Lessons learned from the stakeholder platform
The following shares the lessons learned from developing and implementing the stakeholder platform across the nine MIMY countries. The lessons learned may resonate across different country contexts, however the name of the country has been shared (in brackets) where this was a key insight from their process.
- Contribution to the research
- Stakeholders were engaged from the outset of the project and made an important contribution to shaping the research through sharing their experience of working with and supporting migrant youth. This informed research design (England (UK), participant recruitment (England (UK), Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden) and analytical frameworks.
- The platform was a resource for identifying and engaging stakeholders in other activities within MIMY such as the National Expert Committee, Delphi Study (Poland, Romania), stakeholder workshops and arts based events (England, (UK), Luxembourg), which contributed to the integration of MIMY’s activities.
- Challenges were faced in engaging stakeholders who were facing pressure on their capacity due to cuts in services (England (UK)) and Covid-19 (Luxembourg).
- Uptake of research findings
There was a strong interest in the research findings so as to strengthen services for migrant youth, and a commitment to integrating findings into service planning (England (UK), Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Sweden). There was a tension in early stakeholder engagement when there were still limited findings to share (Luxembourg), and this continued throughout the study as local reports were not a planned deliverable (Poland). In response to stakeholder feedback, local reports are being written to support the dissemination of findings (e.g. England (UK), Sweden).
- New knowledge and action produced
- The platform provided an opportunity for knowledge exchange for stakeholders with established relationships who work within a particular sector (Norway, England (UK), Germany, Sweden), and new connections for less developed collaborations, namely across sectors/fields (England (UK), Germany, Italy).
- Where platform members were also research participants, important stakeholder knowledge was generated for the MIMY research teams on the contexts young migrants were navigating (England (UK), Hungary, Romania, Sweden).
- Networking and exchanging knowledge across sectors provided new insight and opportunities for referrals and service development (England (UK), Germany).
- Decisions regarding whether knowledge exchange and engagement worked better online or in person should be informed by context (Luxembourg, Romania).
- Reciprocity within partnership building
- Challenges in the recruitment and retention of stakeholder platform members were faced in contexts where service landscapes are fragmented, where communities experience high demands for research engagement, and/ or where service providers are over-burdened and under-resourced. This was amplified by pandemic conditions in many countries. Such challenges highlight the importance of reciprocity in partnership building and a bottom-up approach to ensuring that the research contributes to the opportunities and capacities for change in the local context (England,(UK), Luxembourg, Poland).
- Building partnerships that are financially supported, and formally embedded into the research collaboration, are the foundations to fostering a more ethical, mutually beneficial, approach to stakeholder collaboration in future projects (England (UK, Poland).
- Stakeholder roles and engagement
- It was important to have stakeholders engaged working at local and national levels because they bring different perspectives: those at the local level are more proximate to young people’s lives; and those at the national level are engaging with wider policy agendas (Luxembourg, Sweden).
- University researchers should continue to recognise their role as stakeholders focused on not solely doing research, but translating research into action (England, UK), Italy).
- Where the migration sector and integration work is less developed it was challenging to recruit and retain stakeholders (Hungary and Romania).
- Decision-makers were less represented across the stakeholder platforms, with practitioners and organisations working to influence policy being more engaged.
- Youth participation
- The collaboration with local stakeholders was integral to facilitating youth engagement and participation in the research project as participants (Luxembourg) and peer researchers (England (UK)).
- Young people’s dialogue with service providers supported the latter’s direct understanding of the issues faced by service users, and directly facilitated voice and influence for young people (England (UK), Italy).
- Future action
- Attending common events and events organised by stakeholders supports mutual cooperation and engagement (Hungary and Romania).
- The stakeholder platform provided a strong opportunity for future engagement and dissemination of findings (England (UK), Germany, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden), and reinforced prior relationships/collaboration for future research (Luxembourg).
- Relationships are often with those individuals who are interested to engage, and so when projects finish or people move on from their role, relationships may be lost (Sweden).