Jamaica’s diaspora is among the largest in the world and is estimated to be in excess of three million people, with some 650,000 residing in the United Kingdom. Today, IOM staff from the Jamaica and UK offices are participating in the Fourth Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference in Birmingham, UK, to launch an 18-month diaspora mapping project.
Through the project’s website, http://www.mapjadiaspora.iom.int/, members of the Jamaican diaspora will be invited to participate in an online survey in order to determine their location, interests, skills, and willingness to contribute to Jamaica’s development. The results will support the creation of a Logistics Hub which to help address shortages of relevant local skills by identifying persons with maritime industry, logistics, shipping, and engineering experience.
The website will also provide members of the diaspora with a platform to express the needs, concerns and any issues they have in their respective locations. Social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have also been set-up to further promote the project and provide regular updates.
Results from the survey will further guide the Government’s engagement of the diaspora and strengthen partnerships ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship between Jamaica and its diaspora. The government will also be able to determine the availability of skills within the diaspora relevant to specific industries.
The Government of Jamaica has long recognized the benefits of engaging the diaspora, which has been demonstrated through various Government-led initiatives, including the Biennial Diaspora Conferences, creation of a Diaspora Advisory Board, and the recently drafted Diaspora Policy.
“IOM UK is pleased to launch the diaspora mapping project here in Birmingham where there is a large, vibrant and active Jamaican diaspora. We hope that lots of people visit the website and complete the survey which could lead to a matching of diaspora members with specific expertise to particular skills gaps in Jamaica” notes Clarissa Azkoul, IOM UK Chief of Mission.