e-Discussion: Local authorities involvement in Migration and Development


Please note, that the e-discussion now has been closed. To read the consolidated reply please click here.

In advance of the launch of the EC-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI)’s new report, “From Migration to Development: Lessons drawn from the experience of Local Authorities” we are pleased to launch this e-discussion on the role of Local Authorities in Migration and Development, jointly moderated by IOM Rome.

In the last decade local authorities have become increasingly active as players in international cooperation initiatives. Decentralised cooperation has grown as a new and important dimension of development cooperation, is more and more comprehensive and professionalised and has seen a large increase in financial resources over recent years.  Decentralized cooperation relies on both governmental and civil society networks with outreach into developing countries. It uses a diversity of tools in many regions of the world, such as co-funding agreements, city-to-city links and direct cooperation agreements.

In addition to initiating and supporting concrete actions in developing countries, local authorities are key actors for mobilising different stakeholders to work together. They are at the forefront of promoting collaborative approaches and policy coherence.  Local authorities have the advantage of being close to their constituents, and of having a territorial presence.  Local authorities' knowledge of local needs and the fact that they often provide the social services which are key to integration, such as education, health care and social assistance, as well as their innovative efforts to increase civic participation on the part of migrants' communities, mean that they are often at the forefront of efforts to involve diasporas in development – be it through targeted support to migrants' groups, fostering public-private schemes or twinning partnerships with institutions in developing countries.

The focus of this e-discussion is on the involvement of local authorities in Migration and Development. During the course of the discussion, which will last for four weeks, we will look at a series of questions, focusing on a different question each week:

- Week 1 – Diasporas: What are the development goals, strategies and initiatives local authorities want to involve diasporas in and vice versa? To what extent do they match the priorities of diasporas?

- Week 2 – Partnerships: How can joint initiatives between local authorities, civil society and migrants associations be strengthened to the benefit of migrants’ communities of origin?

- Week 3: – Replication: What examples are there of successful migration and development initiatives involving Local Authorities which have been replicated or could be replicated?  For example: public-private partnerships, projects involving diasporas or flexible circular migration initiatives?  How has replication been achieved?  What measures and practices might enhance local authorities’ capacity in both developed and developing countries to replicate successful initiatives?

- Week 4: – Local/national coherence: How might complementarity between decentralised cooperation activities and national programmes involving migrants be ensured in developed countries?  And how can national and local development strategies in developing countries involve diaspora communities abroad in a coordinated manner?

We look forward to your comments and experiences concerning methods of coordination between different levels of government, especially between local and national authorities, and between local authorities and civil society, both in origin and destination countries of migration. Expert moderation is provided by IOM Rome and aims to draw out CoP members’ views on and examples of aspects such as:

  • Local authorities’ expertise in decentralized cooperation and co-development.
  • Programmes engaging migrants as key players for the development of both their communities of origin and destination, including initiatives to support the transfer of migrants’ remittances.
  • Examples of successful instruments such as cooperation networks or platforms along corridors of migration, city-to-city links, direct cooperation agreements, twinning between public and private sector employers and institutions to support circular migration, etc.
  • The added value that local authorities can bring to the management of migration processes.

The discussion will be launched on Monday, 6th September 2010 and will run for four weeks. 

We look forward to a rich and active discussion!

Local authorities want to involve diasporas in developmental goals.

DEVELOPMENTAL GOALS: Diasporas have often been linked with the pursuit of higher education abroad, and the return of such skills and experience to the so-called business of "building the nation." Members of the Nigerian diaspora were able to travel abroad, often to the UK, in search of further education and training that were not readily available at home.

In recent decades, political stability and relatively advanced infrastructure have attracted many international organizations and businesses to base their operations in Nigeria. The country's geographical location astride the equator, its temperate tropical climate, beautiful landscapes, and abundant wildlife also attract many seasonal tourists, with some choosing to settle down.

STRATEGIES: Financial remittances provide a lifeline for many of Africa’s poor countries whose governments lack the means to make such provision. The remittance is a form of pro-poor finance and yet it still remains an under-appreciated flow of funds.

African diaspora profit from possibilities and windows of opportunity offered by global networks. The is that allow diaspora to gain a strategic position which enables them to build up social, economic and political bridges with valuable benefits.

It serves as middleman/link with intention of setting up joint ventures. They help facilitate the transfer of finance and technical know-how to local enterprises at home. They import goods from foreign countries.  They promote private business that is voluntary self-help projects.

INITIATIVES: Diaspora formulate entry points and strategic sites at which concrete and collaborative working activities and actions can be initiated.

TO WHAT EXTENT: The invaluable contribution of the African diaspora is completely ignored by the development statistics and hence does not receive sufficient attention from policy makers. But the Nigerian government should form a policy to control the number of people leaving the country; few people can be sent out for training with intention of training others when they return.

“To this day we continue to lose the best among ourselves because the lights in the developed world shine brighter”- Nelson Mandela

Diaspora organizations and associations may suffer from severe capacity constraints to make their activities more visible to the wider public. They lack the channels to gain access to useful information and networks due to security set in place to safeguard secret/protection.

Joint initiatives: Civil society, Local Authorities and Diasporas

The governments of diasporas’ origin countries may appoint well-known members of the diaspora as spokespersons on diaspora issues, sponsor travel to the country of origin for opinion leaders and youth, or establish diaspora volunteer programs.

