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Somalia faces major human resource gaps as it attempts to move forwards and achieve the reconstruction and peacebuilding objectives set out in Vision 2016. The Somali diaspora present a unique reserve of experts with skills and professional experience combined with local knowledge of their country of origin. Mobilizing Somali diaspora resources to strengthen the institutional capacities of government agencies to manage and realise their own goals is a non-traditional development approach that has been delivering sustainable results since 2009.

The Migration for Development (MIDA) Somalia programme, implemented by IOM in collaboration with the Somali authorities, allows for skills transfers to take place through short-term assignments of diaspora professionals in Somalia and to date has placed over 300 experts.
“Our mission is to contribute to the on-going process of stabilization and state-building of Somalia by developing the capacities of key government institutions through the mobilization of Somali diaspora resources” states the MIDA Somali programme manager Frantz Celestin. “Some diaspora Somalis see themselves as pioneers and want to be part of the effort to do away with Somalia’s second name – failed state” he added.

The United Kingdom is host to one of the largest and longest established Somali communities in Europe, with an estimated population of around 90,000. To inform the Somali diaspora in the UK about the programme and opportunities to participate, the IOM office in the UK organised an outreach event in collaboration with the MIDA Somalia partner, the Worldwide Somali Student and Professionals (WSSP). WSSP, a London based NGO that was established at University College London (UCL) in 2010, aims to recruit Somali students and professionals working in the fields of engineering, healthcare, education and agriculture, and enlist their services in Somalia's ongoing post-conflict reconstruction process. WSSP currently hosts the largest global Somali Professionals network and has already facilitated capacity building assignments for over 70 Somali professionals from around the world as part of its Operation Restore Home programme which began 2011.

The event which took place on Wednesday was attended by those with a healthcare background, and those with experience in the legal sector and in public finance management, who were keen to find out about the programme and how they could get involved and apply for relevant vacancies.

The founder of WSSP, Kasim Ali, commented that “we have an extensive network of professionals who work in critically important sectors, such as health, education, finance and justice. Many are actively seeking opportunities to share their skills and help shape the future of the country so we are happy to support this programme through this joint event”.

The IOM UK Chief of Mission, Clarissa Azkoul, who participated in the event noted that “it is incredibly rewarding to be able to support the Somali community in UK, through the MIDA programme, engaging and facilitating their direct contribution to their home country”.

For further information about the programme please contact Frantz Celestin