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Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook & Startup Guide A Practical guide for launching and managing a Diaspora Task Force – a successful tool for Diaspora engagement


Jamaica Diaspora Task Forces have added a new, proactive dynamic to Diaspora engagement. They serve as an effective way for individuals and organizations in the Diaspora and Jamaica to join forces around key goals and projects and play a more direct and proactive role in Jamaican nation building. The Diaspora Task Forces fulfill an unmet need. When operated correctly, they serve as a useful mechanism to organize quickly and achieve results in a systematic and orderly fashion without the bureaucracies that can be associated with other entities. This guide aims to provide a road map to establish, maintain, and grow a Taskforce to influence change. It is a reference/resource tool to help interested individuals and teams develop a plan of action, pave the way forward, and ultimately optimize success! The Jamaica Education Task Force (JDET) was the first to launch in 2014 and has served as a model for successive Task Forces. Additional Task Forces are now operating and follow a similar path, making progress towards their stated goals: ● ● ● ●

Agriculture Technology Crime Intervention and Prevention Immigration & Deportation Prevention

To this end, the following chapters offer a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations interested in replicating this model.


This guide was created by early leaders in the Jamaica Diaspora Task Force movement and was created for •

Anyone interested in paying it forward and giving back to Jamaica

Ministries, consuls and missions

Teaching institutions interested in diaspora engagement

International agencies


Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide



Table of Contents Ø Chapter 1: A TASK FORCE VS AN ORGANIZATION .................................................... 4 Ø Chapter 2: GETTING STARTED ................................................................................ 5 Ø Chapter 3: RECRUITING AND BUILDING YOUR TEAM ............................................... 6 Ø Chapter 4: ESTABLISHING PRIORITIES ................................................................... 7 Ø Chapter 5: CREATING PARTNERSHIPS ..................................................................... 8 Ø Chapter 6: FINANCING YOUR TASK FORCE .............................................................. 9 Ø Chapter 7: RESOURCES ........................................................................................ 10 Ø Chapter 8: CURRENT TASK FORCES ...................................................................... 11 Ø Chapter 9: CONCLUSION ...................................................................................... 12 Ø Chapter 10: ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS....................................................................... 13

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide



CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS A TASK FORCE VS AN ORGANIZATION Diaspora Task Forces have added a new, proactive dynamic to Diaspora engagement. They serve as an effective way for individuals and organizations in the Diaspora and Jamaica to organize around key goals and projects. It is a small group that exists for a very specific purpose and brings together a specific set of skills to accomplish a specific set of projects and tasks. Task Forces are by definition less administrative, it does not require 501c3 status and supports the development of many short and long term projects because the expertise is there and anyone can lead a project of their choice It facilitates global teams which means projects can start and progress from any country.



Flexible Structure

Legal Entity with Fixed Structure

Custom Leadership Model

Dictated Leadership Model

Free Open Membership

Defined Membership requirements, generally with a fee

Designed around projects

Designed around a mission

Easily Global

Limited by Regional specific entity based rules

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide




Don’t reinvent the wheel — if a group is already attempting to do this work, join them. If no such group exists, create a new Task Force.


Decide you are going to start when you are convinced that there are potential gaps to fill and challenges to address with a group of like minds. It makes sense that this need is aligned with the government's plans/initiatives. When that is the case, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) can easily make the choice to support the task force.


Identify additional co-founders who are interested in participating and recruiting others. Ideally, these are people who have different social networks from you so that you can maximize your reach.


Email your contacts and post a message on your Facebook page, on any local Facebook groups that you are a member of, and/or other social media channels you use regularly.


Invite everyone who has expressed interest to a kickoff meeting. Use this meeting to agree on the name and principles for your group, as well as the roles for leadership, mode of communication, and a strategy


Manage the meeting: Keep people focused. Other attendees may have other ideas — or may be coming to share other concerns and it is important to affirm their concerns and feelings. However, redirect the energy to ensure that the conversation stays focused on developing a group and a plan of action dedicated to the mission of the Task Force.


