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Institute for the Study of International Migration, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Transatlantic Perspectives on Migration Policy Brief #6

February 2009


*Patricia Weiss Fagen is a Senior Associate at the Institute for the Study of International Migration.

The publication of Transatlantic Perspectives on Migration is made possible by a grant from the German Marshall Fund of the United States

Migration, Development and Social Services

Defining the Themes The role of migrants and Diasporas in stimulating the development of their home countries has received welcome attention in the past decade. The countries of North America and Europe have a dual interest in this issue—as the destinations of millions of migrants each year, and as the major donors of development and humanitarian aid to poorer countries. This policy brief focuses on a specific aspect of the migration-development nexus: the role played by migrants and diaspora groups in supporting health and education services in their home countries. Improving health and education outcomes is a key to promoting human development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The brief begins with a discussion of the expanding concept of remittances to include not only financial transfers to families but also financial, technical and other support for improving social services and outcomes. It then provides general observations about the role of migrants and diaspora groups in supporting health and education services. The following section focuses specifically on migrant and diaspora contributions in fragile States which do not have governmental capacity to provide a full range of services to their populations. It concludes with recommendations, focused particularly on the international donor countries, to increase the effectiveness of these initiatives.

The Expanding Concept of Remittances Remittances from migrants to their countries of origin have risen to an estimated $318. billion, according to World Bank figures for 2007. Most of that amount, $240 billion, goes to developing countries. (Ratha and Xu, 2008). Because the figures account only for recorded money flows, they largely omit informal transfer channels and in-kind transfers which are significant in volume, and on which people in the poorest countries are especially dependent. Interest in diaspora dynamics, remittance uses and transfer patterns has grown exponentially among international financial organizations, donor governments, NGOs and remittance entrepreneurs. Extensive research covering numerous diaspora communities throughout Europe and North America confirm that migrants make significant contributions to many poor and middle level national economies through their remittances and philanthropy. At the 2008 meetings of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, a workshop on Remittances and Other Diaspora Resources underscored the need to strengthen diaspora contributions to development through remittances and other forms of engagement.1 Remittances are most simply defined as the transfer of money or goods, sent by migrants and received by individuals who, generally, are family members of these migrants and usually but not always are living in the country of origin. The senders wish to contribute to basic family needs for sustenance, buy goods, provide funds for health care and education, and/or for productive

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investment that generates a continuing income. Often, as well, migrants invest in their own eventual return by building homes and other infrastructure and establishing small businesses from afar. In recent years, the term “remittances” is being used more widely to include the transfer of ideas and skills, profit bearing investments, and physical improvements in home communities. Remittances in various forms have the attention of governments, international donors and researchers. Yet, research that explores how migrant groups are contributing to community well-being, income generation, productivity, and social service provision is unsystematic. Such contributions are highly relevant to assessments of development impacts. Migrant support for social services in their countries of origin is often referred to as “collective remittances,” although the term does not seem to this author to be a particularly good fit. The category “remittances” is applied because the resources emanate from migrants who have left their countries of origin yet continue to send various forms support from their host country locations to their former homes. “Collective” is then added if the transfers in question encompass organizational rather than individual transfers of resources which, in turn, have impacts that are collective. In practice, migrant contributions extend beyond family support, and often go to places or sectors where the migrants have no direct family ties. Although usually motivated by ties of some kind, the migrants, like other donors, send support to places where there are needs to be filled or to strengthen services not readily available. They are “remitting” therefore, in a similar fashion and using a similar logic to what is used by humanitarian and development actors who deliver foreign assistance to places they consider important but where they have no formal ties. The primary difference lies in the fact that the migrants are lending support to the particular nation or region from which they originate because of their special attachment to that nation or region; international assistance is globally delivered according to foreign policy criteria. The fact that aid is globally delivered often means that it is more readily withdrawn and replaced by another needy destination or depending on foreign policy priorities. Migrants’ assistance, contributions and investments, to the contrary, are not easily transferable from one to another location. Sometimes the migrants in question are considering an eventual return to their homeland, whether temporarily or for retirement, and want to ensure that needed services are in place. Or, community groups in the target country specifically request help from a diaspora organization for the services they lack and cannot expect to receive from their respective governments. The people engaged in remitting for collective purposes are considered part of migrant “diasporas.” Diasporas consist of individuals from a given place who identify with each other across national lines, retaining cultural legacies, languages, political loyalties and other forms of

