Migration and Development Initiatives

Since 2001 with the implementation of the MIDA Great Lakes programme (with diasporas of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda) and since 2012 with the MEDMA project (diaspora of Morocco), the IOM CO Belgium has gained considerable experience in working with diaspora communities residing in Belgium (and in neighboring countries) in assisting them in being key players and an undeniable asset in the development of their countries of origin.

As agreed with the Belgian Development Cooperation, IOM CO Belgium, building on previous expertise, has developed a project to provide further practical support to diaspora engagement and to support both diaspora and States. The prioritization of diaspora communities and specific activities is to be done in coordination with requests made by IOM Member States through the IOM Development Fund and in connection with the Belgian Development Cooperation’s list of priority countries.

On one hand, the project contributes to improving the knowledge on diaspora in Belgium and Europe (mapping and outreach to diaspora communities) and providing technical and logistical support to diaspora activities implemented by IOM offices in countries of origin in coordination with specific national entities. On the other hand, the project supports specific governments and selected programmes in the countries of origin with expertise, liaison assistance and operational assistance in coordination with the IOM offices in the countries of origin.

The project also includes activities to promote dialogue and stakeholders’ mobilization in Belgium (and Europe) on diaspora engagement through research and cooperation with the civil society, universities and business organizations. A final aspect of the project is the support to specific small scale innovative projects by diaspora associations in Belgium.

Burkina Faso:

Supporting sustainable land management and improving people’s livelihood in the area of Béguédo through incentive mechanisms and the inclusion of the diaspora

The Centre-Est region in Burkina Faso (in red on the map) has one of the highest rates of departure in the country. While land degradation isn’t the underlining cause of this migration, triggering factors include agronomical reasons such as the shortage of agricultural lands, low crop yields and the bank erosion of the river Nakmabé.

Through a joint funding from the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Belgian Development Cooperation, IOM is implementing a project to improve the living conditions of the population in the Centre-Est region by strengthening their productive capacities and access to basic social services (drinking water and sanitation). The improvement of livelihoods will also be achieved through the involvement of the Burkinabe diaspora in Belgium and in Italy (particularly in the Emilio region) who will assist in identifying suitable and innovative techniques for sustainable land management.



Strengthen the involvement of the Cameroonian diaspora of France and Belgium in the health and education sectors in Cameroon

Implemented through the IOM Development Fund, this project aims to reinforce the capacities of the Government of Cameroon for the mobilization of its diaspora to support the development of their country of origin in the fields of health and higher education.

On the one hand, key partner ministries (Foreign Affairs - Directorate of Cameroonians Abroad, Health and Higher Education) are improving their knowledge on Migration and Development (and on the inclusion of diaspora in the development of Cameroon) through trainings. Additionnally, a roadmap for the development of a national strategy on mobilisation of diaspora is underway.

On the other hand, temporary assignments of diaspora professionals (gastroenterologist, anesthetist, gynecologist, pediatrician and engineers) improve the quality of services delivered by selected national institutions (the Dominican Hospital Center of Saint Martin de Porres in Yaoundé and the National Advanced Polytechnic Schools of the University of Yaoundé I).



Promote the socio-economical engagement of the Guinean diaspora in Guinea

In partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Guineans Abroad, the project’s objectives are twofold:

- support the Ministry in developing a roadmap for the elaboration of a national migration strategy. A technical committee to work on this road map has been set up and the Ministry will benefit from targeted trainings on migration and development related aspects.

- support the Guinean diaspora in Belgium to further engage in the development of their country of origin. Apart from mapping and creating an interactive database of the Guinean diaspora in Belgium, studies will be done in selected zones of Guinea to identify the priority needs in the sectors of health, education and private investments (the latter to be done in coordination with the Guinean Agency to Promote Private Investment). This will allow to better guide the diaspora’s involvement and support local development projects.