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10 May 2021

The Power of Contact: Designing, Facilitating and Evaluating Social Mixing Activities to Strengthen Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion Between Migrants and Local Communities

A Review of Lessons Learned
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Facilitating the “meaningful social mixing” of people of different backgrounds is an increasingly important tenet of mainstream programming and policies aimed at promoting migrant inclusion and broader social cohesion at the local, national and even global levels. This guidance note aims to provide project managers and developers, as well as event organizers and facilitators, with guidance in fostering migrant integration and social cohesion through social mixing activities. This note draws from IOM’s emerging programming on migrant integration and social cohesion and extensive research on intergroup contact theory, which posits that increased interaction and mixing of people from different backgrounds can cultivate trust and decrease prejudice under the right circumstances. It makes key evidence-based recommendations that project managers and event facilitators can leverage to ensure maximum positive impact of social mixing activities. 

Through meaningful social mixing in both the face-to-face and digital worlds, migrants and host communities can develop stronger positive social connections, allowing for a shift away from xenophobic and anti-migrant attitudes.

  • Acknowledgements
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • 1. What does the existing literature and evidence say about social mixing?
  • 2. Developing effective and inclusive social mixing interventions
    • 2.1. Understanding and addressing barriers to participation
    • 2.2. Designing and implementing social mixing activities to build trust and empathy: Principles and recommendations 
    • 2.3. Identifying and communicating with target individuals and groups
  • 3. Selected interventions and project examples 
    • 3.1. Train and volunteer
    • 3.2. Create and perform
    • 3.3. Celebrate and play 
    • 3.4. Discover 
    • 3.5. Learn and discuss 
  • 4. Monitoring and evaluating intergroup contact activities 
    • 4.1. Why monitor? 
    • 4.2. Why evaluate? 
  • 5. Conclusion: Moving from social mixing towards social cohesion
  • Annexes
    • Annex 1. Checklist for project managers and staff
    • Annex 2. Outcomes in scale and time in social mixing activities
    • Annex 3. Relevant DISC Resources and About the Initiative
  • Bibliography