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Operations - Implementation Stage

Last updated: 19 Dec 2022


This section covers some of the key considerations for DTM operational implementation, including team management, the data collection process, and project reporting.


Team Management

Nothing works without a good team – hence setting up a team inclusive of all the functions required in the programme, and providing capacity building to staff to develop required skills are essential for the successful implementation of DTM.

Team setup

The team structure will depend on the programmatic requirements, but at a minimum should cover the following functional areas: DTM Coordinator, data collector, data encoder, data analyst/statistician, reporting, database developer and GIS Officer. Sometimes several of these functions will be held jointly by a single individual. Additional staffing requirements can include, depending on the size of operation and country context: DTM team leaders, operations support (admin, finance, logistics), drivers, and security. Sample TORs can be found in the TORs and Deployment Options entry.

All DTM exercises should strive to collect data with mixed teams of males and females. Enumerators can be, depending on the setting, IOM, governmental or partner NGO's staff. In some context, enumerators are daily or hourly workers. The contractual relationship between IOM's DTM coordinator and enumerators needs to be clearly defined in the enumerators' TORs to allow for appropriate level of monitoring and oversight in order to ensure reliability of the data. In case the data collectors are government or partners' staff, an agreement between IOM and the other party will need to be signed. The agreement should specify at a minimum: the number of staff involved, the amount be paid and the duties of the concerned staff. Any kind of agreement will need to be revised by the Legal department prior to signing. Sample organigrams in the reference section illustrate potential team structures for centralized displacement (1), dispersed displacement (2), and surveys (3).

Regular meetings and good communication within the team are essential to ensure that everyone is working towards shared goals and that different processes are well aligned. This is particularly important in case of remote management when the DTM coordinator does not have access to all areas. In that case, it is recommended to hire a team leader in charge of piloting the operation in the concerned locations.


Enumerators can be selected based on their existing relevant skills such as educational or professional background, experience in data collection and research, language skills, etc. Whilst some enumerators will have prior experience with data collection, introductory training and continuous mentoring are key to the success of a DTM programme. Enumerators need to be aware of the objective and purpose of the DTM exercise in order to gather reliable data. Enumerators should have a good level of understanding of the situation on the ground. Depending of the context, they can be recruited from the areas where data collection is taking place, keeping in mind, when relevant, traditional and tribal structures. In addition, recruitment of female enumerators is strongly recommended to ensure a non-biased collection of data and to improve efforts to include female respondents. The training offers a key venue for enumerators to understand the DTM methodology and tools and understand all the indicators contained in the various data collection tools, most especially the ones related to vulnerabilities or abuses. It also gives data collectors the opportunity to voice any concerns about the proposed data collection implementation modalities, e.g. areas difficult to access, potential constraints and biases of the respondents, etc.

Train enumerators at a minimum in:

  • Data collection skills & techniques (e.g. interview techniques, how to introduce oneself, how to explain what DTM is about, obtaining consent)
  • Data collection methods
  • A common and distinct understanding of the population groups and settlement types
  • Population estimation techniques
  • Sectoral terms & definitions
  • Data security & confidentiality and anonymity
  • Protection (Gender, GBV, CP, CT, PSEA, PFA)
  • DTM as a referral mechanism
  • Mobile data collection
  • Cultural sensitization
  • Data ethics and confidentiality

Where sampled, HH level surveys are deployed, enumerators should also be training in systematic random sampling.

Data Collection

To implement a data collection exercise, follow these steps:

  • Define the objectives and the information to be collect (main questions)
  • Gather available information to guide the questionnaire design
  • Define the geographic area and population group(s) to be assessed, surveyed, registered and/or observed
  • For surveys: Design sampling strategy
  • Obtain and prepare equipment, supplies, and materials
  • Design and test the questionnaire (main questions, question types, format)
  • Select the enumerator/survey teams
  • Design operational plan and data processing
  • Pre-test quality control procedures, define method
  • Train enumerator/survey team members

Different methods can be used to collect data. Wherever possible, a mix of these methods should be used to be able to validate and triangulate findings.

  • Key informant interviews require the identification of reliable sources of information (key informants) who have a good understanding of the situation and population's needs and concerns. Typically, these would be community leaders, local authorities, assistance providers, etc. The identification of the right (i.e. a neutral and well-informed) key informant is key to ensure that the findings of the interview will be reliable. To triangulate findings, several key informants need to be consulted, ensuring wherever possible to include both males and females. Furthermore, direct observations of the enumerators serve to validate findings.
  • Focus group discussions should wherever possible be conducted as part of site assessments to obtain the views of members of the displaced community. Selection of respondents is based on a convenience sampling relying on respondents' willingness to participate. FGD should consist of 6 to 12 participants of the same sex. It is preferable to ensure that two enumerators are present during FGD: one facilitator and one note taker from the same sex as the participants. Facilitators should start FGD by introducing themselves (name and organization) and the purpose of the discussion as well as setting the ground rules (confidentiality, voluntary participation, notes taking) and manage the participants' expectations linked to their participation. Ensure that all ethical considerations related to safety, confidentiality, informed consent and risks vs. benefits of participating are met prior to conducting the focus group and only conduct this exercise if you have the required staff capacities, knowledge and skills for this more specialized type of methodology in place.
  • Household interviews: Household level interviews should be deployed through the demographic calculator component within site assessments, as well as multi-sectoral needs assessments, intentions surveys and similar. Households should be selected for interview through random selection, as defined in the sampling strategy. 
  • Direct observation is another key method to triangulate findings, particularly during site assessments. Enumerators walk across the site and check the information they received against their own personal observations to assess the validity of the information received and adjust findings if needed.
  • Measurements and calculations: At either location-level or site-level, use the Demographic calculator tool to obtain detailed sex-age breakdown of the observed population through extrapolation based on a sample when there is no registration data available. A sample demographic calculator can be accessed here.

Donor Reporting

See the Donor Reporting entry for more information and guidance. The IOM Project Handbook is also a useful resource for this topic.


For more information, please contact the DTM Support Team: DTMSupport@iom.int.

References and Tools

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