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identity with their country of origin. Diaspora member form multiple, usually small but often effective associations dedicated to addressing perceived needs and advocating on behalf of the country or place of origin. Diaspora contributors are frequently grouped together in associations called home town associations (HTAs), organizations formed to benefit particular communities with which the HTA members identify. Home town associations are a new name for an old phenomenon in which immigrants who want to affirm their identities and loyalties maintain their ties by bringing benefits to the places they left. HTAs are only one channel migrants have been using to improve conditions and services in their countries of origin. Host country governments and non government organizations frequently enlist the service of migrants to participate, particularly in post-conflict reconstruction projects, and to serve as bridges to local populations. Or, the diaspora organizations themselves initiate projects, enlisting support from entities in the host country and international donors. Professional groups, student groups, religious organizations and individuals have been supporting country of origin needs ranging from micro finance to technology, hospital and school construction to adult education and professional training. They have volunteered time and money to directly deliver medical services, bring equipment and medicines to hospitals, provide psycho social counseling for the traumatized and create art spaces for local talent. Individual “remitters� of means who are not members of HTAs frequently support activities that have a collective impact and a target population that is more national than local in scope.

Remitting in the Context of Fragile States, Conflictive Societies, Weak Institutions Insofar as migrant led initiatives build and/or maintain social infrastructure, provide training and services, and donate their own expertise, their contributions are highly relevant to international development efforts. Of particular interest are the migrant diaspora associations operating on behalf of people in countries where governments are barely functional and donors are minimally involved or absent. The extent of migrant commitments to public services in extremely poor and fragile states is impressive considering the challenges of establishing and maintaining such services and the limited resources at the disposal of all but a few migrants. Governments in countries seen as stable or unstable, rich or poor, with fragile or strong national institutions, have recognized that remittance resources are important to the economic well being of their populations, and see that migrants could or should be part of their planning processes. Donors, similarly, not only partner with non-government actors in the countries where they have established programs, but are beginning to explore possible links with the diaspora groups residing in their own countries. Stronger governments are potentially in a better position than

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weaker ones to play constructive roles in capitalizing on migrant contributions to development. Nevertheless, governments may have poor relations with their externally located citizens if they have treated them badly. People who have left corrupt, conflictive, discriminatory situations in their home countries are more than likely to distrust these governments. Diaspora groups, national authorities, civil society groups and donor agencies have been experimenting with various forms of resource transfer and development-oriented partnerships. It has proved difficult to make such partnerships durable. Governments aid agencies in Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA, among others, co-finance or otherwise support diaspora initiatives and thereby enhance their impacts. They have been small scale thus far and engage with only a fraction of the diaspora groups. Where the initiatives have been relatively successful, it is fair to say, the successes owe a great deal to the already existing capacity of the country of origin to benefit from the contributions of its diaspora. It is far more difficult to obtain broad positive results in fragile States—that is, those with weak government institutions that are often beset by political instability and conflict.

Diasporas and their Interventions, beyond Family Remittances Among the projects that migrants are likely to support, those related to health and education rank high. According to stereotype, migrant home town associations dedicate resources most readily to building soccer fields and churches and improving roads so that they can more easily visit their old towns in new cars. Migrants and their home town associations do support these things. It is also the case that HTAs regularly channel resources to projects that enhance education and health, especially in countries or parts of countries where these services are weak. Migrants located in places where they and their families have access to education and health care are acutely aware of the disparities between themselves and relatives still lacking these basic services. Providing basic health and education, ultimately, is a public responsibility complemented by private contributions. It is a public responsibility because it is fundamental to economic development and national progress for governments to use their resources—however meager— to promote a largely healthy and literate population. Governments in poorer countries like richer ones, normally deliver health care and education to citizens through institutionalized systems. These systems may be weak, under funded, subject to corruption and uneven, but their operation is understood to be within the framework of state responsibility. In this context there are abundant opportunities for private sector interventions to ensure more inclusive, even handed and better quality service. In the wealthier countries private sector foundations and interest groups support the schools from which they graduate, donate to community schools,

