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Diaspora organizations provide tremendous added value to humanitarian assistance. Historically, diasporas are key contributors to their countries of origin or heritage through remittances and other financial or in-kind contributions, but their involvement in humanitarian efforts mean so much more.

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As seen during numerous man-made and natural disasters, diasporas are able to leverage their financial contributions, community connections, skills and local area knowledge to quickly address needs on the ground in their communities of origin. But what is less explored until now is how diasporas’ engagement could be strengthened through stronger coordination within the diasporas and with other humanitarian actors to bring further value to all aspects of humanitarian response, preparedness and recovery matters.

This project is led by IOM, in partnership with Haiti Renewal Alliance (HRA) and funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). Its aim is to enhance humanitarian efforts provided by diaspora and other actors, ultimately increasing the reach and effectiveness towards affected communities.

Seeking to build on several decades of work in diaspora engagement, this project aims to develop a framework to foster deeper coordination and cooperation between diaspora organizations and with institutional humanitarian actors, like international and national NGOs, UN agencies and governments.

Consultations began in December and are continuing through February as part of developing the framework.
Initial consultations were held from December to February with various groups of interested stakeholders to start developing the framework.

As part of the project's formative stages, six virtual consultations were held between December 2020 and March 2021 with several diaspora organizations and institutional humanitarian actors in attendance. Separate one-on-one meetings were also conducted for more in-depth analysis of data being collected through surveys.

Two surveys were sent out with the aim of gathering more data on what might be needed for a robust and functioning framework. One survey targeted diaspora organizations and received 123 complete responses, with the majority of respondents identifying their country of origin/heritage as Haiti, the Philippines, Nigeria, Venezuela, Bangladesh, and Senegal.

The other survey was sent out to institutional humanitarian actors (IHAs). Twenty-six complete responses were received, with respondents representing the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and Southern Africa. The IHA respondents also came from a wide array of intervention sectors, with the majority working with camp coordination and management; protection; shelter and settlements; water, sanitation and hygiene; and health.

Recommendations for diasporas to be better positioned to engage in humanitarian assistance

The project has presented at various virtual conferences in the spring of 2021, including Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week (HNPW) and the European Union Global Diaspora Facility's Future Forum. On Thursday, 24 June, the project conducted a working group with members of the Global Shelter Cluster and diasporas to share a detailed draft of Standard Operating Procedures for the framework. 

Most recently, IOM and HRA have been finalizing the internal model for diaspora's engagement, with ongoing and comprehensive input from working group members. An interactive draft of the internal model will be available soon.

For more information or to get involved with the project, please contact diasporaforhumanity@iom.int. Follow us on Twitter (@DiasporaEngaged) for updates. 

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