In recent years, there has been an increase in human mobility worldwide due to factors such as the search for better opportunities abroad, natural and man-made crises, environmental degradation and the increased circulation of information because of better technology. Higher flows of migration have also been accompanied by higher volumes of migrants returning to their countries of origin. Motivations for returning home range from the desire to reunite with families, lack of legal status, changed conditions in either host countries or countries of origin, to a sense of achievement of the migration experience and the willingness to start a new life back home, among others. Return is often followed by a process of re-inclusion or re-incorporation of migrants into their society. This process is usually referred to as “reintegration”.
While return and reintegration can happen spontaneously, without the assistance of external actors, humanitarian and development stakeholders increasingly recognize that reintegration is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon that requires a holistic and intentional response.
Scope of the Handbook
This Handbook provides practical guidance for designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating reintegration assistance programmes. Reintegration can take place in various return contexts, for example following spontaneous, forced or assisted voluntary returns or internal displacement. This Handbook focuses on assistance, in the context of migration management, provided to migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host countries. As such, it does not address reintegration of internally displaced persons or the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.
The Handbook is a hands-on tool. It is designed for various stakeholders involved in providing reintegrationrelated support at different levels and at different stages: project developers, project managers and case managers – but also policymakers and other reintegration practitioners. The Handbook is written on the premise that the goal of reintegration assistance is to foster the sustainable reintegration of returnees and that this requires a government-wide approach. In practice, this occurs through the adoption of coordinated policies and in harmonization with practices by relevant stakeholders at the international, regional, national and local levels. While many actors might have an interest in all proposed modules, each module indicates the specific target audience for which it is aimed.
The Handbook takes into account that reintegration programmes can vary greatly in scope, funding and size: different types of reintegration initiatives depend on various factors, such as the local context of return, donors’ priorities, returnees’ profiles and needs, and the number of returns in a given country, community or location, to name but a few. Consequently, it is not the purpose of this document to define standard operating procedures applicable to all contexts. Instead, the Handbook is a comprehensive resource to be used flexibly, based on the specific implementation conditions of each context. In short, it is a toolbox from which to draw the most appropriate initiatives that best fit a given context.
Furthermore, the Handbook provides guidance on how to assess available resources, the local environment and returnees’ profiles. There are suggestions for activities that could be implemented and tailored based on returnees’ needs. Finally, this Handbook can also be used to advocate for additional financial resources and partner engagement for reintegration programming.
This Handbook is divided into five modules. Practitioners can read these five modules in order or by selecting the sections most relevant to them as required (see suggestions, below). However, all users should read Module 1, which gives an overview of the overall approach and assumptions of the Handbook.
Module 1: An integrated approach to reintegration – describes the basic concepts of return and reintegration and explains IOM’s integrated approach to reintegration. It also lays out general considerations when developing a comprehensive reintegration programme, including assessments, staffing and budgeting.
Module 2: Reintegration assistance at the individual level – outlines suggested steps for assisting returnees, taking into account the economic, social and psychosocial dimensions of reintegration.
Module 3: Reintegration assistance at the community level – provides guidance on assessing community needs and engaging the community in reintegration activities. It also provides examples of community-level reintegration initiatives in the economic, social and psychosocial dimensions.
Module 4: Reintegration assistance at the structural level – proposes ways to strengthen capacities of all actors and to promote stakeholder engagement and ownership in reintegration programming. It suggests approaches for mainstreaming reintegration into existing policies and strategies.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Module 5: Monitoring and evaluation of reintegration assistance – provides guidance and tools to design programmes, monitor interventions and carry out evaluations to maximize effectiveness and learning.
Reintegration of children and their families
Module 6 : A child rights approach to the sustainable reintegration of migrant children and families – provides guidance on how to integrate and promote appropriate reintegration practices for returnee children.
The Annexes provide additional useful tools and further guidance on specific reintegration interventions.
The chart below outlines the main target audience for each Module. While, ideally, all actors involved in reintegration programming would benefit from reading the full Handbook, some actors will have more interest in certain sections because of their operational role in reintegration programming.
|Module 1: An integrated approach to reintegration||All reintegration relevant actors should understand the integrated approach to reintegration, including:
|Module 2: Reintegration assistance at the individual level||
|Module 3: Reintegration assistance at the community level||
|Module 4: Reintegration assistance at the structural level||
|Module 5: Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) for reintegration assistance||
|Module 6: A child rights approach to the sustainable reintegration of migrant children and families||
Each Module also contains the key messages at the beginning to highlight important points for the reader.
This Handbook is based on IOM’s experience in the field of reintegration. Thanks to its global presence, IOM is in a strong position to share expertise gained over many years of conceptualization and implementation of reintegration programming. As such, the Handbook provides numerous case studies and practical examples of where and how IOM and other partners have implemented the ideas and concepts covered in this guidance. The Handbook also emphasizes the importance of establishing synergies with relevant partners and working in close coordination with them to enable the best possible results in what are often very complex environments.