GMDAC Study: Better Evidence Needed to Inform Design and Implementation of Information Campaigns on Migration

Migration Research

Berlin A new report by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) reveals the limited evidence base for information campaigns related to migration.

The report Evaluating the Impact of Information Campaigns in the Field of Migration reveals rigorous assessments of the effects different types of information campaigns may have on distinct target groups are rare – despite the widespread use of such campaigns targeted at potential migrants.

A 2017 IOM study revealed that over half of the migrants interviewed in IOM Niger transit centres in 2016 declared they did not collect information about migration before they left. Of those who did, 74 per cent reported that they were ill informed about the risks and, more generally, the conditions of the journey, and that they mostly relied on information from family and friends.

Migrants often start their journeys with little or biased information. They often end in vulnerable situations by becoming victims of smuggling or trafficking.

This new GMDAC report is based on a systematic literature review of 60 studies from four continents (Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe), targeted at potential migrants and traffickers, as well as communities at large. GMDAC reviewed 60 evaluation reports of which approximately half were published.

Workshop-type activities and cable TV programmes or advertisements were the most popular communication tools for the campaigns featured in the 60 studies, GMDAC learned. Many of these evaluations reported the number and profiles of campaign recipients or beneficiaries; in most cases, however, impact was not directly measured. Much of available evaluations were based on anecdotal evidence or cross-sectional surveys of a small number of participants, sampled at convenience, meaning the results cannot be generalized.

The lack of a clearly defined objective and/or target group for the information campaigns is one of the most common issues limiting evaluation attempts.

Assessing the impact of information campaigns can be methodologically difficult and costly, due to the intensive data collection required. However, robust evidence and systematic data collection are crucial to helping policy makers design more effective information campaigns on migration that meet the information needs of relevant target groups and, as such, reduce risks and vulnerabilities for migrants during their journeys.

Rigorous and transparent impact evaluations are needed to promote shared learning in this field. “Improving the evidence on the impact of information campaigns should be incentivized and more evaluations should be made public, regardless of their results,” said Jasper Tjaden, co-author of the study.

More rigorous impact evaluations are in line with Objective 3 of the recently adopted Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which stresses the importance of providing “accurate and timely information at all stages of migration” and calls for more “evidence-based information campaigns.”

This report is part of the Central Mediterranean Route (CMR) Thematic Report Series, launched by IOM’s GMDAC with the aim of providing accurate, comprehensive and policy-oriented information on key issues related to migration on the Central Mediterranean Route.

The series is published as part of the Safety, Support and Solutions programme implemented by IOM, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).

For more information please contact IOM GMDAC’s Jasper Dag Tjaden, Tel: +4930 27877822, Email: or Stylia Kampani, Tel: +493027877816, Email: