First Mile: IREX’s Framework for Promoting Safer Migration

First Mile: IREX’s Framework for Promoting Safer Migration


IREX’s First Mile approach is focused on protecting potential migrants from harms and exploitation by giving them the information and tools they need to make better decisions for themselves and their families before a journey begins.

The “first mile” is the period when prospective migrants and their families have yet to make decisions about leaving their communities. Migrants often leave home not knowing what to expect, and struggle to find trusted sources of information regarding personal and legal risks, their labor rights, essential documentation, navigating government bureaucracies, and avenues for assistance and advocacy when problems arise. Where information is available, it is often scattered across sources, not accessible to those outside of urban centers or who are non-literate, and not translated into migrants’ native languages.   

IREX’s First Mile approach provides local civil society organizations, media, and other community partners with tools to develop and disseminate accurate information to potential migrants that aids decision-making and mitigates potential harms, and to engage with local governments and other institutions in the target region to support safer migration practices.

First Mile activities are designed to evolve and strengthen over time as local partners build skills and networks, prospective migrants share their experiences and feedback, and data is collected on activity outcomes and impact—ultimately empowering individuals to make informed choices about migration, at the beginning of the journey.   

By working with communities, local partners, and governments outside of the U.S., IREX’s First Mile approach fosters more resilient communities, responsive civil society, and accountable governance towards achieving safer migration outcomes. 


  • Provide First Mile Analysis that maps migration drivers and community issues that put migrants at risk for human trafficking, exploitation and other dangers
  • Develop and disseminate information and skills-building support to migrants and their families, working closely with local partners  
  • Provide capacity strengthening support to civil society/community partners to sustain services for prospective migrants
  • Support advocacy initiatives that engage local partners with non-U.S. government and relevant stakeholders toward safer migration practices
For the next contract I will think a bit more and I will ask about the conditions. I will speak with those who have already gone to understand which ranches are better for workers than others. A migrant woman from Tetitla, Zontecomatlan, Veracruz, Mexico

First Mile in Action


  • The Ambulantes project in Mexico (2021 – 2023) partnered with three local migrant-serving organizations to conduct a gap analysis to better understand the specific challenges impacting internal agricultural migrants and a Gender, Equality and Social Inclusion analysis to understand the risks and information gaps faced by marginalized migrant communities. The project reached over 700,000 people through radio and social media messaging, printed pamphlets and brochures in Spanish and indigenous languages, and community murals, all of which raised awareness specifically around labor rights and COVID prevention for internal agricultural migrants.   

  • The Navigator project in Nepal (2018 – present) invested in networks of trusted libraries and community centers to establish safe migration information centers and trained local librarians and community educators to share critical information with prospective migrants and their families to mitigate risk of fraud and trafficking.  The project reached over 200,000 people through in-person, radio, and online outreach and has documented numerous individual stories of migrants mitigating personal risk as a result of the information they obtained through Navigator.  Additionally, the project trained over 140 justice sector actors and government officials to enhance understanding of the migrants’ plight and 90 journalists to better report on labor trafficking.   

  • The Novateca project in Moldova (2011-2018), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, helped over 1000 communities upgrade their libraries through training, technology investments, and the development of new services that address community needs. IREX worked with international organizations and government institutions to establish information hubs for prospective migrants and their families in select public libraries. These libraries provided information about applicable legal rights and support organizations, offered access to relevant e-government services, as well as facilitated networking with diaspora communities abroad to promote better decision-making about migration.  

Photo of a man wearing a mask holding some materials about safer migration. He is surrounded by men, women and children with the same materials.



 Are you interested in learning more about IREX’s First Mile Approach or potentially partnering with IREX on future work to promote safer migration?  If so, please contact