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volunteer, give money for health research or technology, and fund additional service to the needy. Non government actors supporting social service provision are usually hopeful that their contributions will be made sustainable by improvements in government performance. Diaspora groups from poor countries behave similarly. They send money, equipment and supplies; they donate expertise, sponsor training and scholarships, with benefits that go to public, religious and private institutions alike. The challenges are greater in fragile, failed, conflict affected and post conflict states, where government authorities have abdicated (or been forced to abdicate) their roles in providing social services. If there are no clinics or schools in a given community, remittances aimed at helping family member obtain schooling and health care are of limited utility. Diaspora support to health and education necessarily goes beyond helping family members defray costs of supplies, uniforms and tuitions, and must include actually creating the basic facilities. If there are only a few poor quality public services, residents are obliged to buy such services at inflated private sector prices, if they are available at all. In this situation, diaspora organizations feel impelled to replace the absent state and augment international assistance by building and maintaining basic facilities. Diaspora organizations, like many donors and non government organizations, often contend that contributions for social services should not be channeled through governments that are corrupt or who omit segments of the population from receiving social benefits (e.g. females, religious or ethnic minorities). The efforts of outsiders to fund health and education however, are unlikely to be successful unless the government absorbs the facilities into the state structures and furnishes the needed teachers, nurses, doctors and so on. This poses a serious dilemma for projects related to educational and health care facilities. In the three cases briefly outlined below, humanitarian actors and diaspora entities have found ways to work with some ministries, with some local officials, and with some segments of government bureaucracies. Almost always, even in the worst of times, there are public authorities willing to collaborate in bring educational and health related benefits. Such efforts demand caution to avoid legitimizing unsavory authorities or supporting projects that enable discriminatory and repressing practices. Yet, if these conditions can be avoided, the efforts are likely to be seeds for future improvements. Diaspora initiated projects are making a difference in communities in countries on every continent. Diaspora members who return to their countries of origin for short or long periods of time have unique abilities to understand what is needed and how best to deliver the services. Many in the active diaspora groups are firmly convinced that they can do a better job of delivering assistance and improving social service delivery than the international community is doing. They point out their greater familiarity with the culture, their existing ties with communities where they are known and trusted, and their ability to be bridges between their host countries

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in Europe and North America and their home countries. They often go to places where neither governments nor international humanitarian assistance has reached or anticipates being able to serve. Most important, diaspora members insist, they are engaged for the long haul. Long after the humanitarian assistance has been exhausted and the international NGOs have left, the migrant diasporas will be still active. Indeed, if one looks at remittance flows from Armenians, Lebanese, Haitians, Sri Lankans and Somalis—to name a few—one finds decades, if not generations, of sustained support. Diaspora interventions and international assistance interventions follow different dynamics and priorities. Nevertheless, taking into account the different contexts, it is reasonable to examine both the diaspora and international interventions in the light of humanitarian principles, local sensitivities, good development practices and expertise. Critics should take into account the disadvantages under which diaspora projects usually operate. As opposed to donors and NGOs, diaspora members usually contribute their personal resources and time on a voluntary basis. How and where diaspora groups offer services, then, depend on their existing ties and preferences. Since they do not operate according to systematic nationally defined plans, the results of their projects are necessarily uneven, and may duplicate existing projects or conflict with national priorities. Since their efforts are personal in nature, the implementation is not necessarily transparent. While the international bodies are likely to negotiate or try to negotiate state-sponsored follow-up, diaspora home town associations frequently build or equip clinics and schools in their communities of origin with little or no assurance of sustainability. Likewise professionals in the migrant communities readily participate in occasional missions through which they donate their services, but have no way to take care of needs that arise between missions. Nevertheless, critical assessments of migrant-initiated social service projects in terms of what we understand to be good development practice must take into account the dearth of other offerings. Quite simply, in weak states and neglected regions, migrants are probably bringing services to places where other options are absent. The assumption that returning members of the diaspora are more trusted in their countries of origin than outsiders are is valid on the whole, but still open to question. When Americanized or Europeanized members of an ethnic community return to their original homes after decades, they find that the resident population has changed and so have they. Cultural sensitivities may persist, but cultural and political realities change over time (e.g. Afghanistan, Vietnam). Depending on class and comparative experiences, local populations are as likely to resent the returnees as they are to respect them. Returnees who enter their old communities as visitors with resources to contribute regularly complain that instead of gratitude, they find that the population is dissatisfied and expects far more from them. Likewise local service providers are just as likely to resent outsiders of their own nationality or ethnicity as they do outside aid givers generally when these outsiders deliver services without strengthening local capacities.