There should be coordination within government for capacity building, creation of government institutions (consular networks, ministries, councils); integrating diasporas into development planning and policy implementation and promoting partnerships.

The goal of the country of origin is to reduce poverty and support national economy stability. Diaspora can channel to the origin country their skills acquired or by connecting home-country institutions of leaving and enterprise to advanced institutions in countries of destination. Migrants’ associations can bring about foreign investors which give the opportunity of employment for civil society.

Clement Adegbaju
Abuja, Nigeria

I liked the idea of participatory mapping as part of the methodology. In reading the background document, I wondered if this technique could be applied to addressing the engagement of diasporas that are in other countries of the South. Several of the countries targeted in the study, such as Egypt, Philippines, Senegal and Jamaica have fairly significant diasporas in other parts of the global South.

Further to this, my own conversations with migrants and local authorities suggest that the intra-regional diasporas may be more responsive than those in the North, and co-ordination with local authorities may be facilitated in these cases by existing regional integration arrangements such as ASEAN, CSME/Caricom etc.

Re. the need for co-ordination and coherence (p.24): Local authorities' key intervention is, in my view, in improving the integration of new and settled migrants. Investment in pre- and post-departure orientation, as well as some investment in reducing the settlement of migrants would allow for the creation of relationships among institutions and with diasporas that would in turn 'remit' development initiatives, investment and commercial opportunities and technical knowledge for the wider home community.

Re. Migrant Rights partnerships (p.30 +): This is very important.

A related area for action for local authorities may be as a partner in addressing the migration-environment nexus. This is an issue that would benefit from municipal/local-diaspora partnerships, especially as environmental degradation in the South is many times a phenomenon with transnational causes and implications.

All the best,

Chanzo Greenidge, PhD

Dear colleagues,

 The Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia (Spain) in collaboration with the local authorities of the Region has been carrying out migration and development projects with Morocco and some Latin America countries since 2006.

The main challenge that we have to face in these projects has been getting the diaspora involved in the development of their origin community.  There are many references to the participation of immigrant associations in development migration projects and we believe they could play an important role as a promoter or intermediaries between immigrants and institutions in these sorts of projects, as well as support the initiative of their members.  Although the associations are useful actors, the immigrant is vital for development migration projects.  It is necessary to bear in mind that the person, and not the group, decide how to spend and what to do with their money and his time.  In the reception country, immigrants must first solve various needs, including work, housing and language, among many others. In addition, they send remittance to their families back home, but it is a very important step to interfere in the development of his community of origin in productive investments or else in social actions.

Only when the migrant is settled in the foreign country can he evaluate developing the situation in the country of origin.  He has acquired skills, saved money, and now would like to put them into practice. This is a personal decision. When persons with initiative take part in a voluntary way, the results are more effective. So that, is very important to study the group we want to work with before begin a co-development project. Looking trough two of the projects implemented by the Region of Murcia, we can realize that one of the reasons that could involve the success of the project is getting a group of immigrants with a high level of settlement and personally concerned about the developing problems in their country of origin.

One of the projects that we are referring to was focused toward Ecuadorian immigrants in Murcia, but, at the beginning of the project, Ecuadorian immigration was too recent and that was an significant problem to getting them involved in the activities that we were carrying out.  In that moment, we believe that working with associations was the best way to manage the project but the problem was that associations were created to take personal advantage of the benefits that the project could gain.

On the contrary, in another project with Moroccan people we have had more success working directly with people that had shown previous interest in investing in Morocco. We have to take into account that Moroccan immigration is settled in Murcia from 20 years ago. We got in touch with these people through the Local Authorities and the locals NGOs that work on the integration of migrants because these institutions are the closest ones to the immigrants, further more these institutions have been participating with us in the project and this circumstance has been a strength for our work.

Our experience has confirmed that Local Authorities can recognize an important function in the field of migration for development.  Also they are able to work in partnership with local NGOs that work on the integration of migrants. The local authorities know the migrants and problems they face. They know immigrants who have initiatives to launch activities and will support them with training and technical assistance.

In the area of migration for development, other local authorities may profit from human migration flow to form a consortium between the local authorities of the country of origin.  The goals of this partnership can be as follows: 1) Advancing economic and cultural exchanges between the localities of the receiving country and the country of origin. 2) Promote an economic network led by migrants. 3) Advice and improvement of human resources in the country of origin taking advantage of the skills acquired by migrants in the receiving country.

We hope that our experience could contribute to the discussion on Migration for Development.

Antonio García-Nieto and Cristina Durán

Dirección General de Inmigración,
Cooperación al Desarrollo y Voluntariado
Consejería de Política Social, Mujer e Inmigración
Comunidad Autónoma Región de Murcia (Spain)

Dear members,

We consider the following themes useful in supporting this migration discussion:

  1. Effectively training migrants' families to try to minimize migration.
  2. Raising awareness of the social/economic costs and risks that may be incurred during migration, as well as the living conditions of those left behind in communities of origin.
  3. Obtaining mental and psychological counseling.
  4. Planning training projects exclusively for the community of origin in areas such as craftwork, agriculture, and small business.
  5. Increasing opportunities to channel investments to communities with high emigration rates by providing tax cuts and sources of finances.
  6. Implementing programmes for the creation and strengthening of small businesses which would not only allow for self-employment, but would also create jobs and help to discourage emigration.
  7. Stimulating agricultural and crafts production cooperatives to provide employment incentives in communities with high emigration rates.
  8. Fostering "Stock Centers" through commercialization networks to ensure that products are welcomed into the market with fair prices.

