Consolidated Reply: Somalia / Engaging with the diaspora / Comparative Experiences

Responses in full

1. Gert Danielsen, UNDP Regional Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, Panama

 

Thanks for this query – greetings from Panamá City! I don’t have a specific UNDP experience in this area, but I still hope the following can be of use to you.

When working with the Oslo-based Centre for Peacebuilding and Conflict Management (CCM – www.ccm.no), now an NGO in ‘hibernation’ due to lack of funds, we engaged in a very interesting project with the Iraqi Diaspora in Norway, seeing how Iraqis, especially women’s groups, could engage both more Iraqi Diaspora in Norway and communities in Iraq with regard to processes of conflict management, human rights and reconciliation.

The project was supported by the Norwegian Government, and looked at empowering Iraqi women both in Norway and Iraq for them to carry out conflict management, HR and reconciliation work together with CSOs and community groups in Iraq.  I left the organisation before it was finalised, and so I am not sure what the results were, but you can get more information from the former CCM Director, Mr Graham Dyson, on Graham.Dyson.CCM@gmail.com. Our UNEP colleague, Elise Christensen (elise.christensen@unpei.org), who also worked with CCM for a while and is now based in Nairobi, may also be able to provide more information. Another resource person who has worked both on this project and in Somalia is Silje Skeie, who can be reached on: silje.skeie@gmail.com.



2. Leila Rispens-Noel, Oxfam Novib and JMDI Migrant Advisory Board member, Hong Kong

 

One of the projects I started in 2003 for Oxfam Novib is the formation of Multicultural Women Peacemakers Netherlands (MWPN). The group is composed of migrant women based in the Netherlands. They also have Somali women members. MWPN has grown into an effective network of women peacemakers. MWPN continues to be a partner of Oxfam Novib but as a network from an obscure group of migrant women who advocates for the inclusion of women in the peace process and in the peace negotiation both in the Netherlands and in their countries of origin. They just organized a conference last week in Burundi the compliance of Resolution 1325.  Since its inception, MWPN has already conducted peacemaking missions in Burundi, Indonesia and Philippines. Please read an article about MWPM published in the e-newsletter of African Diaspora Policy Center: www.diaspora-centre.org/Peacebuilding/Expert_Meetings/__1325___more_than_a_number.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 addresses the role of women in conflict, conflict prevention and resolution. Within the context of UNSCR 1325, many European and African countries have set up their own National Action Plans (NAPs). The Dutch Working Group 1325, of which the network organization Multicultural Women Peacemakers Netherlands (MWPN) is a member, first started its activities a year ago. MWPN, in cooperation with Oxfam Novib, organized a debate on 17 January 2009 in Amsterdam entitled UN Resolution 1325 in Practice. The debate brought together more than 40 women in the diaspora to reflect on the challenges around the resolution and how the regulations set by the convention can help strengthen the position of women fighting for peace in developing countries. Zairah Khan, coordinator of the Dutch gender equality platform WO=MEN, set the tone for the debate by stating that “the role of women in conflict is crucial yet undervalued”.

Political participation:

Several issues were addressed during the debate, one of which focused on the political participation of women. According to Abigail Gonowolu of Concerned Liberian Women, “the proactive involvement of women in peacebuilding is one of the key preconditions for women to actively participate in politics”. Peacebuilding is often initiated as a movement by grassroots organizations such as women peace activists. Because of their proletarian nature, peacebuilding movements enhance civic participation among people from all walks of life, and thereby enables them to participate in the broader spectrum of social development, regardless of their socio-economic status.

In many developing countries, there is a wider gap between central political institutions and grassroots organizations. This gap catalysis the inequalities that exist and disempowers marginalized groups, especially women, from positioning themselves as political leaders. Furthermore, political participation does not draw lessons from the grassroots orientation of peacebuilding processes where the focus lies in the ability to contribute to one’s society. As a consequence, this gap in orientation results in political participation in many developing countries remaining an individual or a narrow elite preoccupation.

MWPN recognizes that peacebuilding takes place at different levels and between different groups. Future MWPN projects will therefore work towards the political participation of women using what the organization refers to as a ‘tribe people approach’ where conflict resolution is stimulated by enhancing dialogue between communities and their leaders.

