Capacity Development: on the path to standardisation

Team members during VTT training in January 2023

In mid-January 2023, the MIEUX+ team completed a five-day Vocational Train the Trainer Course in Brussels borne from a collaboration with the ICMPD Training Institute on Migration Capacity Partnership for the Mediterranean (MCP Med TI). This course represents an essential step in the endeavour to standardise content, procedures and training materials which can be traced all the way back to 2018.

As a pioneer first focused on offering technical assistance in the form of training courses, over the previous decade MIEUX+ had evolved and blossomed into a more comprehensive capacity development mechanism for the exchange of knowledge and practices.

The team had always endeavoured to match the expertise needed to support partner authorities in further developing the competences, knowledge and skills of their staff. After close to thirteen years of implementation of activities, this approach was adapted to reflect a shift from capacity building and intervention-based logic to a comprehensive capacity development angle.

On the path to standardisation: from 2018 until today

In 2018, the tenth anniversary of implementation provided the occasion to review projects or “Actions” and to identify good practices and inspiration for the team, partner authorities, and experts by organising four regional knowledge-sharing roundtables in Bangkok, Mexico City, Nairobi and Cotonou.

During these events, partner authorities suggested that a standardised approach to training methods and materials would be beneficial and would increase overall sustainability of Actions. These recommendations were incorporated into the design of the new phase, MIEUX+, active since April 2020, with the topic of standardisation coming to the fore as one of the most important recommendations in all regions.

What do we mean by standardisation?

A renewed approach to capacity development was enshrined in the new Capacity Development strategy “Encore MIEUX”. On a practical level, MIEUX+ included new features to fulfil this new objective, such as the development of dedicated training programmes/modules or curricula on specific themes, in particular for training units, public administration schools, migration institutes, public universities, or other agencies providing migration training to public servants. The new phase distinguished between:

  • Standardisation: targeting institutional learning and training processes, training tools and methods, and common training modules designed for the entities that are part of a whole-of-government approach. It is on this basis that a certified programme can be offered.
  • Certification: implies the recognition of the skills and knowledge acquired by public servants through training at the institutional level.
  • Professionalisation: entails investing in specialised staff/units and entities delivering migration-related training.
  • Training: (e.g. training schools, public administration, and diplomatic academies, etc.).

The benefits of standardisation

Standardisation ensures the quality of training materials and activities and helps the team and partner organisations create a unified approach to training by setting clear expectations and objectives. In the long run, this is a sustainable approach which is more aligned with principles of partnership, moving beyond providing technical assistance in order to address gaps in capacity to taking existing capacities as the starting point from which to build on and consolidate at institutional level.  

In the words of Megan Pilli, Capacity Development Specialist and Regional Focal Point for Asia, “By establishing competency frameworks and setting clear criteria for training materials and activities, the MIEUX+ team can ensure that the materials are suitable for each audience and that the activities are effective in achieving the desired outcomes. This helps to ensure that staff at partner institutions receive high-quality training that is tailored to their needs.”

Linking up efforts at ICMPD level

ICMPD’s new five-year strategy (2020 – 2025) is based on Results Oriented Management and named Capacity Development as one of the six results areas. As part of the efforts to standardise approaches and harmonise the working methods of different strands, units, and projects, ICMPD has capitalised on the experience from different teams to review, collate and analyse the different deliverables in the area of capacity development.  

One prime example of this renewed approach is new model for cooperation based on the concept of Migration Capacity Partnerships that the ICMPD Regional Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean conceived, creating the Training Institute on Migration Capacity Partnership for the Mediterranean (MCP Med TI), licensed by the Maltese Further and Higher Education Authority, to take forward these ideas.

One of their first training courses on offer is the five-day Vocational Train the Trainers course that the MIEUX+ team completed in early January. Having gained new attitudes, skills and knowledge, the MIEUX+ team is also empowered to replicate the standards of this course across its portfolio of Actions to the benefit of partner authorities around the world.

Why is this important for capacity development?

The MIEUX+ team believes standardised methods and materials will improve the efficiency of the programme by reducing duplication of efforts, streamlining resources, and more importantly, by helping to anchor good practices in the “savoir-faire” of the team.

Partner authorities will benefit by having standard products that are specific in their content but at the same time, general and flexible enough to be adapted and easily incorporated in their curricula or their working practices, which could lead to greater inter-regional standardisation of practices. Ultimately, this contributes towards safe, regular, orderly and responsible migration and brings partners closer to achieving this common objective.

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