Best regards,

Patricia Clementina Salvador Nuques and Rina Eulalia Arias Morales

Fundación Eugenio Espejo, Ecuador

JMDI project Ec-024 “REDES-CAP” : Redes de apoyo a las capacidades de las personas migrantes para el desarrollo

We are very pleased to launch today an e-discussion on the role of Local Authorities in Migration and Development, jointly moderated by IOM Rome.  The focus of this e-discussion is on the involvement of local authorities in Migration and Development. During the course of the discussion, which will last for four weeks, we will look at a series of questions, beginning with the first topic:

  • Week 1 – Diasporas: What are the development goals, strategies and initiatives local authorities want to involve diasporas in and vice versa? To what extent do they match the priorities of diasporas?

We look forward to your comments and experiences, for example concerning examples of programmes engaging diaspora groups as key players for the development of both their communities of origin and destination, and  coordination with local authorities.

Contributions to the discussion may be sent by email to: m4d-net or posted online here.

We look forward to a rich and active discussion!

MIDA Italy and the JMDI Team, Brussels

Here is the contribution from the ASBL BAC « Benelux Afro Center » Belgium to the discussion on “How can joint initiatives between local authorities, civil society and migrants associations be strengthened to the benefit of migrants’ communities of origin?”

First of all we want to point out that collective and organized actions of the Congolese diaspora directed to their communities of origin are – globally speaking – small compared to the amount of individual actions, and without any large impact on the development process as we know. However, there are some path-breaking initiatives, some of them initiated by our NGO based in Brussels. Benelux Afro Center (BAC) was the first NGO of Sub-Saharan immigrants which benefited from subsidies from the Belgian migration cooperation and development funding line. Thus BAC was able to develop a first multi-year programme (PPA) oriented towards the strengthening of the National Council of Health NGOs (Conseil National des ONGs de Santé, CNOS) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Goals: contributing to an increased influence of civil society in the planning and coordination of health interventions, in the strengthening of the health system and in the improvement of the well-being of vulnerable groups in DRC. In order to achieve these specific goals the following results were achieved at the end of the first PPA from 2007 to 2009:

• The CNOS was recognised as the representative, coordinator and regulator of Congolese civil society actors in the health sector within the tripartite dialogue on health including the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and CNOS;
• Advocacy activities were carried out promoting health NGOs to the Ministry of Health and WHO but also to the Groupe Inter Bailleurs de Santé (GIBS) which finances health and development projects and programmes at a local level.
• Equipment was provided to networks of grass-roots NGOs in Kinshasa and 11 provincial NGO coordination groups across the DRC. In addition, training was organized to develop the capacities of local NGOs in the creation of development projects and fund-raising activities. This, in combination with the assignment of experts from the Congolese diaspora as tutors, ensures the transfer of knowledge and know-how.

In the second PPA, which will run from 2010 to 2012, will focus on upgrading decentralization of CNOS’ missions at the level of provincial health coordination (coordinations provinciales de santé, CPOS). This will be done to approach the grass-roots groups and the beneficiaries, i.e. the NGOs, and to facilitate the identification of these in order to establish a database of health NGOs, the final objective indicated by partners of the tripartite dialogue on health in the DRC.

It is important to highlight the specificity of the funding line on the migration and development initiative granted by Belgian development cooperation. The latter only allocates co-financing which consists of 85% of the global budget. The diaspora organization is constrained to pay the balance of 15% from their own resources. This actually comes from external resources, for example from the Belgian partner. The provision of co-financing by migrants additional to cooperation funds constitutes an significant contribution of the diaspora to the country’s development because these 15% provided by the diaspora mobilize and allow the remaining 85% of the Belgian cooperation to be disbursed. Given an average budget for each project of around 450,000 - 500,000 Euro a year, 15% is nearly 35,000 Euro a year. This is a significant amount for development projects/programmes as well as for a diaspora association. This initiative – that goes without saying – takes place alongside private or family interventions.

Thus, for the second PPA running from 2010 to 2012, our NGO has to maximize its efforts to attain the required level of co-financing. All activities which aim to mobilize more funds have to be taken up in order to achieve a certain autonomy in the future. Therefore we will develop two working axes for our action: First, in the South through our local office in Kinshasa which has the task of facilitating and launching a dialogue between the national Congolese authorities and the ASBL BAC to support a better effectiveness of the diaspora in the countries of origin; and second, at the Brussels level where we will try to diversify our partner base and to ensure the sustainability of our projects/programmes and activities. At the same time in the North, BAC will open its projects/programmes for greater participation of other NGOs of Sub-Saharan immigrants through the use of the following two approaches:

• Strengthening networks of migrant associations whose cooperation will improve small associations’ access to Belgian cooperation funds;
• Organization of specific training to strengthen the capacity of migrant NGOs (e.g. on how to run a non-profit group, how to write a log frame, etc.).

Finally, we would like to end our communication with the announcement of the fact that we will organize a large conference on circular migration at the beginning of the second quarter of 2011. This is because through our experience, we consider circular migration as an important channel for diasporas to contribute to the reconstruction and development of countries of origin. The conclusions drawn from the recent M4D e-discussion on this topic (http://www.migration4development.org/content/e-discussion-circular-migra...) will be adapted to the context of the DRC, our target country and country of origin, for the conference.

