NEW DEMAC REPORT: “Creating Opportunities To Work With Diasporas In Humanitarian Settings”

Food Security Project Syria © DOZ e. V.

While the contribution of diasporas to development has been widely researched, their input into the humanitarian sphere remains underexplored. This study reviews the work of six Diaspora organisations (DOs) in Syria and Somalia, when emergency and early recovery responses are needed as a result of droughts, terror attacks or active conflict. It provides a critical analysis and a case study approach to advance the understanding of Diaspora organisations’ contributions in humanitarian settings.

Analysts and media commentators have increased the coverage of Diaspora’s humanitarian actions in recent years, most notably during the Syrian conflict. The work of DOs has not been as widely explored across other crisis settings or outside of a group of large DOs. This research started by asking how small- and medium-scale DOs add value in remote and restricted settings where mainstream humanitarian actors face challenges of access, local ownership and sustainability. It concludes on areas of complementarity between DOs and the traditional humanitarian sector, outlining their strengths and weaknesses, achievements and areas where they should be supported.

The complexities of operating in emergency humanitarian settings in countries such as Nigeria, Somalia and Syria apply to all organisations – whether international or diaspora. DOs have to negotiate their access to funding and their implementation capacity just like traditional actors. They operate in a common humanitarian aid ecosystem, are confronted with similar challenges, and use alternative modes of intervention that can also act as sources for best practices. Yet this study reveals that traditional humanitarian actors and diasporic actors rarely interact to improve the results of humanitarian aid across emergency settings. The lack of knowledge of each other’s work, capacity and potential contributions weaken the aid ecosystem and the response. This study is a step towards bridging this gap.

Read the DEMAC Report

Recommendations for the Global Compact on Refugees

DEMAC, Danish Refugee Council Diaspora Programme and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (Sector Project Forced Displacement, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ) submitted joint recommendations for the Global Compact on Refugees’ Programme of Action, bringing together perspectives from a humanitarian and a development point of view.

DRC Diaspora Programme, DEMAC and GIZ’ overall ambition for the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) is that it becomes an instrument that improves the international community’s performance in fulfilling refugees’ rights to protection and durable solutions. That it will result in better opportunities for refugees and host communities to live in dignity where needs are met, protection is ensured, self-reliance is possible and abilities to pursue solutions are available.


DEMAC Short introduction film

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