After spending an “insightful, thought-provoking and innovative” and “hugely interesting” day at the Bond Conference and AGM, I am pleased to announce that the Diaspora Motion which was proposed by AFFORD , Seconded by Oxfam and supported by Comic Relief was passed by members at the Bond AGM.
Bond is the UK membership body for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in international development. The motion called for Bond members to actively review their ways of working in partnership with diaspora organisations with the aim of creating stronger partnerships and enabling diaspora organisations and INGOs to work together on areas of common interest. The positive contribution of UK diaspora communities in tackling poverty and inequality often receives little acknowledgement with diaspora-led organisations tending to sit on the margins of the development sector. However, recognition of our importance is growing. Established/national NGOs and communities are beginning to understand how stronger, strategic links with diaspora-led NGOs and communities could be of real benefit to both parties, but often neither party has the confidence or knowledge to take it further.
I was also one of the speakers on a session called ‘New collaborations: engaging diaspora communities’ whose aim was to encourage greater understanding of collaboration between diaspora organisations and INGOs and identify ways forward of encouraging greater and more positive collaborative working.
Using real life examples, the session explored the challenges and the mutual value and opportunities of diaspora and INGOs working together. I made a joint presentation with Natalie Duck, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Concern Worldwide who had also been Co-Chair with me on the Diaspora Working Group of the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign. The other speakers where Onyekachi Wambui, Director of Engagement & Policy, AFFORD; Naana Otoo-Oyortey MBE, Executive Director, FORWARD; Daniel Hale, Campaigns & Communications Manager, Progressio, and Ben Jackson, Chief Executive, Bond. The session was Chaired by Mark Tran from Guardian Global Development.
The prominent visibility of diaspora at the Bond conference and AGM confirmed the great strides being made in the international development sector as a whole towards positive Diaspora-INGOs synergistic collaborations.
Therefore, as the diaspora continual to push for formal recognition as partners in development in the Post-2015 Agenda, our participation and engagement at the Bond conference greatly contributes to raising our profile and voice in the wider international development sector. The passing of the Diaspora motion at the Bond AGM has added to the traction needed for the paradigm to shift. So well done to all of us for coming so far. However, there is work to be done yet!