Would you say that diaspora groups are acknowledged more now, as a result of that white paper?
Diaspora organisations are recognised as a distinct group. Almost every international development funding programme in the UK monitors this category to assess the level of access to funding and general inclusion in programmes and processes.
For the African diaspora and other small and specialised organisations, advocacy to avoid marginalisation is an ongoing task. In the early 2000s, AFFORD and VSO developed a very innovative diaspora volunteering programme, later funded by DFID and evaluated as successful and important.
Is there any help for diaspora community organisations struggling with capacity and funding?
In the UK through the AFFORD Business Club (ABC) and in the EU through Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT), we provide practical and technical training, support, fundraising and resource mobilisation. But AFFORD, ADEPT and similar organisations require more resources to meet the existing demand.
Do you think it’s necessary to have a funding scheme that’s specific for our diaspora communities and organisations?
The European Union, a number of national governments, as well as many major funders, have criteria that effectively exclude small and diaspora organisations from their schemes. And so it’s necessary to have dedicated diaspora funding programmes. This principle has been accepted by many countries around the world.
In 2013, as part of the United Nations High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (UNHLD), AFFORD facilitated the participation of Comic Relief who made a credible case for dedicated diaspora funding.
In the UK, AFFORD works in partnership with DFID, Comic Relief, Pharo Foundation and others to provide funding of up to £30,000 to diaspora organisations running projects in Africa.
Currently, ADEPT is in consultation with the European Commission (EC) and the Swiss Government for a Europe-wide Diaspora Grant Fund.