Beyond the high-level conference in 2011, an annual conference will be organized around one or another subject related to the issue of Migration and Development. Different subjects could be discussed, for example dialogue between the authorities in the North and South with the diaspora, diaspora banks or reintegration banks which aim to support migrants in their temporary or long-term return to their countries of origin, or the financial transfers supported or subsidized by the host country, etc. An exchange of good practices will be carried out at every stage of the project, i.e. through an exchange of experiences with other African associations, especially from East Africa and the Maghreb, whose experience in this area is long-standing.

Dr PHASI Ndudi
Main coordinator of the Migration and Development programmes
ASBL BAC « Benelux Afro Center »
Brussels, Belgium

Please find some points below related to the current e-discussion on diasporas and Local authorities' involvement in Migration and Development.

Diaspora groups involved in community and social related projects at local authority level: This is generally centered on hometown associations, i.e. diaspora linked to their and/or their parents’ place of origin. In some cases the projects and/or initiatives are not linked into local authority plans and happen in isolation. It would be interesting to explore the flow of remittances to local authority catchment areas with diaspora initiatives and if there is a match between the two.

It’s worth looking at the links below:

Key areas that could potentially strengthen joint initiatives:
• Scaling up what works;
• Adding the professional angle to what tends to be a disjointed puzzle;
• The role that diaspora representatives locally can play as a link pin in the chain;
• How can local authorities incentivize the diaspora to gain their involvement – examples could be concessions, sitting on boards or projects and using the diaspora to galvanize support abroad;
• Increase awareness and transparency by local authorities.


Dr T A Banjoko
AfricaRecruit- Findajobinafrica.com
18 Pall Mall
London SW1 5LU, UK

- www.africarecruit.com: events, reports, newsletters;
- www.findajobinafrica.com: job vacancies and opportunities in Africa;
- www.africadiaspora.com: Africa Diaspora Investment.

I fully support your views as well as the different ideas proposed. As part of our local development activities in Senegal, supported previously by the IOM and now by a consortium of Italian bank foundations, our migrants’ organization, the Association Trait d'Union (ACTU), is engaged this year and next year in cooperation with an Italian NGO and local authorities in implementing strategies similar to yours. That is:

• to work on a major capacity development of groups and small village organizations who act as representatives of the population;
• to try in this way to upgrade the level of skills and provide them with tools, equipment and appropriate spaces to develop their activities.

With this aim, we have been working for several years in the region of Fatick, Senegal, in Saloum, on a small island called Sippo, an area affected by irregular and clandestine migration by ‘pirogue’ boats to the Canary Islands, where at the beginning the state wasn’t present at all, but thanks to our intervention in the area with concrete actions of support and guidance to the population the local authorities are beginning to show some interest not to model their involvement into ongoing and future development activities.

Thus I agree with you on the relationship between “local authorities – civil society and migrants’ associations”.

Elhadj Mamadou SAMB
Association Trait d'Union ACTU
Turin (Italy)

Dear All,

I would look at the best practices which can be adopted to involve the community on the issue of migration as follows:

  1. Involvement of border community in controlling or harbouring irregular migrants (irregular or undocumented migrants).
  2. Local government should be empowered on issues related to migration for development and establish different ‘skills acquisition centers’ so as to discourage brain drain from the communities.
  3. Local government should be practically involved in policy-making related to migration.

Policy oriented towards those living in poverty should be encouraged by our local councils in order to be relevant to policy formulation at the global level.

Best regards,


Programe Officer 1

Childolescent and Family Survival Organisation (CAFSO)

Ibadan, NIGERIA.

JMDI project N-050 ‘Migration Aware’ : Irregular Migration: Filing the Information Gap


English – Français

Thank you for your continued participation in the current e-discussion on the involvement of local authorities in Migration and Development, jointly moderated by IOM Rome.  All the responses received so far can be viewed online here

We are excited to launch the final week of this e-Discussion on Local authorities' involvement in Migration and Development. The two topics for discussion are:

 – Replication: What examples are there of successful migration and development initiatives involving Local Authorities which have been replicated or could be replicated?  For example: public-private partnerships, projects involving diasporas or flexible circular migration initiatives?  How has replication been achieved?  What measures and practices might enhance local authorities’ capacity in both developed and developing countries to replicate successful initiatives?

 – Local/national coherence: How might complementarity between decentralised cooperation activities and national programmes involving migrants be ensured in developed countries?  And how can national and local development strategies in developing countries involve diaspora communities abroad in a coordinated manner?

Contributions to the discussion may be sent by email to: m4d@groups.dev-nets.org or posted online here.

We look forward to your responses to these topics in order to enhance the Community's understanding of this important area of migration and development!

