Outreach in the UK, US & Nordic Countries

MIDA presentation in Minneapolis, USA

IOM, under its Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA), and UNDP, under its Somalia Institutional Development Project (SIDP), have been working with the Transitional Federal Government and the current Government since 2009 to build the capacity of the Government institutions. The increasing number of requests from the Government required an IOM campaign to reconnect with the Somali diaspora in key constituencies in North America and Northern Europe. To that end, IOM Somalia sent its Chief of Mission and the MIDA Program Manager on an outreach tour. IOM selected six countries (Canada, U.S., UK, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark) and seven cities where we believe the vast majority of the Somali diaspora outside of Africa are concentrated.

During the many discussions, we heard some important ideas from Somali diaspora. One participant had a great idea of preventing animals from starving during the dry seasons. He wants to bring a special hay that grows in extreme climate to plant in Somalia. This hay is low maintenance and can be grown at low costs. According to him, this venture would not need a large sum of start-up capital and can be rolled out fairly quickly and effectively. Most of the business ideas we heard from the Somali diaspora fall between $50,000 and $100,000. The potential impacts of Somalis returning to establish business could be great.

This tour opened our eyes to the Somali youth in the diaspora. This vibrant untapped resource is what Somalia needs to develop. The international community and the Somali Government need to engage the Somali youth in the diaspora to return the country of their mothers and fathers to help rebuild it.

For any questions and comments, send email to questsmida@iom.int