Diaspora Engagement Peer Exchange Group (PEG): Diaspora Grants

Related Sustainable Development Goals and Global Compact for Migration

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SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
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SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
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GCM 16
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GCM 19
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Objectives: This e-discussion will focus on exchanging good practices, lessons learned, tips and tricks and experiences of organizations and governments who have or are providing grants to diaspora organizations. The discussion aims to identify key success factors and common challenges to managing grants for diaspora organizations and to discuss how to jointly leverage these efforts for sustainable development. The e-discussion is part of the Diaspora Engagement Peer Exchange Group (PEG), co-led by the Republic of Moldova’s Bureau of Diaspora Relations, a small informal discussion group that stimulates peer-to-peer support as part of the M4SD Programme’s knowledge exchange and capacity development efforts. The results of this exchange will inform the PEG discussion on 14 January 2022 (agenda). 

Why get involved in this e-discussion? This online discussion space allows members of the PEG (including diaspora experts, organizations, national and local governments, etc.) to continue to discuss and share their concrete examples of grants for diaspora organizations. Diaspora often list funding and financial support as one of their greatest challenges for mobilization and supporting their home communities, and grants programmes are one way to overcome this. This discussion encourages peer-to-peer learning to improve current and future diaspora grants programmes, which will ultimately enable the global community to better capitalize on diasporas’ wealth of knowledge and skills to support sustainable development in communities, improving wellbeing, services, governance and more. The space is private and allows you to speak honestly, get practical advice and ask questions to other experts in real time, with an end goal to also support the Republic of Moldova to establish a grants programme of their own. Moldova’s grant programme will support diaspora associations to carry out socio-cultural activities that support Moldova’s development. Read their draft Concept Note to give direct feedback.

Participants: Local and national policymakers, diaspora members, diaspora organizations, grants providers, private sector, civil society organizations, etc. working on diaspora engagement. This e-discussion is open only to members of the 11 countries in the Global IOM-UNDP Joint Programme on Making Migration Work for Sustainable Development (Phase III), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Programme aims to harness the development benefits and reduce the negative effects of migration for host and home communities, migrants and their family members. 

Discussion Questions

For those who have provided grants to diaspora organizations:

  1. What challenges do you experience in ensuring the implementation of your grant (e.g. capacity building of grantees, financial administration, etc.)?
  2. What are some good practices and things to consider when developing a call for proposals and selection criteria for applicants? Can you provide what a "successful application" would look like in terms of eligibility to receive the grant?
  3. What challenges did you face and how did you ensure outreach and awareness of the call for proposals, help diaspora apply (e.g. training) and respond to questions and requests for support during the application process?

For diaspora organizations who have received grants:

  1. If you have received a diaspora-specific grant, what good examples of support have you received and/or what additional support and information would be useful? 
  2. What advice would you give to other applicants applying for a grant?
  3. Do you find any difference between grants managed by civil society or diaspora networks and those managed by national or local governments? What different concerns might there be across these different actors when designing and implementing a grants programme?

For any practitioner: 

  1. What are the pros and cons of grants that target organizations vs grants that target individuals? Based on your experience, when and why would you choose to select organizations and when would you choose to select individuals?

Please share any documents, including technical proposals, grant concept notes, calls for applicants, etc. alongside your comments.

Read the Republic of Moldova's draft Concept Note to give direct feedback.

1. What advice would you give to other applicants applying for a grant?

Understanding the purposes of the grant and reflecting how KPIs are connected to them in the proposal can be important. Funders would organise sessions to explain how the grant aims to help the applicants’ organisations to achieve the goals so it is worth attending to them. Sometimes, applicants may be required to jointly apply with a partner organisation. In such case, it would also be helpful to identify key roles in delivering the project.  

2. Do you find any difference between grants managed by civil society or diaspora networks and those managed by national or local governments? What different concerns might there be across these different actors when designing and implementing a grants programme?

Governments sometimes may not carry out or disclose consultation they make with diaspora networks before announcing the grants. This way grant designer may not have taken all aspects into consideration that sometimes could make a difference in empowering applicants from the beginning. However, this may be on a case by case basis as there are very experienced government teams that know their diaspora networks well enough to make sound judgments. Sometimes grants managed by civil society and diaspora networks can be well promoted and be seen as more engaging. As long as the impartiality of the grant decision and management by civil society and diaspora networks is respected, in a long run, very positive impact can be achieved.  
 

1. What advice would you give to other applicants applying for a grant?

What I would advise is to research the subsidies, why this subsidy, what are the conditions, what can my institution achieve with it? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Are there several institutions with the same idea/plan? How can my institution involve others without losing its identity? Keep in mind that there is no 100% solution anywhere and that all goals must be realistic and time-limited. There are simple methods for setting up a plan and building arguments well. 
 
2. Do you find any difference between grants managed by civil society or diaspora networks and those managed by national or local governments? 
 
Of course, there are differences, many diaspora organizations are not recognized, acknowledged, or seen. Worse still is that many of the diaspora organizations are not taken seriously by certain institutions and governments and they are "used" purely for achieving their target of development and cultural policies. It is a comparison that cannot be made for the time being. If many things have changed over the years but only a few diaspora organizations come forward, rarely a new or small organization gets the chance, and sometimes lack expertise and knowledge. 
 
3. What different concerns might there be across these different actors when designing and implementing a grants program?

Ground rules are as uncomfortable as they sometimes need it. This finding necessitated greater contextual inquiry and analysis. Not only review and consultations, as well deep knowledge of the complexities of financial investments in different layers. And acknowledge that the expertise has to come from different angles (top-down, down-up). Often is it also about a lack of understanding of the multifaceted nature of diasporas and their engagement in development. On the other hand, the experts, activists, and even entrepreneurs working on diaspora development did not seem to have a thorough understanding of investment concepts and practices. There is a big lack of trust and often it plays a big roll in the decision of the government to give money to the diaspora organization. Communication, and perspectives: Conditions, expectations, and achievements can form an issue too. It is very important to clarify all these topics before starting any kind of agreement.

4. What are the pros and cons of grants that target organizations vs grants that target individuals? Based on your experience, when and why would you choose to select organizations and when would you choose to select individuals?

This is a comparison that cannot be made. When you provide a subsidy to an individual, it does not only affect him, certainly not in the long run. He is an individual, but he is certainly not alone, there are family and friends in his life. However, we must be always careful about the intentions of the individual, which cannot be verified by questions and answers, and it requires enormous trust, more than in an organization, but sometimes it is better to invest in an individual with a good plan than an organization. A way forward could be to link the individual to an organization based on agreements made, vision, and expectations. 

Organizations are individuals with a certain plan and purpose and one of the big pitfalls is that in an organization there are different views on how to spend the money and that can lead to mismanagement and conflicts of interest. 

Previous discussions

Past e-discussions brought together stakeholders from local governments, national authorities, Civil Society Organizations, academics, the international community and more to discuss such topics as forced displacement and sustainable development, the protection of migrant workers, how CSOs and other local actors can support city leadership on M&SD topics and more.