Supporting Diaspora Engagement in Sudan During the Transitional Phase
Objectifs de Développement Durable Connexes et Objectifs du Pacte Mondial sur les Migrations
The COVID-19 Socio-Economic Impact Assessment conducted in Sudan in 2020 by the United Nations Country Team identified “Health First” as the priority pillar with nine recommendations to support and protect health services and systems in Sudan’s recovery plan. Diaspora from Sudan living and working in other countries in the medical field can possess a great amount of skills, knowledge, and networks that can further enhance the health system within Sudan. In the early months of 2021, the Government of Sudan made concrete efforts to engage with its diaspora and has established a Diaspora Unit to coordinate efforts with medical professionals abroad. While the political and security events and developments from 25 October 2021 have temporarily reduced the capacities of national authorities to engage diaspora meaningfully, it remains a key lever for the sustainable development of the country for the foreseeable future.
The main objective of the Joint Action implemented in Sudan was to strengthen the communication and engagement with diaspora professionals, especially with health professionals, for knowledge and technology transfers in support of Sudan’s development. IOM and UNDP aimed to establish an initial roster of diaspora health professionals as well as other professionals through the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) platform to be transferred to the Sudanese Ministry of Health (MoH) and to develop a strategy document for future engagement with Sudanese diaspora health professionals through a scoping mission to the United Kingdom (UK).
IOM and UNDP carried out complementary activities:
IOM conducted a scoping mission to the UK, which was facilitated by Shabaka, a UK-based diaspora non-governmental organization (NGO). The purpose of the scoping mission was to better understand the diaspora communities in the UK and to better understand their initiatives that contribute to Sudan’s development. Additionally, partners analysed efforts to engage bigger and diverse Sudanese diaspora groups, as well as the challenges, opportunities, and the role of the second and third generation diaspora. The scoping mission included a one-day event with UK-based professionals and a series of one-to-one interviews with Sudanese diaspora social influencers. Based on the dialogue, IOM, with the support of Shabka, produced a comprehensive engagement strategy paper with recommendations.
In parallel, UNDP and a producer developed an impact strategy for “Health Heroes”, a docu-web series that will chronicle and share the stories of health workers from the diaspora. The docu-web series will build on the UNV roster and aims to integrate with the iDiaspora platform. It is still in the final stages of development.
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The findings of the knowledge exchange tour showed that the Sudanese diaspora is willing to contribute to Sudan’s development, especially after the 2019 revolution. The outcomes of the joint action will be part of a long-term plan packaged in the joint IOM-UNDP Diaspora Engagement proposal which positions and anchors the role of diaspora in the Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDPN) Nexus.
Already, 10 UNVs through the roster are being mobilized to Kassala Teaching Hospital which serves the greater Eastern region, an area with a high influx of refugees.
This initiative reminds practitioners of the importance of diaspora engagement for sustainable development and transitional recovery from conflict. Moving forward, IOM and UNDP wish to continue their joint work and contribute to opening channels for further discussions to better facilitate and institutionalize the diaspora's contributions to Sudan's development.
A joint approach such as this one is integral to achieving the SDGs, more specifically contributing to SDG 3 on good health and well-being, SDG 10 on reduced inequalities but also SDG 17 on partnerships. It also contributes to achieving the Global Compact for Migration's objectives, such as GCM objective 18 on investing in skills development and mutual recognition of skills and GCM objective 19 on creating conditions for migrants and diasporas to fully contribute to sustainable development.
Diaspora communities, national authorities, healthcare systems and ministries, refugees and migrants