Violence against women:

Sexual violence against women and girls is a common tool of warfare in many African countries resulting in hundreds of thousands of casualties. Mekka Abdelgabar of VOND listed the most common acts of violence against women which include a) domestic violence: physical, mental, emotional or sexual (b) women trafficking, resulting in sexual exploitation and labor exploitation of its victims and (c) sexual violence against women in armed conflict zones. Aside from the psychological and emotional consequences of these violent acts, women often go on to face physical complications that have dire consequences for their quality of life.

MWPN aims to address this issue in a holistic manner, as gender-based violence has become an epidemic in conflict regions. MWPN proposes to approach the issue of violence against women with the same severity as other war crimes or crimes against humanity, which entails a drastic change in the manner in which the issue is approached from a political and juridical perspective. Furthermore, MWPN proposes that drastic changes in attitude towards violence against women take place. MWPN’s activities aim to address the root causes of conflict, including the economic and social factors that fuel violence against women.

Recommendations:
The debate resulted in the formulation of policy recommendations to Western governments, as well as to the UN. Some of the key recommendations are:

  • Providing financial support to women’s organizations in conflict and fragile states, where they are engaged in peace-making and/or peacebuilding activities;
  • Utilizing legitimate and moral social institutions, such as traditional leaders and churches in order to discuss and combat sexual violence;
  • Utilizing military laws to combat the impunity of international troops, especially at the level of implementation;
  • Increasing the training of women as peace-keepers. For instance, in refugee camps, the possibility of training a temporary female police force should be explored. These women can later be integrated in regular police forces and provided with vocational training;
  • Increasing the employment of women within international institutions such as the UN. MWPN proposes that at least two thirds of the forces being sent on peace-keeping missions be female. This will dramatically decrease violence against women;
  • Increasing the scientific discourse on sexual violence against women and analysis by scholars in order to seek drastic solutions for it;
  • Informing men on the constitution of UNSCR 1325 and how they can support the resolution.

A full report on the event will soon be published by MWPN. To learn more about this event and the activities of MWPN, please send an email to info@mwpn.nl.



3. Michael Boampong, Young People We Care (YPWC), Ghana

Prior to the 1st Global Forum on Migration and Development, I helped in the review of a briefing paper on the theme: Strategies for building diaspora/migrant organization capacity for development. You can find the paper online here: www.gfmd2007.org/downloads/C_Session_5.pdf.  It provides some information on some best practices that relates to the deployment of resources, institutional strategies, and incentives for the purpose of capacity building.

Young People We Care (YPWC) is a registered youth-led and youth-focused, non-profit organization that is headquartered in Ghana and has satellite offices in the UK, Canada and USA. The organization is operated by young people (ages 15–30) and adult allies working on youth and development related issues worldwide. At YPWC, we are passionate about sustainable development, the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and the promotion of a culture of peace and universal human rights for all. Visit us at: www.ypwc.org.

 



4. Judith Heljeberg, Fundraising Capacity Builder, Diaspora Volunteering Programme, VSO, UK

We are working with a Somali Diaspora Group from Wales which has already been doing some work in Somali land. I could forward your email to them so that they can get in touch. We also have a couple of other groups on our database. Neither of them have been involved with the UN as yet.

 



5. Andrea Livingston-Prince, Management Consultant, Jamaica

This is a powerful template for roll-out of a Diaspora partnership!  Thank you.   In Jamaica, and in fact the entire Caribbean region, it is felt that we do not optimize our Diaspora linkages.

Once again, thank you Michael.

 



6. Alache Ode, Diaspora Volunteering Partnership Manager, VSO, UK

This is to introduce VSO and the work we do, supporting and building the capacity of UK-based Diaspora organizations to contribute to development in their countries or continents of heritage.  Below are the VSO websites which provide information on our DfID Diaspora programme and the Diaspora Volunteering Alliance: www.vso.org.uk/volunteer/diaspora-volunteering/.

