeholder depends greatly on:
    • Reintegration programming parameters. The lead reintegration organization's budget and capacity greatly affects which stakeholders are most relevant in a given context.
    • Number and profile of returnees. The higher the number of returnees, the greater the strains on the provision of essential services and the potential risks of tensions with local non-migrant communities. In cases of high inflows of returnees, pay particular attention to targeting and engaging providers of essential services and local non-migrant communities, who are a strategically important stakeholder category for the success of any reintegration programme. The profiles (skills, age, gender) of current and future returnees, to the extent that they are known at the stage of the initial stakeholder mapping, greatly affect the relative importance of national and local stakeholders. For instance, a group of returnees mainly consisting of young migrants is likely to shift the stakeholder prioritization to partnerships with stakeholders that can support the socioeconomic reintegration of youth.
    • Socioeconomic and environmental context. Understanding the current situation in the national and local area (such as inadequate provision of essential services, post-conflict context, structural oversupply of labour, volatile business environment) can point to specific sectors where partnerships will be needed to address challenges or opportunities.
5. Engage
  • Develop an engagement strategy. Building on the prior steps, the lead reintegration organization will have defined strategic objectives and prioritized relevant stakeholders. The interrelation of these two aspects will define the choice of engagement and communications' strategy for the different groups of mapped stakeholders (see section 4.1 for instructions on developing a stakeholder engagement strategy).

A sample Stakeholder Mapping Matrix is included in Annex 6 which can be adapted to the context and analysis needs.

Service mapping

When planning a reintegration programme, it is crucial to know what services are available to the local population in the country of origin that returnees can access during their reintegration process. Service mapping is the identification and recording of providers and services in a systematic way. It details what local services are available to local populations and returnees, the criteria for accessing those services, who offers those services, the quality of the services and any risks associated with accessing the services.

At the individual level, this mapping is essential for case managers when directly assisting returnees and their families to meet specific needs. Service mapping is also a preliminary step in assessing the communities to which migrants return since it can not only help identify gaps in services provision but also potential strategic and operational partners. It is a good first step towards creating networks at the community level. At the structural level, this is the first phase of establishing or strengthening national or local referral mechanisms (see section 4.1.3).

Consulting service mapping by other partners should be undertaken prior to conducting a new mapping. During the mapping, national staff who are familiar with the sectors, local area, and speak the local language should collect the information.

While there are different ways to approach service mapping, efforts should ideally include:

  • An organization or a provider’s contact information
  • Type of service provided
  • Information regarding service times
  • Typical wait times for appointments
  • Inclusion and exclusion criteria for participating in a service
  • Costs of service
  • Regulations regarding payment
  • Location and accessibility
  • Safety of location
  • Information on relevant public transport options and directions
  • Barriers to access
  • Language capacities
  • Any potential cultural and religious aspects, gender or age implications of these characteristics
  • Professionalism and quality of care
  • Experience supporting returning migrants
  • Perceptions and trust in service providers by the local population

A service mapping should also identify barriers to access (such as eligibility or intake criteria that exclude certain returnees, the location and distance of service delivery, safety and security concerns, time and financial constraints, and documentation requirements) or where services are lacking. Such barriers should be noted so that they can potentially be addressed as part of the reintegration interventions.

Service maps should be regularly updated once the reintegration programme is in place. As such, service organizations or case managers should build in dedicated time and budget resources to update service maps at regular intervals over time. Following up with returnees regularly and systematically recording new information provided through their experiences, can be part of this updating process. Frequently asking about changes in a service provider’s contact information, operating hours, costs, eligibility criteria, transportation options and service availability can help a service map stay accurate and improve reintegration planning.

A matrix is provided in Annex 8 that outlines the major services relevant to reintegration programming that should be mapped, as well as sector-specific considerations.

Labour market analysis

Assessment of local and national labour markets, market systems and value chains is essential for identifying economic reintegration opportunities. It is instrumental to the success of both individual-level and community-based reintegration approaches. Information on available livelihood opportunities and key employment sectors, the skills employers are seeking, as well as the available mechanisms for finding work in a local labour market are crucial for reintegration programme beneficiaries. Absence of this information and poor market knowledge can lead to economic failure of returnees’ livelihood projects.

