Review of IOM Development Fund Projects Focusing on Diaspora (2015-2020)

Related Sustainable Development Goals and Global Compact for Migration Objectives

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
GCM 19
GCM 23

This review assesses both active and completed diaspora projects funded by the IOM Development Fund between 2015 and 2020. Gathering insight from 52 selected projects, this review seeks to identify best practices, explore innovative approaches and share lessons learned in order to provide recommendations and guide both current and future diaspora projects. 

Key Findings:

  • The IOM Development Fund supported 52 diaspora projects between 2015 and 2020, accounting for 14 per cent of the fund’s total projects and total allocated budget.
  • Diaspora projects contributed to the following four main diaspora engagement programme areas:
    • human capital transfer (79 per cent of projects), direct investment (50 per cent of projects),
    • remittances (50 per cent of projects), and philanthropy (37 per cent of projects).
  • The regional distribution of projects was highly uneven, with 63 per cent of projects emanating from the Africa region, while Asia, Europe and the Middle East combined accounted for less than 20 per cent of projects. In addition, Latin America and the Caribbean encompassed 15 per cent of projects, whilst four per cent of projects were global.
  • In total, 61 per cent of completed projects reached all of their intended outcomes and produced all of their expected outputs. Key challenges included reaching diasporas, consultant challenges, changing governmental counterparts and IOM internal challenges, requiring 83 per cent of projects to undergo a revision.
  • Despite the challenges, 72 per cent of completed projects reached all of the intended beneficiaries, and 16 per cent also reached unintended beneficiaries. In total, 56 per cent of projects reported having a “very good” impact.
  • Innovation is central to diaspora projects, with 75 per cent of projects featuring innovative approaches, particularly with regards to
    • (1) innovation in technology, digitalization and data usage,
    • (2) innovation in approaches to community engagement and
    • (3) innovation in partnerships and governance.