MIDA Italy and the JMDI Team, Brussels

Français :

Chers membres,

Discussion en ligne : l’implication des autorités locales dans la migration et le développement

Nous vous remercions pour votre participation à l'actuelle discussion en ligne sur le rôle des autorités locales en matière de migration et de développement, discussion modérée par l’OIM Rome.  Toutes les réponses reçues à ce jour en français peuvent être consultées en ligne ici >

C’est avec plaisir que nous lançons la semaine finale de cette discussion sur le rôle des autorités locales en matière de migration et de développement.  Les deux thème  pour discussion sont les Nous sommes tres Au cours de la discussion nous examinons une série de questions, en commençant la semaine dernière avec le première thème sujet concernant les priorités de la diaspora et des initiatives engageant les autorités locales. Nous passons maintenant à la deuxième question à débattre: 

Reproduction: Quels sont les exemples d’initiatives réussies en matière de migration et de développement impliquant des autorités locales et qui ont ou pourraient être reproduites ? Par exemple : partenariats public-privé, projets impliquant les diasporas ou initiatives flexibles de migration circulaire ? Comment les a-t-on reproduites ? Quelles mesures et pratiques sont-elles susceptibles de renforcer les capacités des autorités locales des pays développés et en développement à reproduire ces initiatives réussies ? 

-   Cohérence locale/nationale: Comment la complémentarité entre les activités de coopération décentralisées et les programmes nationaux impliquant des migrants pourrait-elle être assurée dans les pays développés ? Et de quelle manière les stratégies nationales et locales de développement des pays en développement peuvent-elles impliquer les communautés de la diaspora à l’étranger d’une manière coordonnée ?

Contributions à la discussion peuvent être envoyées à: m4d@groups.dev-nets.org ou mises en ligne ici >

Nous attendons avec impatience vos réponses à ces questions en vue d'accroître la connaissance de la Communauté de cet important domaine de la migration et le développement!

MIDA Italie et l’équipe de l’ICMD, Bruxelles


In other to pull the vast resources of Diaspora Communities, Public-private alliance was set up to intensify the flow of knowledge and resources of Diaspora to their countries of origin to promote both economic and social growth.

Example of Project involving Diasporas

    • Sikaman liases and facilitates joint ventures between Dutch and Ghanaian business entrepreneurs. Sikaman succeeded in persuading Socar, a Dutch second hand car company based in Lelystad, Flevoland to invest in Ghana. Thereafter, Socar decided to export cars to Ghana. The Socar company accepted a barter trade agreement with their Ghanaian business partners and cars for Pineapples became the basis of the exchange. Also, Ghanaians in the Netherlands through Sikaman donated money and sent materials to help the people affected when the football stadium collapsed in Accra in June, 2001.
    • Ethiopian Diaspora in the Netherlands now supports five projects in Ethiopia including computer training centres, church activities for peace dialogue and community agricultural projects. In these projects, more than one thousand of people are employed.
    • Himilo Relief and Development Association (HIRDA) set up by the Somali Diaspora in the Netherland. HIRDA supports education and health projects and micro credit schemes in two provinces in southern Somalia.
    • Teampro – a firm established in Rotterdam by Rachel Tocklm who is originally from Eritrea. Teampro now promotes trade relations with the Netherlands and other EU countries in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Also, Teampro helps entrepreneurs from Africa to come to the Netherlands and get acquainted with their Dutch counterparts.
    • Armenian Volunteer Corps and IndiCorps.
    • African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM), which is a business plan competition designed to support economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa and allows the U.S.-based African Diaspora community to directly invest in viable small and medium enterprises. January 13, 2010 in Washington, D.C., at the African Diaspora Marketplace, entrepreneurs were awarded matching grants to help fund their business plans to improve job growth in their country of origin. Fourteen Diaspora-driven businesses in seven countries were awarded matching grants. Ethiopian agriculture producers were given to increase yield and quality of produce, empower female nurse entrepreneur to improve access to healthcare and reduce the burden on government hospitals in Ghana.
    • Cecilia Ruto, a Kenyan who migrated to New Zealand. Ruto organized with connections back home to import some local tea to New Zealand. He helped to create a new market for the export of the Kenyan tea that had not previously been explored. Ruto is one of many individuals among the African Diaspora who are contributing their professional expertise to the promotion of trade and African exports in overseas markets.
    • The role of India’s diaspora has been critical. Nineteen of top twenty Indian software businesses were founded by or are managed by professionals from India diaspora. Software industry has created 400,000 new software jobs in India and it exported over $6billion worth of goods and services in 2002.
    • Congolese Diaspora in the Netherland provide and assist Health centre directly to provide medical services to about 4000 blind people in Kinshasa.
    • Sierra Leone Diaspora in the Netherlands sends medical equipment to supports hospitals and health centres in Freetown and also other parts in the country.
    • Technology sectors in Taiwan province of China, the Republic of Korea and people’s Republic of China (PRC) have also expanded rapidly, replying in large part on Diaspora professionals from the United States.
    • Filipinos Diaspora’s working in the United States; provide professional & financial support for medical services and e-Government in the Philippines.
    • In Afghanistan, many top Government leaders are from the Diaspora. Diaspora network now facilitate commercial investments and Public service by members for the benefit of their home country.
    • Africa Diaspora in United State formed The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (A.G.O.A.) to improve access to U.S. markets for textile and other goods produced by African-based partners. The Congressional Black Caucus (C.B.C.) made important contributions in the U.S. government response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, the Darfur crisis and the Congo Kinshasa conflict. Today, the C.B.C. continues to help shape U.S. policy towards Africa. This scenario applies to Africa Diaspora members of parliament in the United Kingdom and Canada.
    • Brazil, the economic powerhouse of Latin America, has a sizeable African Diaspora population (more than 90 million, the largest concentration of Africans in the Diaspora in one country) and recognizes political and economic relationships with Africa as a cornerstone of its foreign policy.

