Organic growth of the Volunteer network and long-term sustainability are essential. To ensure the sustainability of the Migrants as Messengers peer-to-peer approach, Volunteers should be supported to create their own associations that can continue to operate in the migration and awareness-raising sector. Trainings (both online and in-person) in association management, project development, content creation, and digital marketing, and more are important for developing associations. Beyond this, contributions and donations of materials (such as purchasing audio visual and/or office equipment, etc.) are helpful for associations that are just at the beginning phases. These returnee-led associations are a major asset for IOM because of the trainings and skills that the Volunteers have gained in migration awareness raising through MaM.
Step by step on how to implement this pillar:
Support Volunteers to create their own associations. Volunteers should think about the skills they have and the services they can provide to partners.
Provide capacity building opportunities for the associations, such as:
- How to create an association (e.g. how to create a mission and vision statement)
- Management of an association (e.g. objectives, member roles, services)
- Digital marketing (e.g. campaigns, tools, social networks)
Support associations in the creation of a visual identity and a website.
Give visibility to associations through the organization of promotional events.
Support associations to formally register their association.
IOM staff should be available to provide tailored support to associations based on their needs and requests.
Provide logistical support to fund association-designed activities, office rental, internet subscription, printing of visibility items, office furniture/equipment, and so on.
Promote the association to other IOM projects so that associations can continue to work with IOM.
- Capacity Building
Capacity building empower Volunteers to develop their associations independently. Through face-to-face and online training, Volunteers are now running their own associations, they have defined their mission and vision statements, and are organizing their own activities. This step was essential for the proper functioning of associations beyond the project. For example, the Volunteer-led association in Senegal, Association Sénégalaise de lutte contre la Migration Irrégulière (ASMI), received a week-long training on communication techniques and project management strategies. This training allowed them to refine their strategy in terms of communication and mobilization of available resources.
- Creation of a branding and a website
Volunteer-led associations were offered support in the form of branding and a website. Elements such as a logo, an email address or a business card are essential to have a professional representation of their association. The website allows them not only to increase their visibility but also to interact with interested parties and to offer their services. All MaM Volunteer-led associations are listed here: https://www.migrantsasmessengers.org/volunteers
- Promotional events
Promotional events were organized in the different countries for the Volunteer-led associations, such as the event for ASMI in October 2022. This event was an opportunity to officially present ASMI to different authorities, NGOs and international organizations, as well as stakeholders working on migration.
Tips for future implementation:
Develop a strategy to support the development of the associations and their sustainability.
Organize Volunteers into associations after one year of project implementation to be able to give them time to familiarize themselves with the project as well as participate in trainings before they think about creating their own associations.
Present associations to national and local governments, UN agencies, and international organizations at official events. This can help associations network with potential partners and funding opportunities.
Capacity-building should focus both on individual skills as well as skills that can support association development. Associations can benefit from trainings in project development, social media use and management.
Develop training materials to guide Volunteers through the development of an association, including the steps to create/register an association, creating a governance structure, creating a vision and mission statement, fundraising, etc.
“Returned migrants are now empowered [because of MaM] with different useful skills which has built their capacity in their activities. MaM has also helped the Volunteers to replicate and take ownership of what was learnt under the project in their returned migrant associations and businesses.” – Toye, MaM Volunteer, Nigeria