Our Focal Points in countries of origin are essential in approaching host Institutions. They help identify priority sectors, liaise with diaspora experts about their assignment, and facilitate the overall implementation and monitoring of CD4D2.
“Together with my colleague Napoleon Abakpa in Lagos, I supervise the CD4D2 project in Nigeria. I am based in Abuja, where the federal ministries are located. Most ministries know IOM well, however at inception they were not familiar with the concept of our projects involving knowledge and skills transfer by experts from the diaspora aimed at sustainable development.
Reaching consensus from the relevant federal ministries is my starting point. At bilateral meetings I explained the engagement of diaspora experts aimed at achieving SDG goals. For each ministry Focal Points were appointed. Together we identified capacity building needs based on well-defined results and the level of expertise required. Also, we made sure the equipment and infrastructure necessary to support the knowledge transfer by the diaspora are available.
The ministries absolutely value the knowledge and expertise of diaspora. They see it as a unique opportunity for continuous learning on implementing SDG’s. Also, working with experts from the diaspora gives local staff a clear insight in how things are done in the resident country of the expert.
And there are more benefits of involving diaspora. The ministries encourage diaspora experts to create links to their country of birth. Through CD4D2 our government is better equipped to serve our people.
Don’t underestimate the effect of the shared cultural background; local staff find it easy to communicate with experts from the diaspora who they view as ‘one of their own’. And the diaspora experts themselves are very motivated to give back to their country of birth. Their motivation and commitment make the assignments very effective.”