Labour market assessments (LMAs) include analyses, research papers and reports that assess the composition, nature, growth and accessibility of labour markets and market systems. These assessments look at both national and subnational data. LMAs are generally performed by external contractors, so this section only provides a concise overview of the different approaches to LMAs. Before undertaking an LMA, it is important to research whether an up-to-date assessment already exists (perhaps undertaken by another partner or the government).

In the context of reintegration programming, LMAs generally aim to:

  • Determine high-potential growth sectors which may provide employment or self-employment opportunities for returnees, including opportunities for “green jobs” (for more information on green jobs see the Tip below);

  • Identify skills’ needs and skills’ mismatches (the gap between an individual’s or population’s competencies and skills and the skills’ needs of the labour market) by sector and occupation;

  • Identify relevant regulations and sector-specific legislative provisions such as working hours, legal work age, mandatory benefits, accessibility and equal opportunity provisions;

  • Assess business start-up costs and registration procedures, including legal assistance, to adapt business support to local contexts; and

  • Identify constraints and opportunities in a market system, including:

    • The supporting services or functions (such as access to market information) that may enable individuals to find steady work;

    • The roles that informal and cultural norms, including gender norms, play in the labour market.

There are various approaches and methodologies for assessing labour markets and market systems. They differ in their resource intensity, comprehensiveness and level of detail of findings. Before choosing a tool or approach, determine the purpose of the LMA. Is it to collect broad information about a population or market? Or to gain additional information on a specific sector or local labour market? Clarify budget requirements for LMAs at an early stage of project development, as comprehensive LMAs can be very expensive. Once available, LMA findings should be shared with potential beneficiaries early on during the pre-departure process.

An overview of relevant approaches for labour market and market assessments is provided below. These tools are not necessarily alternative approaches to LMA but can also complement each other when implemented within a single reintegration programme. For instance, a Rapid Market Assessment can provide an overview of high-potential markets, which can subsequently be assessed in greater detail through a comprehensive market system analysis. Finally, all three tools not only function as analysis tools, but, due to the way they engage local stakeholders (through interviews, workshops, focus groups and so on), they can also build a foundation for long-term cooperation and partnerships for community-based projects.

Table 1.3: Overview of different labour market and market assessment tools14

Tool Use case Methodology Duration Resource intensity
Participatory appraisal of competitive advantage

Provides an action-oriented appraisal of a I local economy, looking at economic potentials and at the motivation and capacity for action of local stakeholders

Provides information on local competitiveness and economic opportunities, and which activities and subsectors are most relevant to a project's target territories

Motivates local stakeholders to participate in a collaborative assessment of local needs and in the design of the resulting projects

Mixed approach combining desk research, stakeholder workshops, semi-structured interviews Short (2-4weeks) Low
Partnerships/Referral Systems

Provides an overview of high-potential markets to determine their relevance to target groups, the opportunities for economic reintegration and the feasibility of intervening

Engages with local stakeholders to assesssectoral needs and opportunities and can lead to long-term collaboration

Mixed approach combining desk research, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, field visits Medium (2-4months) Medium
Value chain analysis/market system analysis

Provide detailed insight on a prioritized set of subsectors, including comprehensive information on sector performance and value chains

Provides insights into "how" to intervene in a : given value chain or market system, leveraging ' opportunities and avoiding disruptive effects

Mixed approach combining desk research, field research, case analysis, stakeholder consultations and stakeholder workshops Long (4+months) High
  • In order to also account for the socioeconomic needs of a community, identify possible local partners and assess the potential effect that return migration will have on communities, LMAs for reintegration programming should systematically be combined with community profiles (see section 3.1). Combining the findings of an LMA with a community profile, positions reintegration programme managers to:
    • Identify key sectors in the economy that should be targeted;

    • Determine promising programme design options and economic interventions that can maximize the opportunities of a market system while avoiding disruptive socioeconomic effects); and

    • Match suitable returnee profiles for each sector or subsector and project.


