Diaspora and Development

IOM’s migration and development programmes aim to generate a better understanding of the links between international migration and development in order to harness the development potential of migration for the benefit of both societies and migrants. The long-term goal of such activities is to foster sustainable development and reduce the socio-economic factors that continue to keep people in poverty. Globally, IOM implements such programmes through research, capacity building exercises for governments and community development. By engaging diasporas* with their countries of origin, IOM builds partnerships with home country institutions, authorities, and businesses to transfer skills and knowledge to meet the developmental needs of the country.

At global level, recent programme focus has been placed on the facilitation of remittances - the private financial transfers of migrants - and the development impact that they can have on communities and countries of origin.

*Diaspora: Refers to any people or ethnic population that leave their traditional ethnic homelands, being dispersed throughout other parts of the world. (IOM Glossary on Migration)


In the UK, IOM has been engaging diasporas through surveys, mapping exercises, organising video conferences with government officials, health and educational institutions. Through such engagement, IOM UK has been able to facilitate the temporary return of skilled diaspora members to their home country to conduct training and provide know-how to different sectors.

Working in close cooperation with diaspora community organisations and non-governmental organisations, IOM UK has led the mapping projects for: 

In addition, diaspora engagement projects have been carried out for South Sudan, Tanzania, Guyana and Jamaica


Migration for Development in Africa (QUEST-MIDA)

The Qualified Expatriate Somali Technical Support - Migration for Development in Africa project (QUESTS-MIDA) is a joint initiative between IOM and UNDP which brings the skills, knowledge and expertise of Somalis in the diaspora to Somalia, and encourages the transfer of core skills and technical capacity to staff in UNDP partner institutions in Somalia. The Somali Institutional Development Project (SIDP) works with Somali governance institutions in all the three principal administrative areas of South-Central, Puntland, and Somaliland to foster transparent, accountable, and responsive governance. To find out more about this project, please visit the website here. If you are a member of the Somali diaspora and are interested in transferring your skills to the country, click here to find a list of vacancies which you can apply for. Read Ahmed’s story of return below: 

Voices of the Diaspora – Ahmed (Somalia)


To find out more about IOM's projects in Migration and Development globally, please click here.