Kenya Launches First Migration Studies Institute


Nairobi – The Kenya Institute of Migration Studies (KIMS) last week launched its flagship course, the Post-Graduate Diploma in Migration Studies, with the first intake expected in 2019. KIMS – the first of its kind in Kenya – will be hosted at the University of Nairobi’s Population Studies and Research Institute.

The East African region remains a major source, transit and destination for migrants. The aim of the course is to improve national and regional migration management to strengthen the capacity of institutions responsible for migration and border management in Kenya, as well as in neighbouring states. 

The development of the diploma course on migration was part was of the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme which aims to improve migration management in the Horn of Africa. BMM is funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

KIMS’s journey started in 2016, with the assessment of gaps in migration management in Kenya. BMM implementing partners, IOM and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have been supporting the Department of Immigration Services with benchmarking and technical advice, as well as facilitating the National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM). 

The post-graduate diploma will be open to mid-level managers from the Department of Immigration as well as other government officials from Kenya and other parts of Africa. 

“Kenya will open up the post-graduate course to other African countries because better migration management can be achieved through cross-border and inter-country cooperation,” said Dr. Fred Matiang’i, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination, speaking at the launch ceremony. “Everyone from Principal Immigration Officer upward must go through this course before they are promoted.” 

Dr. Matiang’i also requested the inclusion of a public relations course in the curriculum, saying this would help improve service delivery to Kenyans and other migrants at ports of entry and exit. 

The Chief of Mission for IOM Kenya, Michael Pillinger, said: “IOM is honoured to be a partner of the Government of Kenya and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government in addressing key migration management challenges.” 

He also expressed “a special thanks” to the Department of Immigration Services and the NCM for taking the step to launch KIMS, describing it as the first-ever post-graduate diploma course in Kenya focused on Migration Studies. “Kenya continues its tradition of being first in the region. Kenya was the first African nation to be an IOM Member State in 1985,” he said. 

KIMS’s launch follows nine study visits, three of which involved other countries – Ghana, Sudan, and South Sudan – whose governments sought to learn from Kenya and its NCM. 

Pillinger added: “It has been a privilege to support and learn with NCM on harnessing stakeholders’ varied expertise and views for the benefit of Kenya, and the inclusion of migrants and diaspora in these processes. Being a key partner from the conceptualization of the KIMS, and now seeing KIMS a reality, is like a parent seeing its child become a better person at a particular time.”

IOM is one of the main BMM implementing partners alongside UNODC, Expertise France, the Italian Department of Public Security, CIVIPOL, GIZ and the British Council. Apart from Kenya, BMM also covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. 

IOM Kenya will support KIMS in establishing a document examination laboratory which will help officers gain practical knowledge and skills in the appraisal of passports and other enabling documents to detect fraud, thus contributing to safe, orderly and regular migration in the region. This will also add to the efforts to prevent trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. 

The post-graduate diploma course will cover an introduction to migration studies; legal issues on migration; forced migration; irregular migration; diaspora; and diaspora engagement. Also, on the course will be security and border management; research methods on migration; the effects of migration in countries of origin and destination; data and information management; migration policy; and migration governance, together with leadership for migration practitioners. Students will also be required to embark on a research project. 

For more information please contact Etsuko Inoue at IOM Nairobi, Tel: +254204221000, Email:

  • Dr. Fred Matiangi, Cabinet Secretary at the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, giving his keynote address. Photo: IOM