Agree on principles: This is your chance to finalize what the Task Force stands for.


Volunteer for roles: Figure out how to divide roles and responsibilities among your group. This can look very different but at a minimum, you probably want 1-2 people in charge of overall group coordination, as well as a designated media/social media contact. In addition to these administrative roles, ask attendees how they want to contribute.


Adopt means of communication: You need a way of reaching everyone in your group in order to coordinate actions. This can be through a Facebook group, email list or What’s App group— whatever people are most comfortable with.


Expand! Enlist your members to recruit across their networks. Ask every member to send out the same outreach emails/posts that you did.

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide




Most people are moved to take action through individual conversations. Here are some tips for having successful conversations to inspire people to take action with your group.


Get the story. What issues does the other person care about?


Imagine what’s possible. How can your group improve the situation on the ground and make an impact?


Skill set analysis, do the individuals interested have the have the necessary skills if it’s a Knowledge Network or Skills based Task Force. Keep in mind generalists are always valuable to help with the Operations of the Task Force.


Commitment and ownership. What work needs to be done that they can take on? When will you follow up?


Ask open-ended questions! People are more likely to take action when they articulate what they care about and can connect it to the action they are going to take. A good rule of thumb is to talk 30% of the time or less and listen at least 70% of the time.


Leverage your networks to find those with like minds who are passionate, committed, willing and available.

Leverage Social Media and existing Diaspora networks

Start small and grow as you go

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide




Needs Identification. Plan a fact-finding trip including discussions with key stakeholders. Ensure you have a current and accurate view of the needs on the ground. Despite your passion and commitment, as a member of the Diaspora (i.e. you have left Jamaica some time ago), it is important that you connect with the people directly impacted by the areas you hope to support.


Needs Analysis. After you have identified all the needs, (which could be a long list) the next step is to determine which of these needs are feasible given your remote location and the resources you have available via your team’s networks. Based on this analysis, divide the needs into short term (low hanging fruit) and long-term goals.


Establish a 3 to 5 year plan. Prioritize the goals you have identified in the Needs Analysis, determine what is out of scope and what is in scope. How will you structure your team and projects to meet the short and long terms goals you have identified? Ensure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). Publish this plan and circulate with your partners and stakeholders. Review it routinely to assess progress. It will be critical that you identify a project manager who will keep your initiatives on track. The Convener of the Task Force is not necessarily the project manager. It is vital to appoint a project manager to ensure the Task Force delivers on it’s stated goals.


Formalize your partners and sponsors. Talk, Talk and Talk. Convince Ministries, Agencies and the Private Sector to support the Task Forces objectives.


Execute. Make reasonable commitments, deliver on them and report on your progress to your partners and supporters. If you do not, your Task Force will lose credibility quickly.

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide



CHAPTER 5: CREATING PARTNERSHIPS Partnerships are important in Task Force development. The easy partners are the ones that are already stakeholders and are already doing tremendous amount of work in the area of choice for the task force. They will come onboard upon contact. Partners who have just recently entered the arena will have some reservation, but if the stench of the structure includes them they will join you in the capacity they choose. Partners such as non-profit groups or private sectors are sometimes the hardest to convince. That is because they already have a set way of organizing and have their set system of delivery. These potential partners need to know: •

How will they benefit?

How will they fit in?

Who are the members of the task force?

What is your role?

Who are beneficiaries etc.?

These are normal questions that --and if you have an organized structure, these types of barriers will typically breakdown. •

They don't understand what you do

They will immediately think you are stomping on their ground

They don't want competition

They don't trust you

Remain calm and focused and show how your partnership will be mutually beneficial.


Find Partners who already working in your area of focus that are supportive and open t to collaboration and will benefit from the objectives of the Task Force

Always create a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) before beginning work.