 



7. Karin Fathimath Afeef,  Researcher, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO)

Thank you for sharing the UNDP study, which is of great interest to us. I am attaching two policy briefs written by Cindy Horst at PRIO recently. I hope they will be of interest and use to UNDP Somalia. More information can be found at this website: www.prio.no/diaspeace (I particularly recommend our on-line bibliography on Diaspora Engagement in Peacebuilding and the Role of External Actors, it can be found here: www.prio.no/diaspeace/Literature/).  If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

 



8. Mario Roger Hernandez, Coordinator, Human Development and Migration, UNDP El Salvador

In terms of engaging with the Diaspora, here is some material that could be interesting for you. You can download the final publication of the international dialogue on migration, mainstreaming migration into development policy agendas:

www.iom.int/jahia/Jahia/cache/offonce/pid/1674?entryId=938&srcId=5019&grpsrc=yes&publicationEntriesGroup_filter=International%20Dialogue%20on%20Migration. This document is the result of a forum realized in Geneva about two years ago with many conferences given by practitioners, government representatives and experts.  You may find interesting discussions related to the engagement of Diasporas and also many lessons learned in the partnership building of migration and development.

 



9. Milena Vlahovic, UNMIL (UN Mission in Liberia)

I consider following experiences and practices from Liberia may be useful:

  • The TOKTEN Program was designed by the Government of Liberia and UNDP as a capacity building development initiative which began in May 2006 upon signing the MoU, with the objective to: (a) in the short term repatriate Liberian nationals to support nation building through the revitalization of government institutions; (b) in the long term to consolidate democracy and peacebuilding and to ensure the sustainability of government operations through the availability of human capacity in key institutions.
  • At the request of the Liberian Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the Advocates for Human Rights have coordinated the work of the TRC in the Diaspora. Since January 2007, the Advocates have documented statements from Liberians across the United States, the United Kingdom, and in the Buduburam Refugee Settlement in Ghana, West Africa.
  • In August 2008, a Forum was held in Monrovia, Liberia, to strategize Liberian diaspora actions to in-country development and the PRS, in which diaspora has a major impact through large scale remittance flows.
  • The  Liberian Embassy in Washington, D.C. is currently investing efforts in creating the Liberian Diaspora Advisory Board which will be made up of Liberians and non-Liberians in the following three categories: (i) Crisis Diaspora – Liberian individuals and their offspring who fled the nation during various periods of violent conflict; (ii) Special  Diaspora – Individuals characterized as non-Liberians who have a special affinity for, and interest in, the welfare of Liberia often because of personal relations with the country or its citizens; (iii) Historical Diaspora  –  Given the historical ties between Liberia and the United States, these individuals may be Americans, with or without Liberian heritage, that could be instrumental in fostering better relations between Liberia and the political and business leadership in America.



10. Haley Horan, UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO)

Colleagues from the PBSO recently participated in a seminar organized by IOM/UNITAR on the Role of Diasporas in Peacebuilding (28-29 April). Presentations to the seminar can be viewed at: www.unitar.org/ny/international-law-and-policy/migration-and-development-series/diaspora-peacebuilding.

Some key points emerging from the seminar:

  • Diaspora is powerful actors with ability to transform or perpetuate conflict. They are an increasingly important source of financial, entrepreneurial and human capital. They may contribute important knowledge and expertise in early recovery, and positively impact economic development in their country of origin, including through private sector investment and the provision of remittances. However, mobilizing the diaspora is a highly political undertaking that must be carefully managed. There is need for further guidance/consensus on the appropriate sequencing and entry points for engaging diaspora in post-conflict recovery.
  • Remittances are a significant channel through which diasporas contribute to socio-economic recovery in post-conflict countries. Remittances are larger than FDI and more than twice as large as ODA. World Bank predicts remittances will drop 5-8% in 2009, however they will still outstrip private capital flows and ODA.
  • Migrant communities/diaspora are highly interested in contributing to sustainable development in their countries of origin, provided governments play a catalytic role in creating a conducive environment. Policy incentives (dual citizenship, improved consular support, multiple entry visas) may be offered. There is need for greater cooperation between the governments of sending and recipient countries and international actors to facilitate temporary return of qualified experts to their countries of origin and to promote diaspora investment. Diaspora should be included in discussions on expert rosters and rapidly deployable capacity.
  • Of particular interest may be the experience of Sierra Leone, as shared by Dr. Michel Sho-Sawyer, Director of Sierra Leone’s Office of Diaspora Affairs (see www.unitar.org/ny/sites/default/files/Presentation%20Sho-Sawyer.pdf). Following Sierra Leone's loss of 35-40% of its educated professionals during the conflict, the Office of Diaspora Affairs (www.diasporaaffairs.gov.sl/) - working with IOM, UNDP, DFID and WB - facilitates the return of skilled professionals to work in pre-identified critical areas in the private and public sector where there is no existing in-country capacity.