How Has Replication Been Achieved

    • Through joint Initiative to tap into key technical expertise among the Diaspora
    • Transnational Linkage
    • Bilateral trade flows
    • National Policies of Emigrant Engagement
    • others Measures & Practices to enhance local authority capacity
    • Strengthening technical assistance to Africa by Africans in the Diaspora; Creating structured, transparent platforms to invest financially in viable business ventures in Africa;
    • Utilizing existing bilateral operational frameworks between Africa Diaspora countries and African countries to jumpstart active participation;
    • Establishing credible infrastructure joint venture projects between Africans in the Diaspora and African partners to help address the monumental infrastructure woes in Africa.
    • Encourage traditional money transfer organizations and banks to develop and market their services to remittance clients and/or promote linkages with microfinance institutions to deepen outreach.
    • Develop regional and domestic payment systems to meet the needs of migrants and their families and facilitate international transfers.
    • Support pilot programs that link remittances to financial products (housing loans, health insurance, consumer loans, student loans, education funds, pension plans, enterprise loans, indigenous rotating saving schemes, etc.).
    • Explore technological innovations (such as mobile-banking) that could reduce transaction costs, increase security, and provide remittance clients with a range of convenient services.
    • The Database of Nigerians Abroad (DNA)- new concept by the House of Representative Committee on Diaspora Affairs should be encouraged and well managed.
    • Improved governance, increased inter-regional trade, debt cancellation, better use of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
    • Policy incentives such as dual citizenship, improved consular support and multiple entry visas


Thank you,

Clement Adegbaju

Dear Community of Practice Members,

It is no coincidence that the involvement of local authorities in Migration and Development has been brought to the fore of the Community of Practice e-discussion. Indeed, regional and local authorities can play a key role in striking effective collaborations and contributing to the process of policy formation. One of the projects funded through the JMDI in Georgia aims at enhancing the capacities of migrants and their home communities for the socio-economic development in the country of origin through the engagement of local authorities. This project is being implemented by the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG), an organization associating municipalities and local self-government throughout the country. The project focuses on a particular region characterized with relatively high outbound migration. This underscores that migratory flows can have region-specific nature and that local authorities have comparative advantage vis-à-vis central authorities to address these specificities through their proximity to and direct communication with local communities. Capitalizing on the organization’s existing network and close ties with the local authorities, the project helped to conceive and materialize the migration and development component within the structure of local authorities. So called “migration” offices have been set up and became operational in each target municipality of the Imereti region, west Georgia.

The idea of creating a strong nucleus focused on migration affairs in each of the four target municipalities has been the core element of the project. The established “migration” offices have been provided with the technical assistance and the training and experience sharing by the Latvian partner, the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments. Such twinning ensured enhancement of the capacities of the “migration” offices as well as contributed towards the development of migration dimension within the local structures. The “migration” offices maintain databases built on the basis of the migration related data collected directly from the target communities. The hot lines operated by the “migration” offices are available to migrants abroad as well as the home communities to receive information and guidance on the topics of their interest. The website developed as part of the project serves as a platform for all the stakeholders to actively communicate and fosters interaction between the various groups. In addition, the “migration” offices will host training sessions for the families of migrants from the local communities to improve their business skills thus giving additional impetus to the social-economic development of the target communities. These tools will help migrants abroad to stay tuned to the developments in their home communities, deliver practical assistance to home communities and encourage both to make migration work for development.

In the broader perspective, these institutionalized units can contribute to long term sustainability and ensure that the development facet of migration is reflected in the development plans and policies for local communities. The project also helped to collect and verify largely lacking “first-hand” information on migrants from the region and the impact on their families in home communities. The involvement of the local authority representatives in the process of data collection allowed minimizing the risk of mistrust and reluctance to cooperate. The migration units of local authorities have become useful points of reference and conduit of information between migrants abroad and their communities of origin.

Deducing from the experiences of this project, local authorities can be a catalyst for finding effective ways to use migrants’ potential for the development of a particular region and community. For the countries in the process of transformation and development especially, the benefit of the involvement of local authorities in migration and development could be multifaceted – addressing the root cause of high outward migration and its negative impact, assisting migrants and home communities in channelling resources to address the local needs, stimulating interaction between communities and authorities at the local level, adopting bottom-up approach to feed into regional and national development plans, assisting in building bonds between communities and diaspora organizations and migrants abroad.

IOM Georgia
JMDI Focal Point in Georgia


It is widely known that local authorities stand the most close to citizens, therefore every local official in a tiny village knows who migrated from the neighbourhood and where he or she resides now. 

Indeed, communication between local officials and migrants’ families is much easier than with central authorities.  Therefore, local authorities possess the unique possibility to play an important role in mobilization of migrants and their families for achieving local development.

The National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) started implementation of the JMDI funded project “Promoting Cooperation among Migrants’ communities and Local Authorities for Local Development” in 2009. The aim of this project is to promote partnership among the Georgian migrants with their native cities and municipalities. We selected four local authorities with high rate of migration as target units and started the implementation of the project in October 2009. NALAG and its partner organization – The Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments (LALRG) – conducted series of trainings for local authorities and migrants’ families, as well as facilitated the establishment of migration-offices in all four target municipalities. These migration-offices are well equipped with PCs, communication means and hotline services. Each office has two staff at the disposal of migrants and their families.

