Skip to main content

Scientific Impact Evaluation Reveals Power of Peer-to-Peer Video Campaign in West Africa

Scientific Impact Evaluation Reveals Power of Peer-to-Peer Video Campaign in West Africa

Press Release
Senegal VFO

A new report by the International Organization for Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in collaboration with the Organization’s Media and Communications Division (MCD) provides robust evidence on the positive impact of peer-to-peer awareness raising on the decision-making of potential migrants in West Africa.

The report Migrants as Messengers – The Impact of Peer-to-Peer Communication on Potential Migrants in Senegalreleased today (10/09) in Geneva reveals that 19 per cent of potential migrants  surveyed were better informed, 25 per cent more aware of the risks of irregular migration and one-in-five less likely to do so after participating in IOM awareness raising events in Dakar, Senegal, relative to a control group who did not.

“Measuring the impact of communications campaigns is notoriously difficult,” said Jasper Tjaden, Head of Impact Evaluation Unit, GMDAC. “Migrants as Messengers has been subjected to the kind of stress test rarely applied to campaign work that validates IOM’s approach of empowering trusted migrant voices to educate their peers.”

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports more than 14,000 people have died attempting to enter Europe irregularly since 2014, a figure that is likely greatly under-estimated. Years of field surveys consistently reveal that many migrants begin their journeys with little accurate information about the dangers they face along the way. Many fall victim to misinformation circulated by human smugglers, traffickers and, unwittingly, other migrants.

At its heart, Migrants as Messengers is a campaign undertaken by migrants for migrants. Using a participatory design approach, it builds on direct and authentic communication among peers of the same community who have been identified as trusted, influential voices, rather than the top-down messaging that is a feature of many traditional communications campaigns.

The awareness raising events evaluated for today’s report featured a film screening of personal testimonials of returning Senegalese migrants sharing their own journeys. These authentic testimonials were captured by trained returnees using IOM’s Community Response App, a smartphone-based digital storytelling toolkit.

The film was followed by a discussion about migration between returnees and community members.
The impact evaluation is IOM’s first randomized controlled trial, considered the most rigorous and scientific way of evaluating the effect of a programme or policy. The report is the first in a series of similar impact evaluations that will assess the effects of IOM information and awareness raising campaigns, and responds directly to a 2017 GMDAC study that identified clear evidence gaps.

These studies will contribute to achieving Objective 3 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which calls for more “evidence-based information campaigns” and aim to support a global culture of evidence-informed policymaking.

The report is co-funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

“Communications of one type or another is at the core of much of IOM’s work, but meaningful evaluations require time and resources: the days of measuring impact by the number of fliers distributed and radio PSAs broadcast are gone,” said Amy Rhoades, Community Engagement Programme Manager, IOM. 

“In this light, the Netherlands government, which funded the first phase of Migrants as Messengers being presented today, should be congratulated for their work identifying gaps in the assessments of past migrant-focused campaigns, issuing clear, insightful recommendations and a way forward that demand greater accountability for the projects they are funding.”

This was originally posted on IOM Press Room on 9 October 2019 here.

For more information regarding the Report, please contact Jasper Tjaden at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +4930 27877822, Email:

For more information regarding IOM’s awareness raising campaigns, please contact Amy Rhoades at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41797011679, Email: 

Watch Migrants as Messengers Impact Evaluation Report (IOM)  English I French
Watch Migrants as Messengers Impact Evaluation Report (GMDAC)  English I French