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Supporting COVID-19 Response and Relief at the Country Level Through Disbursement and Facilitation of Sub-Grants for Selected Diaspora Organizations

To galvanize diaspora’s engagement in COVID-19 response, IOM Washington, DC is implementing a project funded by USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, with the ultimate goal to increase the reach and effectiveness of relief assistance to communities affected by the pandemic. 

Other Details

For the past two years the world has lived in the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has affected each and every one of us, disrupting our routines and teaching us new skills. Pre-existing issues have been exacerbated in vulnerable communities and have driven humanitarian needs to new levels. As we have entered the third year of the pandemic, over 464 million confirmed cases and over 6 million deaths have been reported worldwide as of 18 March 2022. 

Since the beginning of the outbreak, diaspora members and organizations have been remarkable actors in responding to the pandemic, both in their countries of residence and heritage. Through various efforts such as developing online platforms for information sharing, making and distributing masks, and creating virtual health initiatives including mental health consultations, diasporas have developed a multitude of innovative and transnational responses to address their communities’ COVID-19 associated needs and provide relevant support. Diasporas have become a force to be reckoned with.  

About the Initiative

The project, “Supporting COVID-19 response and relief at the country level through disbursement and facilitation of sub-grants for selected diaspora organizations,” is rolling out in three stages: 

The initial stage included a needs assessment of the COVID-19 situation on the ground as well as publishing the Call for Expression of Interest (CEI). It invited diaspora organizations worldwide to submit their proposals for immediate and longer-term interventions to address the fallout of COVID-19 in conjunction with local, national and/or international partners, especially those with existing COVID-19-related humanitarian assistance efforts. The CEI welcomed innovative ideas and activities outlining the areas of intervention that align with the needs of targeted countries. Diaspora members, proven to be active, key actors in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, were also encouraged to disseminate the CEI among organizations committed to elevate their impact in humanitarian assistance. 

Under the second stage, seven grants were made available to the selected diaspora organizations to implement their projects in the following three countries: Tunisia, Zimbabwe, and Lebanon. IOM encouraged diaspora organizations to apply and demonstrate their expertise in technical assistance and systemic coordination among key stakeholders in project implementation. During this stage there have been resources available to build capacity of the selected organizations including in such areas as project implementation, monitoring and evaluation, coordination, and accountability. Diaspora organizations will also get a chance to cooperate and learn from IOM Country offices as well as IOM Washington, DC.  

The third stage is the monitoring and evaluation and exploration of lessons learned, whereby all the actors and stakeholders will share their experiences in cooperation, implementation, learning, and responding to the communities on the ground. These findings will not only be issued as a separate report, but will also help enhance a more formal coordination between institutional humanitarian actors and diaspora organizations engaged in humanitarian assistance. 

Get Involved

IOM welcomes the feedback of diaspora leaders and organizations at any of the stages and encourages additional inquiries about the project. Contact IOM's Diaspora Engagement Unit today at to find out more and how you can get involved to help develop communities' resiliency to COVID-19.