Establish a diverse group of Partners in Jamaica and the Diaspora and communicate with them regularly

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide



CHAPTER 6: FINANCING YOUR TASK FORCE Financing a Task Force might be easier than you think. However, one must adopt the "out-of-thebox" thinking to accomplish this. If you are accustomed to operating a non-profit organization, you may be a great candidate to start a task force. However, the concept of the successful task force requires you to become creative with the partnership you build with stakeholders. If your plans are developed organically then all partners will feel they have a part to play (financially and operationally) in all projects attempted. If a partner does not buy into the project, it may be that they are out of the loop and they may need to be fully engaged. This implies that partnerships that are established must be nurtured. Develop a financial plan outlining various options available to strengthen your income streams. In order to secure substantial and long term funding, sponsorship or contribution you must create a budget for your project. Investors want to see that you have thought through your idea and counted the cost. This will be used to measure your level of capabilities and scalability from year to year. Financing a project will happen when all partners are engaged, your Partners will want to see a budget. Don't think always that a project must include equipment, supplies, donation of money. Your team has skills and expertise that can be explored and donated as intellectual remittances. A workshop, seminar, training, Professional Development, are all key resources that can be used to enhance the task force, the project and our country. The team will also help to break down personal barriers and enhance special relationships among individuals and stakeholders, a component that is the greatest asset is collaboration. On the Contrary, if a financing partner does not buy into a project, it may mean that something essential is missing from your proposal. For example, a missing financial sponsor or the benefits or goals of your Task Force is not clear or sufficient. Go back to your team and make changes as required, and not be afraid to ask the financing partner for feedback. Once you get to the point of fundraising, the fiscal sponsor is used to manage funding, spending, and deposits to allow the task force to grow seamlessly. A strong task force structure will include grant writing, and partnerships at all levels.


Partner with a 501c3 who will act as your Fiscal sponsor because Task Forces do not have a legal entity structure

Ideally partner with a Diaspora non-profit organization or a general fiscal Partner

Always create a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) before beginning work.

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide






Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Diaspora Affairs Department (DAD)

Contacts, Introductions and Support Jamaica Diaspora Institute

History, Archives, Contacts, Information

Neville Ying, Jamaican Embassies and High Commissions

Regional Diaspora Support Calling All Jamaicans Blog

Free website and email for your Task Force National Education Trust

Help with Customs Clearance Task Force Playbook Team

Help getting started

Help publicizing your Task Force Power 106 Diaspora Live

Help getting the word out

Dervan Malcom

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide



CHAPTER 8: CURRENT TASK FORCES The Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force (JDET) JDET was the first established Task Force, and was born out of recommendations from the 2013 Diaspora Conference. The JDET started with seven individuals: Leo Gilling, Hansel Fletcher, Karlene Largie, Lesleyann Samuel, Akelia Lawrence Maitland, Dr. Sue (Suzanne Lysette Davis), and Joan White. JDET was established to: - Broaden the engagement of the Diaspora with Jamaica through education. It is an action oriented unit for engagement to encourage everyone in the Diaspora who wishes to give back to Jamaica and advance education, to join and offer their expertise to help our homeland - Open opportunities for collaboration with Ministries, unions, agencies, private sector, individuals and businesses both in Jamaica and in the Diaspora - Assist in capacity building through professional development training, workshops, seminars, for educations and student teachers - Upgrade the Infrastructure of early childhood schools through fundraising initiatives The Jamaica Diaspora Agriculture Task Force (JDAT) JDAT, launched in 2015 after the Biennial conference, and aims to join forces with Individuals and Organization in the Diaspora and Jamaica who have a passion for Agriculture; in order to mobilize Sustainable Farming, Organic Food, Food Security and new markets for Jamaican farmers. The Jamaica Diaspora Technology Task Force (JDTT) The Jamaica Diaspora Technology Task Force in partnership with the Palisadoes foundation is committed to supporting Jamaica as a hub for virtual software development talent and a source for virtual offshore resources for Diaspora owned tech firms and small businesses. The Jamaica Diaspora Crime Intervention and Prevention Task Force (JCIT) JCIT leverages the Diaspora network of Criminal Justice practitioners to support and key agencies in developing the best methods of dealing with and preventing every aspect of crime. The Jamaica Diaspora Immigration and Deportation Prevention Task Force (JDIDPTF) JDIDPTF assists Jamaicans in the Diaspora navigate the immigration laws to their benefit, to increase the numbers of naturalized Jamaicans, to reduce the numbers of Jamaicans deported from their host countries, and to assist in returning Jamaicans who have been wrongfully deported. Jamaica Diaspora Youth and Female Empowerment Task Force (JDYAFET) aka the Nuh Guh Deh (In Translation: “Don’t go there”) Campaign. The JDYAFET is committed to serving as a facilitator and conduit for the holistic development of children and women in Jamaica. It is currently focused on strategies and interventions to combat Female Sexual Abuse in partnership with the Eve for Life foundation in Jamaica. The Task Force has raised awareness and funds from the Diaspora community to assist in accomplishing its goals.

