In the last period, an impressive amount of qualitative and quantitative analysis of the asylum-seeker Italian management systems emerged. The article discusses the methodology and the results of a qualitative evaluation research that recently focused on the implementation of the Ena programme in the province of Pisa looking for the changes the programme itself stimulated in some specific target- beneficiaries (asylum-seekers assisted by the programme, holders of temporary- protection permission not assisted by the programme). This analysis underlines the importance of joining the ethnographic with the realistic approach, using the latter as a meta-theoretical lens in order to help evaluators in organizing the empirical evidences under a coherent interpretative model. Realistic evaluation, in fact, help analysis in understanding the social mechanisms that emerge into the different institutional and organizational contexts of the programme and how their combinations contributed to various outcomes in asylum-seekers’ lives and into local welfare systems.
Keywords: Realistic evaluation; asysum-seeker management system; Italy; Ena programme.