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25 Apr 2023

A Model for Diaspora Engagement in Humanitarian Contexts at Country Level: Engagement of the Ukrainian diaspora organizations - Italian Case Study

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Diaspora organizations have been of fundamental importance in pre-crisis preparedness, emergency response and post-crisis contexts, bridging the divide between humanitarian response, recovery and development interventions. Every new crisis, including the current conflict in Ukraine, has been a testing ground for diasporas continued and creative engagement to address needs of affected communities. Against this background, since March 2022 IOM has been supporting the Ukrainian diaspora organizations based in Italy to coordinate on the crisis response, internally and with institutional stakeholders, and to scale up their humanitarian projects in Ukraine through a subgranting mechanism. 

Moving from the analysis of the IOM initiative in Italy, this white paper aims to define a model for diaspora engagement in humanitarian context that can be adapted to other countries and diaspora communities. The suggested model is focused on coordination in diasporas’ countries of residence and a subgranting mechanism that allows to strengthen their humanitarian interventions in countries of origin.

Based on an assessment of the key project documents and the material collected through interviews with a sample of diaspora organizations and institutional actors involved in the activities, the white paper is also informed by a review of other frameworks and initiatives for diaspora engagement in humanitarian context and across the nexus. 

  • Foreword 
  • Acronyms
    • 1. Context and scope 
    • 2. The broader landscape 
    • 3. The case study: The system of conferences of the Ukrainian diaspora in Italy and the subgrants for operational support in Ukraine 
      • 3.1. IOM Italy’s diaspora engagement work 
      • 3.2. The Ukrainian diaspora in Italy  
      • 3.3. The Ukrainian diaspora organizations engagement experience in Italy in response to the Ukrainian crisis 
        • 3.3.1. The system of conferences 
        • 3.3.2. The subgrant mechanism  
      • 3.4. Lessons learned and recommendations 
    • 4. A model for diaspora organizations engagement at the level of country of residence 
      • 4.1. Preparatory phase: Definition of engagement scope, context and stakeholders’ analysis and needs assessment 
        • 4.1.1. Scope of the engagement 
        • 4.1.2. Conducive institutional and legal environment 
        • 4.1.3. Definition of the target group/stakeholders  
        • 4.1.4. Diaspora organizations mapping and assessment 
      • 4.2. Coordination mechanisms: Conferences for internal and external coordination 
        • 4.2.1. Coordination platforms’ mandate 
        • 4.2.2. National and local coordination  
        • 4.2.3. Facilitator’s role  
        • 4.2.4. Diaspora organizations spokesperson 
        • 4.2.5. Modalities 
        • 4.2.6. Liaison with institutional actors 
        • 4.2.7. Exit strategies and sustainability 
      • 4.3. Funding: Support to diaspora organizations projects in response to the crisis 
        • 4.3.1. Scope and criteria 
        • 4.3.2. Modalities 
        • 4.3.3. Coordination and partnership for humanitarian response in countries of origin 
      • 4.4. Positive externalities 
    • 5. The model in connection with global systems of diaspora organizations engagement in humanitarian assistance 
    • 6. The model for diasporas’ engagement in connection with the HDPN 
    • 7. Conclusions 
  • Bibliography