For further information, please contact Amy Muedin, IOM (amuedin@iom.int) and Sarah Rosengaertner, UNITAR.

 



11. Eswara Prasad, Senior Change Management Advisor, UNDP Yemen

With similar intentions of engaging with Afghan Diaspora, we had initiated discussions internally in the National Area-Based Development Program at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Afghanistan last year. The then Deputy Minister was deeply interested in attracting overseas Afghans from different parts of the world to come and experience Afghanistan by working there for up to one or two years.

A colleague and I had prepared a detailed proposal for this and identified potential areas such as planning, renewable energy development, governance, etc. The intention was to attract diaspora in specific areas where there was gap in the availability of national capacity. This Afghan Internship Program was to have been integrated into the Institutional Development component of NABDP. It is sometime since I left Afghanistan. I could still share with you whatever material I have. Also, India has a TOTKEN Program that has been going on for several years now.

It would be worthwhile to contact the current Project Manager of the program in Kabul for further details. I believe the idea of engaging with diaspora is live, exciting and worth the effort.

 



12. Ganiyu Ipaye, Senior Programme Specialist, UNDP, Southern Sudan

I would suggest that the Somalia office should use the TOKTEN (Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals) Project Modality for engagement of the diasporas in peace building and development. TOKTEN Project has been in existence in UNDP since 1977, and has been used in over 30 countries all over the world that have experienced/experiencing exodus of experts due to political and/or economic reasons.

The project (TOKTEN Sudan) was started in Sudan in 2006, covering the whole country, and has been running successfully since then with participation of experts of Sudan origin from all over the world. Good practices on TOKTEN Project exist in many other country offices.  The website address of TOKTEN Sudan Project is: www.sd.undp.org/projects/tokten.htm.

 



13. Bethany Donithorn, Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), Brussels

At UNDP Brussels we’re implementing a new global programme with UNHCR, ILO, UNFPA and IOM funded by the European Commission - the EC-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI).  The programme was launched in April 2008 and has created a global ‘Community of Practice’ of over 900 diaspora groups, local authorities, NGOs and UN agencies working in migration and development.  The aim of the community of practice is to enable these groups to network and partner, and 10 million Euro has been made available under a recently-closed Call for Proposals targeting 16 UNDP programme countries.* Over 500 proposals were received from civil society groups (including diaspora groups, NGOs and local authorities) and 55 have been selected for funding.  The full list is online here and are due to begin implementation in Sept/October 2009, and will have similar goals to those you mentioned:

  • Facilitate networking for practitioners to learn from each other, and support to the creation of partnerships to strengthen the role of migrant groups in development processes and interventions in countries of origin;
  • Provide capacity building to eligible actors to help them advocate positions, formulate development interventions and deliver sustainable results;
  • Facilitate replication of current good practice; scale-up successful existing initiatives; and develop new, innovative projects that contribute to relevant development outcomes

Policy recommendations will be developed based on both the lessons learned from the projects and discussions in the Community of Practice.  We would be pleased to register you as a member of the Community of Practice, and full details of the programme are on our website, which can be accessed via the UNDP Brussels site: http://www.undp.org/eu/ec-un_joint_migration_and_development_initiative.shtml.  Finally, by cc. of this email I am putting you in touch with Ruth Talbot of VSO, UK who has informed us that one of the diaspora partners she is currently supporting is looking to establish a volunteering programme in Somalia and are keen to make contact with the UNDP Somalia Office.  Please do let us know if you’d like any further information.

 

*Georgia, Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, Cape Verde, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Jamaica, Ecuador. 



14. Jean de Dieu Kayiranga, UNDP Rwanda

 

The TOKTEN (Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals) initiative is one of the Programme that have been implemented in many countries to contribute to the capacity development of their home countries.

This innovative approach utilizes the skills and expertise of the African Diaspora for the development programmes in their home countries. In cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the TICAD/UNDP Africa Bureau initiative intends to address the issue of migration and to tap more effectively into the remittances made by the African Diaspora for the development of their communities.

