Leila Rispens-Noel (Programme Officer of Oxfam Novib) has worked for ten years with migrant Diasporas, thus she could give impetus from the field to the 8th Brussels Development Briefing. According to her, the role of remittances in agriculture is immense, and with effective financial and technical support and capacity-building, projects have the potential of successful upscaling.
Oxam-Novib decided to further development through migration with the help of LINKIS, a facility to support small and large projects initiated by Diaspora organisations in the Netherlands and in their countries of origin. Assistance does not only include financial and technical support, but also capacity building trainings on project management or fundraising and lobbying. So far, Oxfam-Novib supported a range of diaspora organizations from different African countries, and it has enabled migrant leaders to participate in international migration conferences. Until 2010, Oxfam-Novib strives to establish national, regional and international migrant-led networks of Diaspora organizations in order to influence policies and practices in host and home countries.
Ms. Rispens-Noel presented some of the lessons learned within Oxfam-Novib. Diaspora organizations have different levels of organizational capacities, and thus sometimes difficulties in preparing good proposals and business plans. Not all organizations have the capacities to manage large projects. She underlined that only few migrants are interested and committed in development work, which makes them even more precious. Thus, it is crucial that productive projects get the technical assistance and enabling environment they need for a successful upscale.
As concluding remark, Mrs. Rispens-Noel stressed that migrants alone cannot and should not manage development. What we need are inclusive partnerships between migrants, development agencies, governments, multilateral and international organizations and the private sector to increase effectiveness of Diaspora initiatives. “Governments have to invest in infrastructure”, she pleaded. “We cannot expect migrants to invest in agriculture without existing infrastructure. What we need is a concerted effort.”
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See more from the 11 December 2008