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide



CHAPTER 9: CONCLUSION We wrote this guide because we believe that Task Forces are an effective tool that facilitates Diaspora engagement in Jamaican nation building. The mere fact that you have made it to this last page means that are interested in giving back and paying forward to your country. It means you have a heart for the people who are in need. The children, the aged, the unemployed and the unemployable. We applaud you! If this guide has inspired, you to take action please do! Find others with like minds, look for passion, willingness, commitment. That is all it takes. Before you know it you will be helping others who really need you in our beloved country. Whatever you have to offer it will help. In Conclusion: »

The Task Force model is easily adaptable for any area of development work. The success of the Task Force model for engagement is attributable to a number of factors including: Sound leadership, the ability to successfully partner, collaborate and gain buy-in from key stakeholders as well as maintain the commitment from members of the Diaspora.


The ease at which a Task Force is established provides the underpinnings for a team to work effectively around an established and co-created set of clear and measurable goals and commitment to enhancing Jamaica’s development. This has undoubtedly enabled the Diaspora to be more visible, involved and impactful in its contribution to nation building.


We hope that you now have all the ammunition that is required to starting your own Task Force; how to recruit and build your team, how to establish partnerships, how to finance your Task Force, and how to obtain the right resources. However, should you desire to join a Task Force instead, there are many options. Choose the one that is most aligned with your passion.


We strongly urge you to marry the strategy in this guide with a broader commitment to provide a road map to establish, maintain, and grow a Taskforce to influence change. It should be used as a reference/resource tool to help with optimizing success!


We are happy to offer support to anybody interested in building upon the tactics outlined in this guide, and we hope that if you find it useful or put any of the tactics described above into action, you will let us know how it goes.


This Guide will be a living document and always a work in progress that will be updated over time. Please provide us with your feedback on how this guide has benefited you in your endeavors on starting your Task Force at: Good Luck and Walk Good!

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide



CHAPTER 10: ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks are in order to the small group who put this guide together: CO-AUTHORS »

Leo Gilling – Former Diaspora Advisory Board Member US West/Midwest and Convener, Education Task Force


Kimone Gooden – Outgoing Diaspora Advisory Board Member US West/Midwest and Convener, Agriculture Task Force


Keisha Tingling – Election Committee Chair for the US West/Midwest and President of the Jamaica Diaspora Excellence Award Foundation Shauna-Kay Cassell – Canada Regional Lead for the Agriculture Task Force and PR Secretary


Rupert Francis – Diaspora Advisory Board Member Elect for US West/Midwest and Convener Crime Intervention Task Force Tanesha Westcarr – UK Future Leader on the Diaspora Advisory Board

We are happy to offer support to anybody interested in building upon the tactics outlined in this guide. You can contact us at: As you embark on this journey we would like to leave you with some words of inspiration: ------------------

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide


Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook and Startup Guide  

Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Playbook & Startup Guide   A Practical guide for launching and managing a Diaspora Task Force – a successful to...

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