Evaluation of UNICEF’s Contribution to Migrant and Refugee Response in Greece

Ricardo Solé Arqués
Marie Lefevre Saadoun
Kornilia Hatzinikolaou
Lilia Ormonbekova
UNICEF Europe and Central Asia
Publication Year:
March 09, 2022
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Over 2015 - 2016, about 1.4 million migrants and refugees made their way into the European Union via the Eastern and Central Mediterranean route, causing a humanitarian emergency in the continent. Greece, already experiencing internal socio-economic difficulties, found itself among the countries of migrants’ and refugees’ transit and destination.

As of early 2019, some 74,000 people, including about 28,000 children of whom around 3,800 unaccompanied and separated, were present in Greece. The Government of Greece is managing overall response to refugee and migrant crisis, based on respective international and national conventions and frameworks, such as Dublin Regulation, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); international humanitarian law, declarations and policies, and other.

The rationale for this evaluation is to enable an independent assessment of the totality of UNICEF’s response porgramme that can produce lessons learned and potentially inform future planning of a possible partnership programme between UNICEF and the Government of Greece.

The evaluation will assess the relevance of UNICEF’s programmatic approaches, position and selected priority areas and their evolving during the response to emerging needs and often changing environments.

The purpose of the evaluation is in obtaining primarily a summative (backwards-looking) assessment, to support enhanced accountability for development effectiveness and humanitarian action, and to learn from experience. The evaluation is also expected to have a secondary, formative (forward-looking) character, to support UNICEF ECARO and stakeholders’ strategic learning and decision-making for future interventions with regard to refugee and migrant crisis in high-income countries.


The main objectives of the evaluation are the following:

  1. Provide an independent assessment of the performance of the response programme in relation to expected programmatic and emerging results and the contributions made to reduce the vulnerabilities of migrant and refugee children and their families;
  2. To assess the adequacy of UNICEF’s response in providing humanitarian assistance to refugee and migrant children, their caregivers, and to unaccompanied children in Greece, in line with the interventions’ theory of change constructed during the inception phase;
  3. To assess the extent to which the response has been guided by the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action, including human rights-based approach to programming and gender equality programming;
  4. To assess how effectively UNICEF has been implementing its planned interventions, including about equity and gender concerns;
  5. To determine the extent to which UNICEF’s management, coordination and delivery mechanisms implemented in cooperation with Government, implementing partners and other actors, have supported near- and medium-/long-term results about provision of assistance to refugee and migrant children, their caregivers, and to unaccompanied children in Greece;
  6. To provide actionable recommendations to UNICEF on improving the response and on supporting the sustainability of response results;
  7. To identify good practices, provide lessons learned and forward-looking recommendations for actors involved in the Mediterranean migration and refugee crisis, as well as for other regions and countries (including those with high income) affected by high refugee and migrant influx.


This evaluation (2020) of UNICEF's contribution to migrant and refugee response in Greece identified the following good practices:

  • Integrated response: child protection, family-friendly spaces, prevention of gender-based violence (GBV), non-formal education (NFE).
  • Early engagement of UNICEF's response in supporting and advocating on child rights monitoring in host countries.
  • Curricula for teachers’ training on inclusive education.
  • Safe spaces for adolescents’ girls.
  • NFE components: advocacy, establishment of standards, two shifts, adequate activities.
  • Unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) clinical supervision and regulations: (e.g. supported independent living (SIL) model).
  • Field monitors and their direct interaction with response team to ensure real-time circulation of information.
  • Joint monitoring of site management with partners.
  • Formalized coordination among UN agencies in the framework of a UN to UN agreement.
  • Inter-agency checklist for joint monitoring of open accommodation sites.
  • Involving independent academic institutions in research and analysis of key issues of interest for UNICEF (GBV, mental health, children with disabilities, etc.)
  • Child and Family Support Hubs, integrating child protection and and prevention of GBV.
  • GBV in Emergencies (GBViE) training for front line workers.
  • Support to host municipalities in provision of non-formal education for refugee children.
  • Meaningful support to national entities in host countries in their response to the crisis.

Visit the Evaluation reports page to access the annexes. 


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