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Kenya National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM): County Outreach Program

Repository of Practices

Kenya National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM): County Outreach Program

Primary GCM Objectives

GCM Guiding Principles*

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

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2021 - Present

Type of practice

Partnership/Multistakeholder initiative

Geographic Scope



Sub Regions:


47 counties in Kenya



1. In 2018, during National Coordination Mechanism on migration (NCM) consultative meeting, the Chair request the secretariat to consider extending its activities to the Counties in line with the new governance structure. This request was repeated in July 2019 during the first ever National Migration Conference. In 2020, the secretariat developed a County Outreach Program concept paper that consolidated all discussions on the program.

2. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 established two levels of government-National and County. In schedule 4 of the constitution provides a framework of allocation of duties and responsibilities with ingrained structures for accountability between the two levels of government. The migration function is allocated to the national government among a host of other duties while County governments are allocated what is collectively local development and empowerment functions.

3. Due to this structural set-up, migration activities including governance and discourse, is largely carried out at the national government level. This centralization of migration obtains into a governance and knowledge gap. Thus, the need to de-centre not only the governance but also migration discourse to the lower levels in efforts to leave no one behind.

4. The goal of the County Outreach Program is to mainstream migration governance to the County level and build the capacity of the counties to effectively play their role in migration management in Kenya, by supporting regular County specific migration and mobility discussions, awareness raising on County migration trends, migration needs, priorities, challenges and opportunities. The COP also aims at supporting County governments to mainstream migration and human mobility into their development plans, 0including in the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs).

5. Beneficiaries:

  • Forty-seven (47) country government units in Kenya reflecting a whole of society face of migration at the County level.
  • NCM stakeholders and members that provide facilitation therefore disseminate their activities to County participants.
  • Migration partners in Kenya including national, international and intergovernmental partners who support migration programming in Kenya.

6. Key activities:

  • Round table discussions with County participants
  • Formation of County Migration Focus Groups
  • Increased interagency collaboration on migration at County government level
  • Mainstreamed and coherent County specific policies with relevant migration strategies.

7. Resources

  • Staff from NCM secretariat for planning
  • Vehicles from Directorate of Immigration Services for mobility
  • Donors including national and international for financial and technical support


Main Implementer

Government of Kenya

Other Organizations



International Organization for Migration - IOM
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit - GIZ

Benefit and Impact

• Through the COP, knowledge on migrants rights including the rights to the security of the person was increased among local stakeholders including on identity rights among cross-boundary communities, provision of human rights office in Migori County (one of the COP Counties).
• Local participants shared local levels responses to various migration including migrant street beggars, trafficked persons, stranded children, refugees and asylum seekers among others in ensuring their well-being.
• A better understanding of the impact of migration on rural development in the context of devolved governance system
• Increased interagency collaboration on migration at County government level
• Mainstreamed and coherent County specific policies with relevant migration strategies
• County Migration Focus Groups established
• Robust continuous migration discussions at County level to cover the 47 Counties in Kenya.
• Continuous engagement with County Migration Discussion Groups

Key Lessons

• Knowledge on migration at local level is inadequate and often misrepresented. This made the implementation of the COP more difficult as first the right knowledge and perceptions was to be created. Therefore, the program included general capacity building activities on migration to create an understanding on the phenomena before reclining to localized context of migration.
• To undertake the program, it would have been prudent and logical to conduct awareness sessions on migration at the local level before launching the outreach with the aim of establishing lasting migration conversation.
• However, due to resource and time limitations, the program adopted a mixed method where awareness is created together with establishing migration structures at the local levels.
• To take stock of the progress and impact of the message, a consultative meeting with all the outreached counties was convened to evaluate the impact and progress with a view to identifying challenges and opportunities for inclusion into future outreaches.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

• County Outreach Program intends to take migration discussion from the national to the local level. As such, the program requires many consultations between the national, county and partners in an inclusive manner.
• Consultations are important to shape a common vision and unity of command and expectations. Funding this program is expensive, therefore the need for mobilization of adequate funds for the program and dedicated personnel to ensure continued implementation.
• The COP is a national program. This makes it difficult to implement without proper leadership that is able to champion the program among the key stakeholders.
• Success in implementation of the program depends on having dedicated personnel that are able to inclusively plan for the program.
• Involvement of the key local actors such as local government leadership in planning, design and implementation of program in respective localities was helpful.
• To appreciate the progress of implementation, an inclusive evaluation workshop bringing together key stakeholders from all counties was convened and discussions held to appraise on implementation and actualize various migration projects requested by local communities.


• Through the COP, the role of migration as a development enabler and outcome has become even clearer. This expanded migration space has never been seen before in Kenya.
• The COP exposed participants on the need to invest more resources commensurate with benefits thereof in migration at all levels.
• Due to COP, a number of County specific migration related programs/projects were suggested/recommended such as:
1. Need for Human rights offices (Migori County),
2. Need for more border control points (Turkana), increase migration presence in pastoral communities- transhumance (Turkana),
3. Strong diaspora engagement and utilization of diaspora remittances (Kisii),
4. Infuse community policing in migration management (Busia),
5. Return and re-integration programs especially targeting labour migration returnees (Busia),
6. Water projects (Kitui),
7. Combating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants especially PWDs (Kajiado) among others
• The COP has thus helped to reshape migration industry from silo management to cooperation.

Date submitted:

20 December 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.



*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).