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EU - IOM Knowledge Management Hub (KMH)

GCM Objectives


2017 - 2022

Type of practice:



The EU-IOM Knowledge Management Hub (KMH) for return and reintegration was established in 2017 under the European Union funded project to strengthen learning across return and reintegration programmes, and support the harmonization of approaches, processes and tools on these topics. The KMH targets policy makers, governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and practitioners working in the field of migrant return and sustainable reintegration at local, regional, national and international levels. It encompasses various activities organised around four interconnected and mutually reinforcing components:

1. Ensuring Coherent Voluntary Return and Reintegration Approaches: aims to standardize approaches and practices to ensure coherence among programmes, limit fragmentation and improve opportunities for collaboration, including through capacity-building. Main activities:

- Support to enhance data collection and information management systems.

- Support the development and cross-regional harmonisation of tools and practices for e.g. SoP.

- Roll-out of a Reintegration Training Programme at global, regional and national levels.

2. Harmonising Monitoring and Evaluation Activities: aims to support the harmonization of cross-regional monitoring and evaluation activities to ensure availability of reliable data allowing for comparative analysis across regions, particularly in the field of reintegration sustainability. Main activities:

- Development of harmonized indicators and tools for monitoring voluntary return and reintegration, including reintegration sustainability as well as to assess community-based reintegration initiatives and capacity-building activities.

- Cross-regional comparative analysis of reintegration outcomes and generation of lessons learnt.

- Development of a comprehensive training curriculum on M&E and its roll-out through training activities.

3. Setting up Knowledge Management Tools: aims to set-up tools to collect and disseminate knowledge and good practices in the area of return and reintegration, promote exchanges between practitioners and policy makers in host, transit and origin countries, facilitate sharing expertise and lessons learnt. Main activities:

- Development and running of the Return and Reintegration Platform.

- Organization of public spaces for dialogue (webinars and cross-regional seminars).

4. Producing Knowledge Products: aims to generate knowledge products to address knowledge gaps and enhance evidence-based policymaking and programming. Main activities:

- Carrying-out research addressing understudied topics (Studies).

- Producing various publications to expand knowledge on migrant protection, return and sustainable reintegration (Sustainable Reintegration Knowledge Bites Series, Good, Promising and Innovative Practices Series factsheets, Sustainable Reintegration Knowledge Paper Series).

- Development of audio-visual materials accessible on online stock library.


Main Implementer:

International Organization for Migration (IOM)


European Union - Directorate-General for International Partnerships

Benefit and Impact

Safe and dignified return and sustainable reintegration of migrants is dependent on collaboration and requires coordinated measures, policies, and practices between stakeholders responsible for migration management and development at all levels.

At the same time, availability of reliable data is critical for designing, implementing and evaluating policies and programmes, including on return and sustainable reintegration. While data alone will not fully answer or resolve complex policy and programmatic questions, a lack of data hinders the ability to take informed decisions.

Drawing knowledge from field experience and fostering exchanges between practitioners, policymakers and academia is equally important. Without effective means to learn and share, policy and programming remain top-down and fragmented and fail to respond to local needs.

The KMH recognizes these factors and fosters integrated, inclusive and cooperative approach to safe and dignified return and sustainable reintegration based on robust evidence and learning.

Firstly, the KMH has reinforced standards and processes by developing and rolling out tools and delivering capacity-building activities to reintegration practitioners globally. Since 2018, 1,000+ return and reintegration practitioners have been trained in 50+ countries directly by the KMH. As a tangible result, these capacity-building activities led to the adoption of standardized reintegration practices by the Government of Bangladesh that is now using a locally adapted version of the reintegration training curriculum to train its reintegration case workers.

Secondly, a unified system of measurement in the field of reintegration has long been lacking, making the analysis and comparison across different countries and programmes very challenging. Building on the harmonised set of monitoring indicators and tools established by the KMH, a more robust, cross-regional comparative analysis, particularly in the field of reintegration sustainability was made possible and is undertaken in the scope of the KMH.

Moreover, the KMH has served as a catalyst fostering exchanges between practitioners, facilitating the sharing of knowledge and lessons learnt. Thanks to its Return and Reintegration Platform, visited from 180+ countries, with a repository of 600 resources and 900 members, the KMH has brought together 2,000+ stakeholders from national and local governments, IOs, UN agencies, NGOs, academia, facilitating exchanges and peer learning.

Furthermore, based on its other work streams, the KMH produces sound research addressing knowledge gaps and enhances evidence-based programming. So far, two studies in collaboration with Samuel Hall, Save the Children and UNICEF as well as the Maastricht University have been published, together with a dozen of other knowledge products.

As a final consideration, the KMH work has been critical albeit indirectly to enhancing the wellbeing of returnees and their communities.

Key Lessons

Being a global project with ambitious objectives of fostering coherence and facilitating knowledge and learning, the KMH implementation is not without its challenges.

First of all, its global character means that the tools and approaches it develops and promotes need to be flexible enough to be applicable to very diverse contexts while ensuring a high standard and comparability across programmes, countries and regions. This is being achieved by striking a right balance between standardisation and adaptability to local needs and realities, which is possible thanks to the KMH’s proximity to field operations that feed into its activities. For example, the Monitoring Toolkit for Sustainable Reintegration of Child Returnees developed under the KMH in collaboration with Samuel Hall, Save the Children and UNICEF was field tested in Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Iraq and Nigeria to ensure it can be used in different settings. While KMH tools are produced at the global level, they are based on realities on the ground and are finetuned locally. This ensures comparability while fostering adaptability and local ownership.