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As will be discussed in greater detail below, some of the well educated Haitian diaspora members express dismay when they return to their former communities by what they perceive as passivity, corruption, and ignorance among the local population they intended to assist. In the case of Afghanistan, observers have affirmed that the local Afghans resent the well paid and affluent Afghan origin outsiders sent to build their capacities. While the newcomers claim to identify with the local population, they live among and in the same manner as the other international bureaucrats. It may be the case that members of the diaspora must put more not less effort than those outside the diaspora in creating open, transparent and respectful relations with the local population. While it is certainly the case that diaspora interventions inside their countries of origin tend to be of longer duration that those of international assistance bodies, diaspora commitment is not indefinite. From Morocco to Mexico, migrant associations have been contributing to improve underfunded schools and clinics and to care for vulnerable populations. The well established HTAs in the United States and Canada from Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) prioritize support for educational and health projects. (Orozco 2006) Even in middle income countries like India, members of the diaspora in western countries collectively or individually build schools, contribute to technology and upgrade clinics in ill-served areas. To some degree in all these cases, governments have promoted diaspora involvement and support, and have invited members of the diaspora to return as teachers, trainers and advisors. In most cases, younger and second generation migrants are far less engaged than their parents. The continuing migrant involvement, in turn, depends on continuing entries of new immigrants willing to render service to their countries of origin. As immigrant entries decline and especially as economic opportunities for immigrants in the wealthier countries diminish, the immigrants attend first to the survival of their own families in the host countries.

Diaspora Support for Social Services in Fragile States One of the best indicators of state failure and fragility is the rapid deterioration or disappearance of state-provided social services in all or in portions of a country. The degree to which such services may be sustained is obviously an essential element in overall stability, economic progress and human security, especially in the absence of effective government structures. This is why supporting social services and finding non government channels for so doing have been longstanding priorities for international aid in war torn countries. While analyses of the achievements and the multiple problems that beset international humanitarian assistance in such

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difficult contexts have filled volumes, it is difficult to find information—much less analyses—about the dynamics of diaspora assistance efforts. Yet, in most crisis countries with fragile economies diaspora contributions well outstrip formal aid mechanisms and investment. Sometimes diaspora engagement brings significant improvement. The recovery of Lebanon is an example. Following the Civil conflict of 1975-90 diaspora involvement was essential to the country’s recovery, as was government cooperation with diaspora. At the outset, however, the government had to recover its own legitimacy and role and, only then, could it facilitate diaspora projects intended to rebuild the country. In this instance private investment revitalized the economy, including its hospitals, schools and overall social infrastructure. This in turn opened opportunities for Lebanese professionals who wanted to remain or decided to return. Today, Lebanon is in again near the brink of crisis—primarily political in nature--and one can only hope the widespread Lebanese diaspora will find ways to influence the divided factions in the country to pull together in the interest of national well being. Somalia, Afghanistan, and Haiti are useful and illuminating case examples where diaspora support networks buttress health and educational services in countries of origin. In each of these cases, few services of any kind are otherwise operating in all or major parts of the country.

Somalia In Somalia, with the very partial exception of the more stable regions of Somaliland and Puntland, there is no functioning state structure for social services because, for practical purposes, there is no state. Even in the relatively stable regions where skeleton health ministries exist and state regulations are in place, the ability to deliver health care is minimal (Kent/VonHippel 2004). In the context of pervasive violence and armed conflict, diaspora efforts necessarily are channeled through clans. The Somalia diaspora is especially effective in mobilizing its clan and sub clan organizations located in Europe, North America and the Gulf. In addition to family remittances, Somalis have organized, working together in multiple locations, to build infrastructure, equip schools and hospitals, pay health and educational service providers, train professionals and keep services operational on a continuing basis. Researchers have documented Somali diaspora activity in sustaining health and educational infrastructure, and equipping and training professionals in Somalia, while enforcing a continuing commitment of fellow clan members to maintaining public services. This means the migrant communities are compelled to send resources for the public good over and above the demands of needy family members in the country. (Kent/VonHippel 2004; Lindley 2005; Hammond 2007, Horst 2008). Overall, Somalia has had little else by way of international funding.