In Rwanda, as a response to Human resource challenges after the 1994 genocide,  UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Public Service and Labor and the UN Volunteers started in 2005  a 3 years TOKTEN (Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals) Programme whereby national expatriates mostly from Europe and America contributed to capacity building in many development sectors. The TOKTEN Volunteer Programme for Rwanda aimed at supporting socio-economic development through transfer of knowledge and technical know-how to Rwanda on the basis of voluntary short-term expertise not readily and immediately available within the local human resource package from highly qualified expatriate Rwandan nationals. The emphasis was particularly put in sectors such as e agriculture, engineering, economics, environmental protection, education, and health services among others. Their cultural and linguistic affinities facilitate the transfer of technology and pave the way for more permanent relationships with national experts.

For more information on the Programme, please link to its Project Document and Project brief.

For more information on the TICAD/UNDP and TOKTEN initiative, please link to http://www.ticad.net/whatis-505548_ENG.pdf.

 


Many thanks to all who contributed to this query!

If you have more information that you would like to share with the network on this topic, please send it to: m4d@groups.dev-nets.org

Access the M4D discussion forum at: www.migration4development.org/cop/

Learn more about the EC-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) at:

www.migration4development.org

 

This Consolidated Reply is based on exchange and communication by members of the Communities of Practice and reflects personal views of Members.

The views expressed here cannot be taken to reflect the views of the EU, IOM or the United Nations, including UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR and ILO, or their member states.

Responses received

Responses were received, with thanks, from:

 

  1. Gert Danielsen, UNDP Regional Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, Panama
  2. Leila Rispens-Noel, Oxfam Novib / JMDI Migrant Advisory Board member, Hong Kong
  3. Michael Boampong, Young People We Care (YPWC), Ghana
  4. Judith Heljeberg, Diaspora Volunteering Programme, VSO, UK
  5. Andrea Livingston-Prince, Consultant, Jamaica
  6. Alache Ode, Diaspora Volunteering Programme, VSO, UK
  7. Milena Vlahovic, UNMIL (UN Mission in Liberia)
  8. Haley Horan, UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), New York
  9. Karin Fathimath Afeef, International Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway
  10. Mario Roger Hernandez, UNDP El Salvador
  11. Eswara Prasad, UNDP Yemen* 
  12. Ganiyu Ipaye, UNDP Southern Sudan*
  13. Bethany Donithorn, Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), UNDP Brussels*
  14. Jean de Dieu Kayiranga, UNDP Rwanda*

* Shared on the MPN-Project network

Comparative experiences

  • ·  Global:

UNDP Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN) Programme – a UNDP initiative which aims to support the socio-economic development of countries through its nationals living abroad. Through the TOKTEN Programme, skilled diaspora professionals provide technical expertise, policy advice and research services to central and local government, private and public sector enterprises, universities, and research centers in fields such as environment, education, sciences, health, public administration, enterprises management, and information technology among others. See TOKTEN projects in: Armenia; Liberia; Lebanon; Sudan; and Rwanda.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has partnered with the governments of Afghanistan and Sudan to help strengthen their civil services by recruiting experienced diaspora professionals to work in government positions that could not be filled locally, as well as recruiting and facilitating the return of hundreds of teachers, doctors and other professionals. See IOM briefing on policy oriented research on methods for engaging diasporas for development, the final publication of the international dialogue on migration, mainstreaming migration into development policy agendas, and presentations to the IOM/UNITAR on the Role of diasporas in Peacebuilding (28-29 April).

 

  • Somalia – The QUESTS-MIDA project

UNDP Somalia and the IOM have recently  launched (September 2009) a joint initiative to tap into key technical expertise among the Somali diaspora in a bid to help rebuild key governance foundations in parts of the country.  The Qualified Expatriate Somali Technical Support – Migration for Development in Africa (QUESTS-MIDA) project targets Somalis with professional expertise in policy and legislation, human resources management, and public financial management living in North America, the UK and the Nordic countries. Through the project, these experts will be engaged in short-term capacity-building placements in Somalia, for an average period of six months to provide on-the-job peer-to-peer training in their respective fields.   

Better management of public finances is just one of the areas that needs to be urgently targeted given that decades of conflict have left an almost entirely informal economy with a lack of most of the structures needed to handle donor inflows, collect taxes, pay security forces or even to maximize the potential of the estimated one billion US dollars in remittances the country receives each year.

