One of the main objective of the SPRING project is to gather, summarise and share the best available research and evidence on effectiveness, innovation, transferability, sustainability and evaluation methods regarding integration policies and practices.

As the first stage of such process, ICMPD in close collaboration with ICMC-Europe, Danube University Krems (DUK) and other SPRING partners, carried out a stakeholder mapping covering 18 EU Member States; aiming at identifying existing Communities of Practice (CoPs) as well as new actors in the field of integration of newly arrived migrants, in order to engage them in a participatory approach and detect policy implications based on their experiences.

Such substantive mapping will also provide a basis for engaging stakeholders and Communities of Practice over the course of the project.

The mapping exercise focused on key stakeholders and CoPs in 18 selected EU Member States, in addition to CoPs and stakeholders that work at EU-level, and followed four main guiding principles:

  1. Innovation, excellence and sustainability
  2. Heterogeneity and inclusion
  3. Temporality perspective
  4. Locality

What is a stakeholder mapping?

“In policy research, stakeholder analysis has been seen as a way of generating information on the ‘relevant actors’ to understand their behaviour, interests, agendas, and influence on decision-making processes”
Brugha and Varvasovsky, 2000

Within the SPRING framework, we understand stakeholder mapping as constituting a type of stakeholder analysis that focuses on the assessment of a large number of stakeholders linked together by various forms of relationship. Moreover, the analysis we undertook, also attempted to determine the links across different actors, their objectives, activities and responsibilities. In particular, a special focus has been placed on how the mapped stakeholders are linked through informal and formalised Communities of Practices.

What do we mean by Communities of Practices?

 “A group of professionals informally bound to one another through exposure to a common class of problems, common pursuit of solutions, and thereby themselves embodying a store of knowledge
Botha, Kourie, Snyman, 2008

In practice, the term covers a diverse range of realities, such as virtual or informal communities inside or outside an organisation, formed by a shared issue or opportunity. Communities of Practices can also be understood as groups of persons with common routines and connected experiences driven by a common vision. They engage in a process of social learning, whereby social actors acknowledge each commonalities and competences and then participate together to improve their knowledge and understanding on their common activity.

What we learned so far?

Eight main observations emerged:

  1. The mode of information delivery should be adapted to include a time and locality perspective. Delivery should reflect the different phases of integration. The specific context should also be reflected.
  2. The difference in terminologies and integration concepts employed by stakeholders should be taken into account. These might differ largely between “mainstream” integration actors which have formed epistemic communities and related standards of work. Emerging actors should also be taken into account.
  3. Migrant- and refugee-led organisations fulfil important roles in the integration process. As they seem to be less connected through (European) Communities of Practice, the information priorities of migrant- and refugee-led organisations should receive particular emphasis in the SPRING needs assessment. 
  4. Integration work, particularly in the post-2015/16 era, ventures beyond the “traditional” areas of this field which should receive further emphasis in the next steps of the project
  5. NGOs are still the major provider of integration services. Following the 2015/16 period, these actors have embedded further specialisation into their work, taking into account the needs of specific target groups, as well as specific professions.
  6. Networks, umbrella organisations, research projects and other actors stand to learn a great deal from each other, including via cross-sectoral cooperation, further professionalising and strengthening collaboration.
  7. Co-designing, co-evaluating and co-implementing integration policies and practices together with migrant and refugee actors already represents a priority for stakeholders, and will further gain in importance.
  8. To further enhance the role of CoPs in driving innovation and creating sustainable integration approaches, it is important to ensure systematic collection, analysis, and documentation of experiences.

Read the full report here to understand the approach taken!