Migration, Development and Social Services

Some mainstream development agencies have worked with the Somali diaspora to implement programs. CARE’s Diaspora Partnership Program, (DPP), in Somalia “aims to strengthen the implementing capacities of an estimated 10 key local partners; NGOs, government agencies, private sector organisations or community based organisations.” It is implemented in partnership with NedSom, a Netherlands-based Somali NGO. The DPP facilitates expert support from the Dutch diaspora that, in turn, enhances the capacity of local Somali NGOs. The program expects to increase the capacity of 10 local NGO partners through technical support from the diaspora, increase long-term interest and involvement of the Somali Diaspora in development activities in Somalia, and “increase cooperation among the Somali diaspora, diaspora organisations and CARE.”2 Somali diaspora organization has been striking because it has achieved so much in the nearly total absence of state structures and in the presence of continuing crime and armed conflict. Politically prominent Somalis are quintessentially global citizens, entering and leaving the country, holding multiple passports, and operating transnational businesses from both inside and beyond the national territory. While they invest in education or health to preserve livelihoods, they invest as well in commodities and the profitable telecommunications businesses, on which they rely to maintain their global contacts. Just as the Somali clan/sub-clan structures have complicated all peace efforts, so too have these structures proved uniquely suited to enforcing collaboration among exiles located in different parts of the world.

Haiti Haiti is an interesting example of a fragile rather than failed state which, nonetheless, depends largely on diaspora support for social services, including basic health and education. The Institute for the Study of International Migration recently completed in depth research on the Haitian diaspora3. The Haitian state’s role in primary education is uniquely low in global terms. Among the world’s poorest countries, Haiti is the only one in which non-state schools, including community schools, comprise over 90% of all schools. Indeed, over 80% of all primary and secondary school students attend private schools. State participation in health service provision is similarly limited. It is estimated that only about 30% of health facilities are public, located mainly in urban areas. Private financing provides an estimated 70% of rural health services, particularly primary health care, including reproductive health, infant care and HIV/AIDS screening. Ongoing research among Haitian health professionals in the United States and Canada suggests the existence of a “parallel system” of diaspora supported health facilities and educational services.4 The organized Haitian diaspora is longstanding in the United States, Canada and France. A large but considerably poorer Haitian diaspora lives in the Dominican Republic, Nassau, and the French Antilles. Formed first during the 1960s by political exiles escaping the repression of

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Francois Duvalier’s dictatorship, the original diaspora continued to be fed by the intellectuals, professionals, and political opponents of Duvalier and his son, Jean Claude.5 The members of this first exile group, now in their 60s and 70s are still at the core of many of the prominent diaspora organizations. During the second administration of Bertrand Aristide 2001-04, politics as well as economics again drove Haitians into exile and, again, the country’s brain drain was deepened as still more business leaders, professionals and intellectuals left the country. The Haitian diaspora today is believed to number more than two million people, about half of whom are in the United States. (Orozco 2006, 4). As of 2000, an estimated 82 percent of all tertiary-educated Haitians had emigrated (World Bank citing Marfouk and Docquier 2004). Haitian migrants who left during and after the 1980s have been on average poorer and considerably less well educated than the first group. A large portion of them earn little beyond subsistence and frequently are undocumented. Poorer Haitians continue to send remittances to even poorer relatives at home, but rarely are able to contribute to projects meant for collective benefit. The wealthier and middle class Haitian migrants face multiple demands on their generosity: They support and advocate on behalf recent Haitian migrants, many of whom do not have legal status, send remittances to family members still in Haiti, and take on organizational commitments for projects in Haiti. International development funding has done little to improve the quality of life of poor Haitians, despite robust humanitarian assistance and development aid from the US, Canada, France, the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank and private/faith based sources. The diaspora has taken on the challenge, working though a multitude of organizations and associations in all the countries where they are located.6 Haitian health professionals regularly visit the country to render services, members of HTAs send medical and school supplies, and work with communities to build capacities. Haitians with university affiliations in their host countries organize training and scholarships for promising students in Haiti. They build hospitals, schools and other social infrastructure and send supplies and equipment. Unlike the Somalis, Haitian diaspora members organized in different locations for similar purposes rarely coordinate; they tend to have only vague knowledge about the activities of other organizations even in the same cities. Unlike Afghans (see below), few Haitians are offered or receive compensation for going to Haiti and working there. Typically they travel regularly, but pay their own way and receive no compensation. Like both Somalis and Afghans—and diaspora organizations from most countries, the Haitians are faced with daunting challenges. • First, the Haitians in exile have competing responsibilities, that of supporting the recent arrivals and supporting projects and services in Haiti.


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• Second, they have not identified very much funding for their efforts outside of their personal resources and those of other members of the Haitian community. • Third, the members of diaspora groups, by and large, lack expertise or training in development or technical assistance. They have invested often in unsustainable efforts or selected projects that do not correspond to community priorities and urgent needs.