The programme builds upon UNDP efforts over the last four years through its Qualified Expatriate Somali Technical Service (QUESTS) project as part of a wider governance programme for Somalia. IOM will implement the programme, using the experience and expertise it has developed through its Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) initiative and its network of missions in countries where Somalis with appropriate skills reside.  For more information on the Programme see: www.quests-mida.org

 

  • Sierra Leone – Diaspora Support Project

Background: Decades of bad governance and socio-economic collapse exacerbated by the war together created acute shortages of professional, technical and managerial capacity in the public service of Sierra Leone. This is a huge challenge for the government of Sierra Leone as the country is deprived of doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, managers and administrators that it needs to break the cycle of poverty and advance development. Lack of human and institutional capacity in critical sectors threatens to undermine not only the long-term development efforts but also the short term sustainability of peace and stability. It is estimated that 35-40% of Sierra Leone’s educated professionals have left the country and more than half a million Sierra Leoneans live in the US and UK alone.  To address this a UNDP-supported project have taken an innovative approach to tap into this ‘Migrant Capacity’ by bringing it back to the country and applying it, entitled ‘Delivering Results and Accelerating Public Sector Reform with Diaspora Resources and Experts from the South’.

Objectives: The Office of Diaspora Affairs - working with IOM, UNDP, DFID and World Bank - facilitates the return of skilled professionals to work in pre-identified critical areas in the private and public sector where there is no existing in-country capacity. 

Institutional Arrangements: The project Implementing Partner is the Office of Diaspora Affairs/ODA, within the Office of the President under the Ministry of Presidential and Public Affairs. The Project Steering Committee brings together the Strategy & Policy Unit, the Public Sector Reform Unit and UNDP to provide strategic guidance and orientation on project delivery, while a 12-member Advisory Committee comprised of donors and key government ministries plays a critical role in ensuring transparency in the diaspora recruitment process. The Committee first validates the ‘Expert Positions’ requested by the ministries and secondly the ‘Expert Diaspora Experts’ shortlisted and recommends approval of appointments.

Achievements: Since its inception in September 2008, 16 Diaspora Experts have been recruited so far and provided with clearly spelt out deliverables/results targets aligned to the President’s Agenda for Change. They are also required to transfer knowledge and skills to their counterparts in the Ministries. The priority sectors benefitting from the programme are the Ministries of Education, Health, Tourism, Mining, Environment and Lands Transport and Aviation and the Presidency. The expert categories include: Technical Advisors, Policy Advisors, Health experts, Monitoring & Evaluation Experts, Flight Operations & Airworthiness Inspectors.  For more information on the Programme see: www.diasporaaffairs.gov.sl/

 

  • Afghanistan – The Expatriate Program (AEP)

Background: The Afghan Expatriate Program (AEP) had been designed as part of a larger capacity development process under the Afghanistan Civil Service Capacity Building Programs. The purpose of this programme is to identify worldwide, highly skilled human resources (expatriate Afghan professionals) with significant reconstruction and development experience in order to place them within key ministries and other government agencies/institutions to enhance the Government’s effectiveness in overseeing urgent policy and institutional reforms.

Objectives: The objectives of the AEP program are to provide the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) with technical assistance and support in establishing a merit-based recruitment system by establishing necessary processes to identify Afghan Experts worldwide and place a number of highly-skilled Afghan expatriates into Afghanistan’s public administration. The programme aimed to recruit 60 Afghan expatriate professionals in advisory/ consultancy positions to support the government civil service agencies to fill short term capacity gaps.

Implementation Arrangements: AEP is implemented by IARCSC. Two Presidential Decrees (25 and 26) set out the implementation procedures, the composition and the oversight authority of the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), the functions of an Executive Committee (EC), generic terms of references and selection criteria of Afghan experts.

Achievements: Between July 2004 and March 2008 CDS-AEP successfully recruited 97 experts (above the original target of 60) through this and now is due to end in February 2010. The recruits were recruited for 20 government agencies/ministries with certain management capacities and professional experts to fill the capacity gap in ministries/ agencies and support them to meet organizational strategic mandates and achieve long and short term goals and objectives.

These professionals were recruited in advisory position to support specific key functions with an additional responsibility of creating and training a professional team with some key expertise to replace the positions long term. For more information on the Programme see: www.afghanexperts.gov.af/index.php?page_id=17.

