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Showcasing Approaches — Case Study No. 1

Making use of legal and community-based approaches to advocacy

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Showcasing Approaches — Case Study No. 2

Developing and harnessing information to inform policy and practice in the migration field

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Showcasing Approaches – Case Study No. 3

Building links to Brussels to influence national and European migration policy

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Showcasing Approaches – Case Study No. 4

Communicating advocacy messages about migration

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Discussion Paper

The Atlantic Philanthropies strategic approach to grantmaking in the area of migration in Ireland

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Summary Report

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Research Questions

  1. What were the outcomes and impacts of the programme?
  2. Was the strategic field-building approach appropriate and effective?
  3. What are the prospects for the future and the sustainability of the work?
  4. What can be learned from the work undertaken as part of the Migration Programme?

The Atlantic Philanthropies is a grantmaking foundation whose mission is to bring about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. This is the final report of an independent evaluation of Atlantic's Migration Programme that ran from 2004 until 2014. The Programme issued grants to organisations helping migrants to gain access to justice and services. The report presents findings about the impacts the Programme had on law, policy and practice in Ireland.

The evaluation found that the Migration Programme successfully implemented a field-building approach, as a result of which there was a more robust and professional network of organisations, working to achieve a common goal of improving the lives of migrants in Ireland in 2014 than in 2004. Atlantic grantees described numerous contributions to changes in practice, policy and law in Ireland which directly impacted the lives of migrants and asylum seekers.

The civil society organisations supported by Atlantic operated more strategically, collaborated and cooperated more — including with European organisations — and evidenced improved leadership, strategic planning, and internal governance and management.

The evaluation identified a number of promising practices for civil society organisations advocating for policy and practice change, as well as for funders supporting such organisations. A set of case studies showcase these promising practices, focusing on using legal and community-based advocacy, developing and harnessing information to inform policy and practice, building links to Brussels to influence national and European migration policy and communicating advocacy messages about migration.

Key Findings

The evaluation found that there was a more robust and professional network of organisations, working to achieve a common goal of improving the lives of migrants in Ireland in 2014 than in 2004.

  • This is evidence of the success of the 'field-building approach' taken by Atlantic, with a diverse range of actors pursuing a common goal over an extended period of time and combining a set of strategies targeting a variety of dimensions of the problem.

There had been a shift in grantee organisations from service delivery to policy advocacy and a more strategic approach to addressing the challenges faced by migrants.

  • The organisations that were funded all existed prior to the Migration Programme but at the end of 2014 they were more focused on advocacy than service delivery and case work.

While evidencing the impacts of advocacy is challenging, Atlantic grantees described numerous contributions to changes in practice, policy and law in Ireland that directly impacted the lives of migrants and asylum-seekers.

  • Some of these impacts — namely those that changed law — are clearly sustainable and long-term. Others — which changed policy — are not guaranteed to persist (since policy can be amended by future governments and administrations), but have directly improved the experience of migrants. Other impacts might yet be realized, as the effects of changes in law and policy take time to translate into day-to-day practice.

Recommendations

The report highlights promising practices for foundations and other grant-making organisations wishing to embark on a field-building approach, related to:

  • The use of multiannual core funding, approaches to supporting capacity-building within NGOs, and facilitating partnership and collaboration between civil society actors.
  • The way in which representatives from Atlantic developed relationships with grantees, were available to provide advice and guidance, and encouraged organisations to be open about problems and challenges.
  • Using strategic litigation, involving migrants in advocacy, communicating advocacy messages using interactive and innovative methods, and building collaborations that involved national and European organisations.

Research conducted by

This evaluation was prepared for The Atlantic Philanthropies and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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