Afghanistan Contrary to the Haitian and Somali diasporas, Afghan diaspora groups can count on government encouragement. However, government control over much of the country is exceedingly weak, security is poor, and corruption is high. In parts of Afghanistan, growing Taliban influence has impeded the government from delivering health and citizen education despite generous amounts of outside funding for these activities, including support sent and directly given by Afghan exiles. Every donor program acknowledges the importance of remittances and other contributions from Afghans outside the country.7 Afghans are concentrated in Europe, North America, Australia and neighboring states. They have arrived in waves since the outflow caused by the Soviet occupation of the late 1970s and 80s, followed by the flight responding to defeat of Soviet backed governments, and then the flight brought on by civil strife in the 1990s. They have organized into professional, women’s and youth associations in all the countries where they are concentrated. Although often divided politically and linguistically, the respective Afghan groups would like to play important roles in national recovery. Individuals from the diaspora have gone to places where the reach of both the government and international assistance has been limited. With government encouragement and funding from donor governments, Afghan exiles have brought skills as well as financial resources to health, education—especially girls’ education— agriculture and technical assistance. For example, the organization Afghans 4 Tomorrow runs four vocational and learning centers in Kabul, and the Ministry of Education officially recognizes its diploma. The Society of Afghan Engineers has worked effectively with donor agencies and Afghans to facilitate building and repair of infrastructure, training and capacity building. In another example, the German development agency GTZ has worked with the Afghan-German Physicians’ Association to provide training to doctors from various provinces in Afghanistan to learn about ultrasound diagnostics in the city of Kabul. GTZ also worked with another Afghan migrant association to build wind and solar power energy stations in rural areas.8 Afghan ambassadors in every major place of settlement have encouraged members of their communities to return—which in the case of some younger Afghans means going for the first time.


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Following the 2002 Afghan peace agreement, the international community committed full support for recovery, reconciliation, good governance and capacity building. While there is no lack of Afghan talent to undertake these challenges, too little of that talent was still to be found living in the country. As always, massive donor aid brought massive foreign presence to the country, running government ministries, improving health facilities, preparing school curricula and coordinating programs. Joining the expatriate advisors and consultants in this case are diaspora based Afghans, who have brought language skills, (mixed) cultural sensitivities, and professional abilities. Not insignificantly, the expatriates of Afghan origin are paid the same international salaries as the other consultants, a fact that makes it far more likely they will go to Afghanistan and, at the same time, less likely that they will seek work with local organizations at local salaries. The International Organization for Migration has run a program for the Return of Qualified Afghans that brought some 5,000 skilled professionals who were prepared to settle, or resettle in the country. The World Bank established a similar Directory of Expertise for Afghan professionals overseas, through which Afghan professionals, as well as non-Afghans with relevant expertise would serve in Afghanistan for varying periods of time. Afghan professional Associations have sent their own delegations. The willingness to serve, however, seems to have diminished since 2002, as increasing insecurity takes a heavy toll in parts of the country and corruption undermines the willingness to serve.

Recommendations In recent years, the international community has been paying greater attention to the work of important diaspora groups engaged in humanitarian and development projects. The 2007 Global Forum on Migration and Development in Brussels concluded: “Governments can promote policies and practices that attract and use collective remittances and support diaspora and Home Town Associations in helping to address social, infrastructure and economic projects within their home country.� Empowering migrants and diasporas in these endeavors was on the agenda at the 2008 Global Forum in Manila and will likely continue to be a topic for discussion. While much of the attention has been on mid- and low-income countries with relatively stable governments, the Global Forum provides an opportunity for discussion in the international community concerning fragile States as well. The following recommendations stem from our research on the role of migrants and diaspora groups in supporting social services in their countries of origin:


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• International donors can and should explore the real and potential synergies between the efforts they are supporting through international and nongovernment organizations and those of relevant diaspora groups. There are challenges to be met: Diaspora groups, especially those in countries prone to violence and conflict, are extremely cautious and often distrustful of outsiders. This distrust often extends to donor governments, as well as to development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations. The donors, on their side, do not easily relinquish control or bend to priorities. What the diaspora group wants to bring to a particular community may not coincide with what the donor sees as the principal priorities for national development or their own interests. • International donors should not exclude diaspora groups from receiving funding on grounds that the diaspora organization is not located inside the country in question. Diaspora entities have long argued that they are representatives of civil society in their countries. In failed and fragile States they may be the only viable and functioning civil society organizations that can provide needed services. They are performing tasks that those inside the country cannot perform because national civil society has been destroyed or vastly diminished. If donors cannot find appropriate national beneficiaries, the diaspora groups contend, it makes great sense to consider funding for diaspora activities that are well rooted in the target countries and communities as extensions of community based activities. • While not expecting the diaspora groups to conform to the priorities of aid agencies, the latter should make it clear that available funding will go to projects that are fully elaborated and developmentally sound. Several countries’ aid agencies have learned to work with diaspora groups while helping the latter to improve the quality of their project proposals, thereby enabling these diaspora groups to obtain funding from wider sources for promising projects. Donors should also clearly articulate their expectations of diaspora groups, particularly in terms of the principles to which all aid agencies are expected to adhere. For example, just as humanitarian agencies operating in conflict situations are expected to adhere to principles of impartiality and neutrality, donors should work with those diaspora groups that adhere to the same principles, their personal attachments to their home communities notwithstanding. • Donors and international NGOs should seek ways to facilitate worthwhile diaspora efforts where possible, complementing rather than duplicating or replacing them. This can be done in many ways, such as enhancing infrastructure around a school or clinic, upgrading technology and communication in locations where modest facilities


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have been established, assisting with ancillary needs such as training etc., interceding with government authorities to enhance staffing and maintenance. • When donors and NGOs invite the collaboration of diaspora groups or individuals from the diaspora, part of the package should be that the donors will cover expenses of participants and in some instances, offer stipends. This may seem a small matter but the same donors that would automatically write in salary support for NGO personnel, tend offer no monetary support whatever when working with diaspora groups, although the latter are almost always volunteering their time and paying their own way. • Virtually all diaspora efforts face challenges in maintaining levels of support even for the most effective efforts underway, and sustainability is an enduring problem. Insofar as donors can step in to buttress projects that have grown beyond the capacity of migrant funds to maintain, it will be money well spent. • Major donors should establish a diaspora focal point, charged to collaborate with the diaspora group. Several governments in countries where diaspora contributions are important have designated focal points to work with the diaspora and facilitate their efforts. It would serve a similarly useful purpose in countries were diaspora groups are living if there are focal points charged to liaise with these groups to mutual advantage.


Migration, Development and Social Services

REFERENCES Agunias, Dovelyn Rannveg 2006, Remittances and Development: Trends Impacts and Policy Options, A Review of the Literature, Washington DC, Migration Policy Institute. Al-Ali, Nadje, Richard Black and Khalid Koser 1999, “Mobilisation and Participation of Transnational Exile Communities in Post Conflict Reconstruction,” ESRC Transnational Communities Research Programme Brett, John and Santiago Sedaca 2004, “Collective Remittances for Community Development,” Chapter 2, Diasporas, Emigres and Development: Economic Linkages and Programmatic Responses, Carana Corporation for USAID. Cheran, R. 2003, “Diaspora Circulation and Transnationalism as Agents for Change in the Post Conflict zones of Sri Lanka,” Report, Berghof Research Center for Conflict Management, Berlin. Council of the European Union, September 2005, COM (2005) 390, Final. “Communication from the Commission on Migration and Development: Some Concrete Orientations,” Brussels. Fagen, Patricia Weiss with Micah N. Bump 2005 Remittances in Conflict and Crises: How Remittances Sustain Livelihoods in War, Crises, and Transitions to Peace. International Peace Academy Policy Paper, New York. Fagen, Patricia Weiss, et. al. Haitian Diaspora Associations and their Investments in Basic Social Services in Haiti, Inter American Development Bank, Washington DC 2009. Global Forum on Migration and Development, Background Paper (for Working Groups on diaspora and development) Brussels 9-11 July 2007. nd+paper+2+4+EN_1.pdf ) GTZ 2006, Economic Development and Employment Division, “Egyptian, Afghan, and Serbian Diaspora Communities in Germany: How do they Contribute to Their Country of Origin?” de/dokumente/en-diaspora-communities-germany-2006.pdf Hammond, Laura, 2007, “Obliged to Give: Remittances and the Maintenance of Transnational Networks between Somalis ‘at home’ and Abroad,” London Migration Research Group, London School of Economics. Forthcoming 2008 in François Crépeau, Delphine Nakache, Idil Atak, La dynamique. complexe des migrations internationales, Montreal: Presses de l’Université de Montréal. Hayrapetyan, Susanna and Ara Khanjian, “Health Care in Armenia: Challenges and Prospects,” Paper prepared for the Second International AIPRG Conference on Armenia: Challenges of Sustainable Development, January 17-18, 2004. Horst, Cindy, “The Transnational Political Engagements of Refugees: Remittance The Transnational Political Engagements of Refugees: Remittance Sending Practices amongst Somalis in Norway”, Conflict, Security and Development 8(3): 31–339, 2008. Publication/?oid=24551514 . Kent, Randolph and Karin Von Hippel with Mark Bradbury 2004, Social Facilitation, Development, and the diaspora: Support for Sustainable Health Services in Somalia, Kings College, London. Labaki, Boutros 2006, “The Role of Transnational Communities in Fostering Development in Countries of Origin: The Case of Lebanon,” United Nations ECOSOC, E/ESCWA/SDD/2006/WG.1.Expert Group Meeting on International Migration and Development in the Arab Region: Challenges and Opportunities, Beirut, May 2006.