 

  • Rwanda – The TOKTEN Volunteer Programme

Background: The lack of adequate skilled manpower in Rwanda has created a formidable challenge in the country’s efforts to undertake effective reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes that can help open up avenues for social and economic development. The Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN) initiative is one of the programmes that have been implemented in many countries to contribute to capacity development in their countries of origin.  This innovative approach utilizes the skills and expertise of the African diaspora for development programmes in their countries of origin. In cooperation with the IOM, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD)/UNDP Africa Bureau the initiative aims to address the issue of migration and to tap more effectively into the remittances made by the African diaspora for the development of their communities.

The Rwanda TOKTEN Programme was initiated as one of the ways to counter the “brain drain” and create a mechanism to bring back Rwandan expatriates in the diaspora. The TOKTEN Programme in Rwanda is expected to be a valuable tool in the human resource and capacity process of Rwanda for its economic and social development.

Objectives: The Rwanda TOKTEN Programme aimed to support socio-economic development through transfer of knowledge and technical know-how on the basis of voluntary short-term expertise not readily and immediately available within the local human resource pool from highly qualified expatriate Rwandan nationals. The programme focused on sectors such as agriculture, engineering, economics, environmental protection, education, and health services, among others. The diaspora volunteers’ cultural and linguistic affinities facilitated the transfer of technology and paved the way for more permanent relationships with national experts. 

Implementation Arrangements:  The 3-year TOKTEN Programme has implemented by  UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Public Service and Labor and the UN Volunteers from 2005 to 2008.

Achievements: The following outputs were expected to be achieved: trained personnel of institutions that are active in training and development, decision-makers exposed to and advised on appropriate decision-perspective and the involvement of women; leaders in key positions in local government or commercially important establishments familiarized with current management practices; enhanced capability in planning, designing and preparation of action plans by local communities for multilateral and bilateral programmes; leaders trained in designated areas of their priority; introduction of appropriate techniques, skills, and practices in areas such as agriculture, health, livestock husbandry, and others.  For more information on the Programme see the Project Document and Project brief.

For more information on the TICAD/UNDP and TOKTEN initiative see: http://www.ticad.net/whatis-505548_ENG.pdf.

 

  • Liberia – The TOKTEN Volunteer Programme

Background: The TOKTEN Programme was designed by the Government of Liberia and UNDP as a capacity development initiative which began in May 2006.

Objectives: (a) in the short term repatriate Liberian nationals to support nation building through the revitalization of government institutions; (b) in the long term to consolidate democracy and peacebuilding and ensure the sustainability of government operations through the availability of human capacity in key institutions.

Implementation Arrangements: At the request of the Liberian Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the Advocates for Human Rights have coordinated the work of the TRC in the diaspora.

Achievements: Since January 2007, the Advocates have documented statements from Liberians across the US, the UK, and in the Buduburam Refugee Settlement in Ghana, West Africa. In August 2008, a Forum was held in Monrovia, Liberia, to strategize Liberian diaspora activities for in-country development and the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) in which diaspora has a major impact through large scale remittance flows.

The  Liberian Embassy in Washington, D.C. is currently investing efforts in creating the Liberian Diaspora Advisory Board which will be made up of Liberians and non-Liberians in the following three categories: (i) Crisis diaspora: Liberian individuals and their offspring who fled the nation during various periods of violent conflict; (ii) Special  diaspora: Individuals characterized as non-Liberians who have a special affinity for, and interest in, the welfare of Liberia often due to personal relations with the country or its citizens; (iii) Historical diaspora: Given the historical ties between Liberia and the United States, these individuals may be Americans, with or without Liberian heritage, who could be instrumental in fostering better relations between Liberia and the political and business leadership in the United States.

Related resources

Diaspora and Development:

 

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Introductory text

23 September 2009; Prepared by Bethany Donithorn and Donatella Pugliese, M4D Network, and Haley Horan, UN Peacebuilding Support Office

This query was cross-posted on the M4D Network, UN Peacebuilding Community of Practice Network and UNDP’s CPRP-Net.

  

 


  

Original query

Original Query: Sriram Pande, UNDP Somalia

Following a study on the contribution of the diaspora in Peacebuilding and Development, UNDP Somalia is currently exploring ways of engaging with the diaspora through partnership in information networking, service delivery and capacity building support for communities. The purpose of this query is to seek similar ventures and other civil society and UN experiences, and to request information towards strengthening partnerships between UNDP and diaspora organizations.