Secondly, until relatively recently, return and reintegration programmes have lacked solid M&E frameworks, with scattered data collection tools and poor methodologies. This has made any solid analysis and comparison across different countries and programmes very challenging, if not impossible. The KMH has put a strong emphasis on ensuring that proper systems and tools are in place from the very start. It has fine-tuned and rolled-out a harmonised set of monitoring indicators and tools that now allow for a more robust, cross-regional comparative analysis, particularly in the field of reintegration sustainability. This in turn feeds into policy and programme development, planning and implementation.

Finally, the KMH has tried to address the limited space available for an open dialogue and for peer-to-peer learning and exchanges on return and reintegration. The KMH has created the Return and Reintegration Platform and its Community of Practice to offer that space and has been facilitating sharing knowledge and building partnerships with diverse stakeholders from national and international institutions to academia, UN, NGOs and returnees and migrants themselves.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

Building on lessons learnt from the implementation of the KMH articulated above, the following general recommendations can be made.

- Build collective knowledge: Many organisations hold a vast amount of implicit knowledge and expertise, which is currently under-utilised. There is a strong need to strengthen the ability to draw data, knowledge and experience including from the field, and then analyse and apply the results by each of the organisations. However, building collective knowledge and sharing it across different organisations are critical assets in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our work and ultimately bringing us closer to jointly achieving SDGs and the objectives of the GCM. In that regard, all KMH resources and materials, including M&E frameworks and tools (and soon all the training materials) are available on its Return and Reintegration Platform aiming to promote knowledge-sharing across the board.

- Promote re-learning and cross-fertilization: fostering the level of openness and flexibility to break outdated methods, learn new models, adapt to new evidence, use good practices and lessons learnt from different organisations’ and utilise each other’s work, is crucial for effective knowledge management and learning. This approach can not only help to build on collective knowledge and stimulates cross-fertilization - stirring creativity and innovation and bringing new ideas as a result, it also promotes coherence across different organisations working in the same thematic area/field, allowing for some level of standardization, which in turn can be a source of lessons learnt and good practices to capture, validate and share.

- Strive for a balance between harmonisation and local adaptation: a certain degree of standardisation and coherence is important as it allows for comparability and fosters learning. However, efforts should be made to ensure that knowledge, tools and approaches are flexible and adaptable enough to cater for different contexts.

- Reinforce knowledge management and learning with adequate capacity-building efforts: the process of knowledge management and learning and promoting coherence of approaches and tools, requires adequate capacity-building efforts and resources to translate the acquired knowledge into practice.

- Invest in different knowledge management tools: using various knowledge management tools to create reference spaces for stakeholders to meet, learn, search for information and knowledge, engage and contribute is needed to reach different stakeholders and address different needs.

Knowledge Management Hub: supporting migrants protection and assistance

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.


The KMH is one-of-a-kind initiative promoting knowledge management and fostering learning on the topic of return and sustainable reintegration.

The innovative character of the KMH is apparent when looking at its four mutually reinforcing components that build on and feed off each other. Thanks to the establishment of coherent approaches and standards in the field of return and sustainable reintegration and harmonization of the M&E activities, comparable data and evidence can be collected and analyzed. Learning is then produced in the form of knowledge products, disseminated through the knowledge management tools. The capacity-building activities implemented by the KMH help putting the newly produced knowledge into practice, reinforcing the coherence and harmonisation. The knowledge management tools and knowledge products, in turn, further reinforce return and sustainable reintegration standards and improve the M&E systems.

Specifically looking at its components, the KMH is the first ever attempt on a global scale that aims towards ensuring standardisation of approaches and tools on return and sustainable reintegration, addressing fragmentation in this field. It supports harmonization of M&E activities to ensure availability of data allowing for comparative analysis across regions and programmes ensuring that learning is based on reliable data and strong evidence. This has not been the case to date as M&E frameworks and methodologies in this field have so far been lacking.

Additionally, the KMH has played a role of a catalyst in promoting dialogue and peer-to-peer learning and exchanges on return and sustainable reintegration, and offering online spaces where policy makers, experts and practitioners across the entire spectrum of organisations, institutions and bodies and from around the globe can meet, exchange and access relevant publications and resources.

Furthermore, proximity of the KMH to the field and project implementation helps ensuring that tools, approaches and practices it develops and promotes are not detached from the realities on the ground. On the contrary, the KMH aims to integrate field level data, information and practices with global level standards and approaches.

Finally, the KMH adapted to the new reality of COVID-19 pandemic and learnt to operate under new circumstances. This has forced the KMH to shift most of its activities from in-person meetings, workshops, training activities etc. into online spaces. The KMH has tried to overcome challenges related to this shift by reinforcing its online tools and creating more spaces for online dialogue and adapting to remote learning and training. While doing this, it has tried to take the advantage of the benefits of online settings, such as wider reach, combining self-paced and instructor led training, increased flexibility etc.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Date submitted:

28 January 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.