Front cover of the report. Includes text "Comparative Analysis: current migration crises and the implication for Colombian response. March 2021" Includes map of the world in brown with green areas marked to show the regions under focus.

Lessons Learned from Comparative Analysis of Current Migration Crises

Download the report to read more about the lessons learned from the comparative analysis and better understand the socio-economic consequences and key dynamics of the current migration phenomenon. 


Recent migration from Venezuela has represented a major challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean, resembling the Syrian migration phenomenon and humanitarian crisisAccording to the Regional Refugee and Migration Response Plan (RMRP) 2020-2021, 5.4 million Venezuelan migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers were reported outside their country as of November 5, 2020. Some 4.6 million of those are hosted in the region, including an estimated 1 million with irregular status.  

Sayara’s significant experience includes studying migration trends and protection programming, and providing support to host governments and aid agencies in more than 25 countries in Central Asia and The Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. This experience, combined with a thorough review of existing literature on migration-focused programming, allows our team to provide important comparative value. The report introduced below incorporates key dynamics and socio-economic consequences as well as lessons learned from development partner responses, focusing on social and economic integration. Our aim is for these lessons learned to inform the next responses to the migration crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Lessons Learned from Donor Responses to Refugee, Displaced, and Migrant Populations 


Benefits to Host Government and Communities 

From emergency response to infrastructure, and to livelihood-oriented projects in the Middle East, Horn oAfrica (HoA), and Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA) regions, the comparative analysis found that benefits to host governments (e.g. capacity-building) and addressing host communities needs (including service delivery and infrastructure) had a positive impact on project achievements.  

When projects successfully addressed host government capacity-building needs, studies found that the quality of service delivered to migrants improved as result of increased awareness and attitudes of government staff. An evaluation of a regional International Organization for Migration (IOM) reintegration project in NTCA countries demonstrated that ownership and sustainability was more likely in Guatemala where support and training to municipalities was strongest relative to El Salvador, where participation by host community authorities and groups was limited. 

Policy and Strategy 

Development partner responses fared best when they filled ‘gaps’ in a host country’s national legislative framework that permitted decent work and social protection of refugees and IDPs with their programming activities. Turkey’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis showed the benefits from non-camp approaches that give “refugees the opportunity to secure their own homes, livelihoods, and services to maximize self-reliance during their displacement period.” Under the Jordan Compact, support to Jordanian firms “enhanced opportunities to access new markets” where refugees could obtain temporary work, benefiting host communities and refugee community self-reliance.  

In the HoA region, Ethiopia provides an interesting case study on the transition from more restrictive policies concerning refugees towards implementation of activities that support their self-reliance. In fact, some development partners “are supporting the development of a national compact in Ethiopia that is focused on job creation.”  

Training and Capacity-Building 

Turkey’s response to the Syrian crisis is a successful example of strengthening “national and local institutions to respond to [the] displacement crisis instead of introducing parallel external delivery channels.” Similarly, in Sudan, training and sensitization for community stakeholders on environmental sanitation and solid waste disposal practices contributed to a reduction in the prevalence of diseases that would have otherwise arisen from sanitation hazards. In North Africa, evaluators found that the IOM “advocated for networking and widening the base for dialogue amongst different partners working on migration issues to meet for the first time and work in a collaborative manner.” This promoted better coordination with CSOs. Likewise, in Nicaragua, the IOM was credited with adequately planning technical and management needs, which helped to limit start-up delays during implementation.  

Use of Technology 

The use of technology in migration-focused programming was especially relevant for strengthening local capacity, when development partners adequately planned activities. The integration of technology is deemed as an “enabler” in the evaluators’ appraisal of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) support to the Jordan Compact. The ILO project focused on the integration of a job-matching platform and a labor-law application which enhanced “male and female beneficiaries’ access to reliable information and services, while streamlining program efficiency.”  

Similarly, the IOM has introduced e-learning opportunities with self-guided, as well as tutored, options in NTCA countries. According to evaluators, interviews with beneficiaries identified that they “greatly valued these e-learning courses and were eager for further modules and courses.” These courses for migration authorities focused on issues such as unaccompanied migrant children. Finally, the use of mobile applications for service referrals helps support efforts to protect migrants and refugees in the HoA. 

Targeting Migrant Needs and Vulnerabilities 

Services for migrants need to be well-targeted to their needs and vulnerabilities within the host community context. In the HoA and NTCA regions, for example, when donor responses implemented gender-sensitive approaches more successfully, they mitigated barriers of participation and access that mothers and women encounter regarding employment programs and service delivery. 

In contrast, traditional tools for identification (such as profiling, registration, referrals, and targeting) are not always helpful in identifying those who seek assistance and who are the most vulnerable. For instance, in the MENA and HoA regionssingle young males – often less vulnerable in more traditional humanitarian settings – were often excluded from assistance programs and, simultaneously, targeted by more restrictive migration management processes, such as detention during identification procedures. As a result, young males became more vulnerable than other, more “traditional” vulnerable groups. Even in ambitious development partner responses that aimed to influence policies related to refugee status and labor rights, failing to target service delivery to vulnerable refugees can limit the success of emergency response projects. 


There is a continuous need to improve Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) systems in development partner responses to IDPs, refugees, and returnees. There are numerous ways to improve monitoring and evaluation of projects and programs: 

(1) Design robust monitoring and evaluation metrics that track outcomes and contextual indicators that assess population groups’ vulnerabilities during implementation.  

(2) Provide technical assistance throughout design and roll-out phases to regional staff and government stakeholders to instill capacity to implement these measurement systems.  

(3) Utilize a mixed-methods approach to measure and monitor those phenomena impacting migrant populations which are harder to measure. These include stigma and discrimination, gender-based violence, and child labor, as well as migrant and host population knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to access and utilization of services delivered.   

Download the report to read more about the lessons learned from the comparative analysis and better understand the socio-economic consequences and key dynamics of the current migration phenomenon. 


Note: To support the Colombian government and the migrant and refugee community, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) commissioned a research study from Sayara International. This study sheds light on the needs of migrants, refugees, returnees, and receiving communities in Colombia, while also exploring the institutional and international response (with the associated financial and service delivery challenges), the provision of which is affected by the continuous flow of migrants and refugees.