 [Attachment: ‘Somalia’s Missing Million: The Somali Diaspora and its role in development’, March 2009, UNDP Somalia]

 

Summary of responses

Diasporas are powerful actors with the ability to transform or perpetuate conflict and are increasingly important sources of financial, entrepreneurial and human capital.  Concentrated efforts are required to effectively facilitate diaspora involvement in the peacebuilding, post-crisis reconstruction, and development processes of their countries of origin.  Diasporas can contribute human, financial and social capital for the development of their communities of origin.  Governments, civil society and development agencies can have a crucial role in channeling diaspora initiatives, energy and resources to support economies and societies and institutionalize links between the diaspora and the socio-economic activities of their countries of origin.  Network members contributed ideas, experiences and examples of how civil society and international organizations have networked with diaspora individuals and organizations to improve service delivery and enhance capacity building for local communities in several conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Some key lessons shared were:

Remittances are a significant channel through which diasporas contribute to socio-economic recovery in post-conflict countries.  According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), remittances are twice as large as official development assistance (ODA) and nearly two-thirds that of total foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries. A recent World Bank report predicts that remittances will drop 5-8% in 2009 with the global financial crisis, however remittances will still outstrip private capital flows and ODA.  Leveraging remittances for development purposes can be done through investment in real estate, capital market, bonds and diaspora trust funds which enable those in the diaspora to invest in specific development initiatives (such as infrastructure/agriculture development, health or education facilities) or enable diaspora to become shareholders in new private enterprises.  It was cautioned, however, that remittances are private flows produced and owned by migrants who respond to personal needs and incentives, and as such do not reduce the need for official development aid and foreign direct investment.

Diaspora have also been engaged in institution-building to address the “brain drain” in countries emerging from conflict through temporary return programmes such as the IOM’s Return of Qualified Nationals Programmes and the UNDP Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN) programme (see for example the recently launched UNDP-IOM initiative in Somalia below). In order to be successful, return programmes must be demand driven, with placements of diaspora experts based on carefully and transparently pre-identified needs (particularly critical areas in the private and public sector, where there is no existing in-country capacity). By identifying areas where in-country capacity does not exist, it can be ensured that new drivers of conflict are not being creating by the perception that returning diaspora are ‘taking jobs’ from those who remained in the country during the conflict. (For example, 30-40% of skilled professionals left Sierra Leone during the conflict. In post-conflict Sierra Leone, only 5 mining engineers remained in the country. In addition, the country had one of the highest infant mortality rates and a lack of qualified doctors. This meant that bringing in diaspora mining experts, midwives and doctors could be justified to the local population). Further, these programmes must be designed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills, including through the training of local trainers.

Governments and development actors can play a catalytic role in facilitating diaspora involvement in capacity development activities by offering policy incentives such as dual citizenship, improved consular support, and multiple entry visas.  

According to a USAID study on the Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the Diaspora-Development Nexus, ICT can and should be seen as a means of consolidating and reinforcing diaspora involvement in the development process. A number of diaspora organizations have been testing new forms of interaction in order to take advantage of the wealth of human resources that exists, and as a result are able to facilitate discussions on the various assistance initiatives that could work in their countries of origin. Some examples include: establishing virtual fora of diaspora experts who advise decision-makers on a variety of topics in their country of origin; producing ethnic (Internet) radio and/or television programmes that make diasporas “present” in their home communities (such discourse can be influential in the formation of political and economic development policy); serving as catalysts for improving the use of ICTs for development in their countries of origin, for example by influencing investment decisions in technologies that may enhance economic development and employing Internet technology to aid entrepreneurs in marketing products abroad; using ICT to formulate a coordinated response to reduce the impact of disasters (manmade or otherwise); and coordinating resources to develop online diaspora skills banks.  Governments also can benefit from using lCT-based interventions to implement migration policies that harmonize labor supply and demand (i.e., through online databases) or to strengthen ties with the diaspora in order to engage them more effectively in development initiatives.

Finally, the role of women diaspora in peacebuilding and conflict resolution was highlighted.  The engagement of professional women from the diaspora in the development of their countries of origin is an issue that has begun to be explored by groups like Oxfam Novib.  Under the Multicultural Women Peacemakers Netherlands project, migrant women based in the Netherlands have formed a network to advocate for the inclusion of women in peace processes, which recently organized a conference in Burundi on compliance with Security Council Resolution 1325.

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