Opportunities in the green economy: green jobs

To contribute to sustainable development in the country of origin and identify a growing labour market, LMAs and subsequent reintegration assistance should consider assessing and highlighting the availability of green jobs. Many governments recognize the important contribution of green jobs to sustainable development. Such jobs can provide employment opportunities for returning migrants while contributing to national and community level efforts to preserve the environment and adapt to the negative effects of climate change.

ILO defines green jobs as “decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

Green jobs help:

  • Improve energy and raw materials’ efficiency
  • Limit greenhouse gas emissions
  • Minimize waste and pollution
  • Protect and restore ecosystems
  • Support adaptation to the effects of climate change

Relevance for reintegration:

Green jobs can be created by entrepreneurs in the private sector, by public authorities, by NGOs, or by partnerships involving different types of stakeholder. “Green jobs can be created in all countries regardless of their level of economic development. They can be promoted in urban as well as rural areas, in all sectors and industrial activities and types of enterprises.”


1.4.3 Developing a reintegration assistance programme

Reintegration staff profiles

While a comprehensive human resources guide for organizations providing reintegration assistance is beyond the scope of this Handbook, this section provides an overview of crucial staffing considerations for various reintegration programming contexts.

When deciding the staffing structure and recruitment approach for a reintegration project, the following considerations are important:

  • Programme framework: The programme framework agreement specifies the implementation process and operations that should be carried out for a successful reintegration programme. It generally specifies the roles, mandates and responsibilities of the lead reintegration organization and implementing partners; sets the available financial resources; and directs reporting and coordination processes. Because it defines the organization’s role, responsibilities and external resources (including those of implementing partners), the programme framework has a decisive impact on the staff make-up required for the programme.

  • Contextual and structural factors: Contexts vary! Preliminary assessments, detailed in section 1.4.2, can identify contextual and structural challenges, such as conflict or instability, inadequate provision of basic services or the absence of psychosocial care providers. The assessment can help determine what additional expertise is needed to undertake programming in these areas or deal with obstacles during implementation.

  • Implementing and operating partners: In countries where many partners can provide effective economic, social and psychosocial reintegration support services, staff roles will shift from direct assistance to focusing more on referrals, supervision and follow-up. By contrast, in implementing contexts where partners are few or lacking adequate capacity, reintegration staff members may need to provide a variety of different functions directly, which requires greater financial and human resources.

  • Beneficiary-to-case manager ratio: While good reintegration programming seeks to maintain the beneficiary-case manager ratio at sustainable levels,15 unforeseen spikes in returns can temporarily increase the number of returnees that reintegration case managers need to take care of. Case managers need awareness around self-care to prevent their burnout, and to keep staff turnover low.

  • Profiles of returnees: The psychosocial, social and economic needs of returnees differ. General characteristics of returnees (such as sex, gender, age, ability, ethnicity) need to be considered when planning staffing. The degree and type of support that the average returnee requires affects ideal staffing profiles and training. For example, in scenarios where most beneficiaries have experienced significant psychosocial stress, case managers require adequate training to sustainably provide high-quality care for returnees’ psychosocial needs.

  • Capacity and expertise versus number of staff: In some programmes, the budget can fund staff with specific expertise in certain areas of reintegration (such as psychosocial, economic and social counselling and support). In other programmes, staff may need to fulfil a wide range of economic, social and psychosocial counselling and support functions in all three areas. They might need to i) assess needs, ii) develop an individual reintegration plan, iii) implement the intervention and coordinating services and care and iv) monitor the beneficiary’s access to services, their use of services and their progress over time. The different roles and responsibilities associated with each position need to be clearly defined in staff terms of reference prior to the hiring process.

Each of the above factors feeds into what type of reintegration staff is needed or possible (given budgets). Annex 9 provides an overview of potential staff profiles. While the functions provided are not exhaustive, they feature the major groups of staff who could be represented in reintegration projects.

