Since 2009, MIEUX has been facilitating the exchange of knowledge on migration governance around the world, working with partners in 98 countries and implementing hundreds of activities. Over the course of its first decade of implementation, MIEUX’s approach gradually moved from the exchange of technical knowledge to targeting a wider process of change through the three levels of capacity development as defined by the OECD (individual, institutional/organizational and enabling environment) to achieve tangible institutional results.
Like migration itself, MIEUX is constantly evolving, and in order to tap into the full potential of its vast experience, reforming our approach to capacity development was a key priority for MIEUX’s newest phase. To design and steer this process, Megan Pilli, our new Capacity Development Specialist, joined the MIEUX Team in 2020.
Prior to joining the team, Megan supported the EU-funded Migrants in Countries in Crisis project, which aimed to improve the protection of migrants when the countries in which they live, work, study, transit, or travel experience a conflict or natural disaster. Her background in capacity development and crisis management brings a timely addition to MIEUX’s well-established areas of expertise on migration.
In this interview, she explains to MIEUX+ audiences what to expect for the next interventions.
How has the current COVID-19 crisis influenced the kinds of requests for assistance that MIEUX receives?
We are seeing more requests for support that involve cross cutting topics, such as migration and health and environmental issues. We are also seeing regional requests, reflecting how environmental and health issues span across borders and present new opportunities for regional cooperation. With COVID-19, the root causes leading to human trafficking have been exacerbated, so we also see requests from different regions on topics related to this issue.
What innovations will MIEUX+ seek to incorporate in relation to capacity development?
In addition to new requests, we see the need for adapting training activities to accommodate government staff members who are working remotely and may have limited access to certain technologies. This requires adapting many activities and taking a blended approach, making the best use of online trainings and self-paced learning materials. We have the expertise and the tools in place to ensure that capacity development activities are engaging, even when implemented online, and that they continue to build bridges between EU and partner country experiences.
With this new phase, MIEUX+ aims to continue pushing for ownership, sustainability and impact. We are promoting a participatory approach, with the public authorities with whom we are working contributing as partners and co-creators, from assessment to design, implementation to handover. We know that capacity development is a process, not merely a series of training sessions, and it has tremendous potential to strengthen partnerships.
How will MIEUX+ look to empower new actors to play a more active role in dealing with migration?
When capacity development activities are inclusive, context-oriented and collaborative, they can inspire transformation at different levels. A priority for MIEUX+ is to widen the participation of new actors, such as specialised units for capacity building on migration within public institutions, for example, ministries of interior, migration training schools and public administration or diplomatic academies, ministries of planning and development, education, etc.
For instance, in some countries where diplomatic academies are focusing primarily on providing courses on diplomacy and negotiation, we have seen an interest in developing curriculum for more practical learning courses related to crisis management and protecting citizens abroad. By bringing together different government agencies with these academies and training a group of trainers, we are able to facilitate collaboration across agencies and departments and ensure the curriculum will continue to enhance the skills of staff participating in the courses.
This kind of arrangement is a win-win because the capacity development activities become integrated into existing structures, such as the learning institution, the existing training schedule, and it strengthens internal collaboration on topics related to broader strategic objectives.