Diaspora Programme

Diaspora actors make vital contributions to humanitarian assistance, recovery and development in their countries of origin, and often form a crucial part of communities’ resilience strategies and first response measures, with an ability to quickly mobilize assistance, channel information, and advocate in times of crisis. Recognising their role as an integral part of the international aid system, Danish Refugee Council’s Diaspora Programme has – since 2010 – been partnering with diasporas to strengthen their role in order to improve the overall impact of relief, rehabilitation and development efforts.

The work of the Diaspora Programme supports Danish Refugee Council’s conviction that displaced people are a resource for both countries of origin and destination, and responds to a growing body of evidence calling for a more inclusive humanitarian system that integrates ‘non-traditional actors’ to enhance the effectiveness of the humanitarian response.

The Diaspora Programme operates across multiple thematic areas:

  • Providing advocacy, coordination and capacity building that improves diaspora emergency and development response capacity and fosters coordination with the formal humanitarian system
    • Our work has facilitated a visible contribution of diasporas to the WHS and has fostered a growing interest and engagement with other key actors such as OCHA and the IASC. We have come to represent a go-to programme that is widely recognized and whose knowledge and networks are solicited by a variety of actors at operational, policy and research level.
  • Delivering direct support to diaspora organisations in Denmark (funding and technical assistance) to implement humanitarian and development-focused projects in countries of origin
    • Since 2010 we have funded and supported 40 projects across Somalia and Afghanistan, mainly within the sectors of community infrastructure and services, education, health, WASH, income generation and food security.
  • Working collaboratively with other organisations to support constructive diaspora engagement in countries of origin.
    • The Diaspora Programme is in consultation with various organisations engaging with diaspora across the globe. DRC has also been the driving force behind the creation of the DiaGram network linking organisations across Europe that work with issues relating to facilitating and enhancing diaspora engagement. Jointly, DiaGram offers vast experience across different European contexts, and we continue to work towards making that experience and knowledge available to link policy with practice and research with experience.
  • Offering specialist support to DRC field operations to promote effective and relevant diaspora-programming.
  • Exploring and supporting DRC engagement with diaspora within emerging fields such as durable solutions to displacement and mixed migration.
    • Jointly with entities such as the RMMS in Nairobi and DRC’s Mixed Migration team in the Afghanistan region, we have engaged in research on diaspora perceptions of migration trends, and their current and potential role in them.
  • Developing and disseminating evidence and knowledge on diaspora engagement, contributing to ensuring relevance and performance of programmes and policies that seek to promote diaspora engagement.
    • The Diaspora Programme has conducted research on several diaspora-related topics, spanning from case studies of the Somali diaspora response to the drought in 2016 to evaluations of diaspora potentials in Mali and diaspora perceptions of migration trends. We have shared that knowledge at several international seminars, workshop and conferences, and have hosted two international conferences in Copenhagen.