Patricia Weiss Fagen

Lindley, Anna 2005 “Influence of Remittances and Diaspora Donations on Education in Somalia,” Conference Paper, World Bank. Lindley, Anna. (2006) The dynamics and effects of remittances in insecure settings: the Somali case, DPhil Thesis, Department of International Development, University of Oxford. Lindley, Anna. (2007) Remittances in Fragile Settings: A Somali Case Study, Households in Conflict Network Working Paper No. 27. Brighton: University of Sussex. Macollvie, Jean-Francois 2004, “The French Disconnection: Haitians Struggle to make their Mark in Paris,” Haitian Times New York, June 8 2004. Orozco, Manuel and Katherine Welle 2000. “Hometown Associations and Development: A look at Ownerships, Sustainability, Correspondence, and Replicability,” Inter American Dialogue Working Paper. Washington DC. Orozco, Manuel, “Diasporas, Philanthropy and Hometown Associations: The Central American Experience,” Inter American Dialogue publications, March 22, 2006, display.cfm?ID=579 . Orozco, Manuel, et al. July 2005, Transnational Engagement, Remittances and Their Relationship to Development in Latin America and The Caribbean, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Report to the Rockefeller Foundation. Suhrke, Astri, Kristian Berg Harpviken and Arne Strand, 2004 Conflictual Peacebuilding: Two Years After Bonn. Prepared for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway. Van Hear, Nicholas,June 2003, “Refugee Diasporas, Remittances, Development, and Conflict” Migration Information Source. Washington DC. World Bank International Monetary Fund, Afghanistan National Development Strategy: A Strategy for Security, Governance, economic Growth and Poverty Reduction 2008. pubs/ft/scr/2008/cr08153.pdf World Bank, International Monetary Fund. Haiti Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, International Monetary Fund Country Report, 8/115 March 2008 Zinzer, Wolfram, September 2004, Diaspora Communities and Civil Conflict Transformation,” Berghof Occasional Papers, No 26, Berghof Research Center for Conflict Management, Berlin.


Migration, Development and Social Services

NOTES 1 2 3

4 5 6 7 8


( ) A Background paper for the Forum, 9-11, 2007 elaborated ways that governments in home countries could enhance and encourage diaspora contributions. ISIM’s research is documenting the organizational patterns, investments, achievements, and setbacks experienced by Haitian diaspora organizations in their effort to support health and educational services in that country. It will add significantly to understandings not only about Haiti but about similar diaspora situations. The paper, Giving Back to Haiti, Diaspora Associations and their Investments in Basic Social Services was contracted by the Inter American Development Bank and will be forthcoming in early 2009. Ibid The Duvaliers were in power from 1957 to 1986. Haiti’s most recent Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper noted that while poverty had not been reduced, the fact of diaspora contributions had meant concrete assistance for the population March 2008 The Afghanistan National Development Strategy Paper for 2008 suggests the creation of a Diaspora Fund to facilitate Diaspora contributions.

Transatlantic Perspectives on Migration Policy Brief Series The Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) is part of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and affiliated with the Law Center at Georgetown University. ISIM brings the best social science, legal and policy expertise to the complex and controversial issues raised by international migration. Staffed by leading experts on immigration and refugee policy, the Institute draws upon the resources of Georgetown University faculty working on international migration and related issues on the main campus and in the law center.

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Migration, Development, Social Services - Fagen  

This policy brief focuses on a specific aspect of the migration- development nexus: the role played by migrants and diaspora groups in suppo...

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