The biggest challenge we faced in municipalities was lack of reliable information on migration and nonexistence of contact information.  We discovered that central government agencies have only aggregated statistical data without any personal information necessary for liaising with the migrants. Additionally, we learned that the vast majority of Georgian Diaspora organizations do not have large membership and they unite only up to 5% of Georgian migrants. So, it became evident that local authorities should start collecting personal data on migrants and migrants’ families who possess full contact information on their relatives. This is the only source of information since migrants’ families are very reluctant to share information on their family members to unknown people.

Thus we decided to use local officials for collecting information from migrants’ families. Migrants’ families shared information openly with the local officials who they know and who they trust. As a result, we collected personal data (including full contact information) from 17,356 migrants from four territorial units. This data is stored in a computer database operated by the migration-offices.

Local Authorities started communication with migrants using this database since May 2010 and today this communication has a permanent nature. We introduced a new website (www.partnership4development.ge) in July 2010. It serves as a marketplace for Georgian migrants, where they can find useful information on developments in their native towns and municipalities, submit their opinion to local authorities and participate in the decision making process. This website has seven discussion forums with 1,600 users per month; the most popular themes are employment and business partnership.

The project goes on and in the near future we plan a training of migrant families in starting new business and in effective use of remittances. We will do our best to mobilize migrants’ families and establish strong interest groups capable of cooperating with local governments for building better life in their communities.

Basic lessons learnt from this project:

a)      Migrants’ families are more open to local officials and they share information more easily with people they trust;

b)      Local authorities have more credibility among local citizens than central agencies and organizations from outside. Thus, local officials can play a critical role in mobilizing migrants for local development;

c)      Communication with migrant communities should have a permanent and organized nature; that requires institutional arrangements and the existence of supportive structures inside the municipalities;

d)      Local officials who are responsible for communication with migrants should have adequate skills and knowledge to build confidence and understanding with the target groups.

For more information please visit: www.partnership4developemnt.ge or www.nala.ge

David Melua

Executive Director

NALAG (National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia)

Tbilisi, GEORGIA


For joint initiatives between local authorities, civil society and migrants associations to be strengthened for the benefit of migrants’ communities of origin there must be:

1.    Transparency and Accountability:

There is a need for structures or forms that promote transparency and accountability on where diaspora resources are located, how they are used by the communities and initiatives aimed at building on the diaspora resources to make them more sustainable and beneficial to the communities of origin. Only when migrant communities in the diaspora or migrant associations feel that their resources are used judiciously, will they continue to engage with their communities of origin.

2.       Recognition and celebration of diasporas’ contributions:

There is a need for local authorities in communities of origin to work with civil society organizations to promote events that celebrate the contributions of the diaspora and honor some of them for their contributions to their communities of origin. International Migrants Day events could be co-organized by both communities of origin, civil society organizations and migrant communities to provide the platform for such an occasion. Such recognition would motivate to continue contributing, would increase understanding of the importance of every single member and would be beneficial to both sides.

3.       Communication and dialogue with diaspora communities:

Regular communication and dialogue with diaspora communities can strengthen the relationship for the benefit of the communities of origin.  ICT tools such as the internet and website platforms including the use of social network sites could serve to promote this interest by ensuring that diaspora communities are informed of community needs to help identify areas of interest and collaboration, progress and accomplishments of communities of origin as a result of cooperation with diaspora communities, etc. It is also most important for communities of origin to communicate with the diapora communities to know their needs and how the community’s local authorities and countries of origin can support them in their challenges rather than the communities of origin only being at the receiving end.

Michael Boampong
Young People We Care (YPWC) | Founder




I would like to share the experience of Atikha-Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative in involving local authorities in our EC-UN JMDI project "Maximizing the Gains and Minimizing the Social Cost of Migration in the Philippines”.

Atikha is working in Region 4A in the Philippines where about 4 of the 5 provinces are among the top 10 labor sending provinces of the Philippines. Region 4 is also the top sending region to Europe. Among the activities we have initiated in our EC-UN JMDI project are the setting up of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Migration Resource Centers which provide social and economic services to migrants and families left behind, and the migration and development fora including local authorities and other stakeholders.

The initiatives gained overwhelming positive response not only from the municipal government but also provincial and regional bodies. Right now we are targeting only three OFW Migration resource centers but there are about 20 municipalities, cities and provinces requesting assistance from Atikha in setting up OFW centers/desks. We planned three multi-stakeholder migration and development fora and we have already conducted nine fora not only at the municipal level but also at provincial and regional level. We were also able to mobilize/lobby towards the various departments of government which - we believe - should be involved in migration and development initiatives such as the departments of social service, planning, trade and industry, and labor. The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Region 4 has been actively involved in our series of fora with the local governments and recognized the importance of integration of migration in development planning; the NEDA Region 4 proposed the setting up of the ad hoc committee on Migration and Development to be able to integrate migration in development planning which was approved by the Regional Development Council. Regarding the question of replication, the following are lessons that we have learned:

  • It is important that national and local governments, migrants and other stakeholders can see a working model where they can be trained. The presence of an OFW Center providing economic and social services in San Pablo City managed by Atikha in partnership with the City government serves as the training area for the various stakeholders. Atikha is currently using the OFW center in conducting study tours on setting up OFW Migration Centers. These include discussions of various migration and development issues that should be addressed, legal, financial, physical and human resource requisites in setting up migration centers, capacity building requirements and also exposure to migration and development initiatives in the area.

