Sierra Leone \ Experiences \ Diaspora Engagement Strategy


Dear Colleagues, 

The Government of Sierra Leone, with support from UNDP and other development partners has over the past three years been implementing a Diaspora Capacity Building Initiative through which Sierra Leone diaspora talent has been identified and deployed as a skills-gap filling measure to bolster public sector capacity. Through this initiative, over 30 diaspora experts were mobilized.

This project, is however, phasing out and drawing from its experience, the government, with support from UNDP, is now working to articulate a Diaspora Transformation and Engagement Strategy anew, so as to better engage with Sierra Leonean diaspora, leveraging their intellectual and financial capital for developmental gain in Sierra Leone.

As this work gets underway, we wanted to benefit from experience elsewhere in articulating a diaspora engagement strategy. Specifically, we would be interested in documentation and case studies that address:

1.      the strategic, tactical and operational considerations in relation to engaging the diaspora community, insulating it from partisan interests;

2.      the institutional arrangements that would maximize the potential of the diaspora and their expectations as well as the interests, concerns and priorities of potential funding partners;

3.      channels of communication necessary to foster dialogue and outreach with the diaspora, including options for capitalizing on the growing social media tools and platforms;

I thank you in advance for your responses.

Cleophas Torori

CSR Adviser

UNDP Sierra Leone/HRMO

Freetown, SL

Tel: +232-78131622

Strategy, Tactical and Operational considerations
1. Open access to job adverts. Absence of adequate online information or ability to carry out online applications, query or responses. Most job adverts ask for hand delivery. or ask for impossible levels of experience and state age restrictions. The websites provided by most ministries are tokens and information provided often inadequate and ineffective (cf central govt website of Ghana). Absence of updating of online information.
Institutional Arrangements
2.Access to information, response to inquiries, good customer care to request for information.
Channels of communication
3. Online job application, face to face interviews by skype or telephone for first stage interviews

Yeno Thorli:


Dear Members,

The Capacity Development Practice at Bratislava Regional Center together with the other regional centers is currently working on a review of Capacity Development Facilities. Brain-gain strategies are a common service line of CDFs and we have a few examples where such strategies were implemented, namely the Serbia, Afghanistan, Liberia, Moldova (the Government of Moldova has its own strategy for Diaspora incentives but one of the CDF's main source of consultants is the Moldova Diaspora). The project documents and some evaluations of these projects are uploaded onto the Review of Capacity Development Facilities Teamworks Space. If you wish to access this space we will be happy to send you an invitation.


In addition I found a useful UNDP document called Case Evidence on Brain Gain from 2007 which has many useful strategies and may answer some of your questions. It has also been uploaded on our Review of CDFs space.

Finally, this is a link to a case study from Albania. The programme supports the Government of Albania to prepare and implement a policy framework for Diaspora engagement.

I hope this is helpful.

 Kind regards,

Dessie Tarlton

The Capacity Development Team, Bratislava



Dear Members,

I respond from the point of view of the work in Nigeria - The JMDI project N-253 Sickle Cell Cohort Study: A Sustainable Initiative - 2009-2011.

We have these issues at the heart of Diaspora engagement of the home countries: Engaging Communities - avoiding partisanship -strategic, operational and practical considerations. These are very many issues combined into one question and therefore I will attempt to address only some aspects from our own experience.

Partisanship consideration can be reviewed in two different angles- The tendency for Diaspora engagement is the fact as it the name denotes, these individuals are trying to work with the communities they can relate to, where they come from and where they have greater leverage to achieve the best outcome. It is the local knowledge and contact that enabled us achieve the establishment of newborn sickle cell screening in Abuja / Kaduna State, Nigeria. This enabled us deal directly with the opinion leaders and administrators that have the capacity to achieve change. It was from our personal relationship with the Governor and Director of Hospital Services that made it possible to facilitate the transfer of state staff to the project. It has also led to community acceptance of the intervention and the fact that the government can now incorporate this into their schedule.

The risk however remains that except these changes achieve statutory allocation a change in government could see these gains wiped out. These same factors have seen us extend the newborn screening to Katsina State, a neighboring community with 6-million population. We did not get any further funding support from UNDP but we have been able to engage the state government to embark on a wholesale transformation of the diagnosis and management of Sickle cell disease. Strategy - Transform personal contacts into a state based initiative, engage community leaders who are in fact non-partisan in terms of religious or tribal differences, they represent the whole community. Operational - Encourage local participation such that whatever project is done is owned by the community. For example a sickle cell management board is now in operation in Katsina and drives the initiative. We only provide scientific and technical support. We are also able to drive research to support the funding of the work.

I have therefore commented only on the first question.

Best regards,

Baba Inusa Chair- LFSCA N-253 UNDP Project Nigeria