Both male and female and staff should be employed within any office to provide returnees with a choice between working with female or male staff, as well as provide a balance in gender perspectives. All staff should be trained in and adhere to ethical principles, standards and guidelines for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, and in a gender- and age-sensitive response to returnees.

Selecting relevant individual, collective and community interventions

Given the wide degree of interventions possible in reintegration programmes, once a programme theory of change, logical framework and resources have been put into place it is necessary to set up a mechanism for selecting activities based on individual, community and structural needs. A feasibility grid is a tool that can guide this process by targeting and tailoring interventions for specific likely scenarios. Based on the assessments, the project developer can identify which interventions are appropriate for the context and define a feasibility grid specific to their programme.

The feasibility grid outlines all possible local interventions within the scope of the reintegration programme; criteria for the application of these interventions for specific cases; and conditions for feasibility at the community and structural levels. Once developed, the feasibility grid can help case managers identify which specific intervention to choose for a particular returnee or community. The full feasibility grid is found in Annex 5.

In short, though, the feasibility grid contains the following components:

  • Intervention – The grid includes all interventions which can be implemented by the reintegration programme, as well as all services available locally through referrals.
  • Scenario For each intervention, the grid should specify a scenario – a situation, status or condition, under which such intervention would be appropriate.
  • Criteria – individual, community and structural. The grid specifies the conditions of feasibility for each type of intervention. Conditions could include individual characteristics or attitudes of returnees, characteristics of the community or structural factors necessary for successful implementation of the intervention (such as favourable labour market conditions). The criteria should always be carefully adapted to local conditions to identify reliable, locally appropriate interventions.
    • Individual criteria: Information on the returnee and their family from assessments. The returnee’s general profile, needs, skills, reintegration score (if using the Reintegration Sustainability Survey) and eligibility should inform the identification of individual risk factors and opportunities that affect reintegration (see column “Individual criteria” in the feasibility grid). This helps case managers and beneficiaries tailor a reintegration plan to the beneficiary’s circumstances.
    • Community criteria: Information on the community where the returnee lives, including any ongoing collective and community-based interventions. This information could cover the i) labour market situation; ii) structure and size of markets and value chains; iii) availability, capacity and accessibility of technical vocational education and training (TVET) providers, health services, education facilities, financial management training, life skills’ programmes; iv) intra-community availability and distribution of resources and services, with equity factors an important determinant of potential intra-community tension due to perceived preferential treatment of returnees over other community members. Once these criteria have been considered, the project developer and project manager can narrow down a tailored set of adequate interventions from a community-sensitive standpoint.
    • Structural criteria: The structural environment affecting the returnee’s reintegration, including all available reintegration services provided within the given area of coverage. These are the overall conditions in which the individual and or community-level reintegration pathways are embedded. Structural criteria include i) presence and capacity of institutional, material, economic and financial infrastructure; ii) structure and nature of market systems; iii) nature of regulatory, legal and policy environment; iv) presence of cultural or other sensitivities. Structural factors are overarching and affect the feasibility of interventions in similar ways. However, fundamental criteria such as business regulation and cultural appropriateness need to be cross-checked regularly.

13 This includes, among other elements, the principle of lawful and fair collection of data for a specified and legitimate purpose, the principles of consent, confidentiality, access and transparency and data security. For the IOM Data Protection Principles, see: IOM Data Protection Manual (Geneva, 2010).

14 ILO, 2016; ILO, 2017 and Meyer-Stamer, J., Participatory Appraisal of Competitive Advantage (PACA): Effectively Launching Economic Development Initiatives, Mesopartner (Duisburg, Germany, 2006).

15 The sustainability of the beneficiary-case manager ratio is itself context-specific, as it depends on the average level of support and counselling that beneficiaries require. In a scenario where returnees have fled a country of origin in a situation of conflict, they may suffer from specific vulnerabilities during the return and reintegration which may place additional burdens on case managers. Programme managers should carefully monitor the psychosocial dimension of the workload of case managers in order to establish a contextually adequate ratio of beneficiaries to case managers.