  • The growing awareness brought about by the information work and advocacy work on minimizing the cost and maximizing the gains of migration enlightened a lot of the local government units - i.e. magnitude of migrants in the area (16% of the population in region 4), social cost of migration for migrants and families left behind especially children, etc.

  • Multi-stakeholder partnership was possible because of social capital that was already developed between the local/regional government and other stakeholders.

  • Tapping international organizations as partners in the initiative such as IOM, the European Union and UNDP also encouraged the participation of local governments. Hope this input is helpful.

Warm regards,

Mai Dizon-Anonuevo

Executive Director, Atikha (Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative)


Dear all,

we have been working for two years on a JMDI funded project in Cape Verde, involving young migrants in Rome and young citizens of the community of Ribera Brava (Sao Nicolau Island). The main aim was the creation of connections between the two groups, empowering both in ICT and web editing. The ourcomes are a Multimedia Centre in Cape Verde and a common web platform to exchange information, ideas and multimedia products.

The local Municipality, involved only during the implemenation phase, showed interest to the project, and, only once have observed the project in its concrete development, has answered positively to our request: support the follow up period, ensuring both logistic and human resources. This support should have ensured, if provided at a previuos stage, a stronger impact, but often is not possible to involve Local Authorities when you design a project, for several reason.

The responsability of the social actors is to make public bodies and Local Authorities as part of the game, not only for opportunity reasons, but to keep the projects and the develpoment actions more stick to the local community. We all know that the political sphere has a short term perspective (elections are the most relevant deadlines...), but for sure good practices, when embedded in public programmes, have the greatest chances to be reteined for the future plans.

Our experience shows that, even if at a later step, the involvent of Local Authorities strenghten our initiatives!

Thank for the attention

Marcello Mariuzzo - Lunaria

 Imame El Rhomri, Sevilla Acoge Foundation, Spain

To answer the question, how can joint initiatives between local authorities, civil society and migrants associations be strengthened to the benefit of migrants’ communities of origin, I believe it is through better coordination and synergies between stakeholders, mainly decentralised cooperation and non-governmental cooperation of NGOs led by migrants in their regions of origin.


Over the last few months, I have been working as Project Manager for the Co-Development Department of the Acoge Sevilla Foundation, a migrants’ NGO based in Seville, Spain. I observed that after almost 10 years of the organisation’s intervention in the Province of Tetouan (Zinat), Morocco – in which a comprehensive programme was put in place to meet the basic needs of the people (drinking water, bridges, literacy, school rehabilitation, ecological furnace installations, economic empowerment of women through income-generating activities, etc.), in partnership with the town council and the support of decentralized state services – that it is essential that any intervention includes a local human and structural capacity development component to ensure the continuity of the development efforts initiated by this cooperation, and to promote good local governance.


Indeed, the new municipal charter reform and the willingness to go further, accelerate and make the decentralization process in Morocco effective requires strengthening the capacities of local elected officials and civil society in the planning and management of their local development. However, I noted that the state-provided training and support has not managed to take root in the most isolated areas, such as mountain villages in the North, and that it is very difficult for local actors to access information, guidance or training of sufficient duration that is tailored to their specific requirements. So I proposed to my department a project to strengthen the capacity of small village associations, which have emerged as new actors representing the people (compared to existing traditional forms).


The creation of these village associations has been driven by external incentives, in particular international cooperation interventions and recommendations by the State (Ministry of Agriculture, Morocco's National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), etc.) in order to implement the recent socio-economic development policies in the region. However, it appears that the emergence of these associations is not supported by a capacity development process to enable them to participate effectively in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these policies.

Therefore, following the recommendations of several studies and in light of internal diagnostics, we plan, as a migrants’ NGO, to act according to four areas of intervention:


Increase the level of skills and strengthen the internal structures of village associations;


Provide equipment and appropriate space to develop their activities;


Encourage active citizenship and greater gender equality (gender mainstreaming);


Sensitise the entire population on the importance of the role of modern civil society organizations (associations, federations, networks, etc.) in development and local democracy.


However, we sincerely wish to work with decentralized cooperation actors to meet the needs expressed by elected officials of some of the surrounding rural municipalities to strengthen their infrastructure (rehabilitation of their buildings, upgrading of computers and IT equipment, etc.) and their skills through adequate training focused on the new responsibilities they have been given (new communal charter, Municipal Development Plan, etc.). The problem is that within my organisation, we observed that there was a lack of information and communication between actors who, by combining their efforts, could have a greater impact. These actors include the Directorate General of Local Communities and their provincial delegations, decentralised cooperation actors, universities, research centres and migrant’s NGOs who wish to use their potential to "bridge" cultures and contribute to the development of their villages / towns of origin by providing their know-how.


Therefore, I believe it is necessary to establish a dialogue between different cooperation actors so that they can better harmonise and articulate their initiatives, negotiate together and coordinate their actions in support of local people.


Improved articulation of the intervention of decentralized non-governmental cooperation would foster the creation and consolidation of fora for dialogue and consultation between local authorities and civil society and thus strengthen local democracy, particularly as the present political situation in Morocco is favourable to this.


Imane El Rhomri


Co-development Department Sevilla Acoge Foundation

Seville, SPAIN