Wednesday, 30 May 2012 14:15
Finnish Minister for International Development, Ms. Heidi Hautala, visited Kenya from 24 to 28 March 2012. During her trip, she had a chance to meet briefly with the MIDA FINNSOM Health project participants gathered in Nairobi for a three day workshop on Migration and Development.
The workshop brought together participants of various IOM MIDA projects in order to jointly review progress made, identify good practices and areas of improvements. Workshop participants also looked at processes that need to be standardised across different IOM MIDA programs, including the MIDA FINNSOM Health project.
The side meeting started with welcoming words and a short briefing by MIDA FINNSOM staff from IOM Helsinki (Anna Aguilera-Pesä and Saed Guled). The discussion in Nairobi focused on the feedback from the field.
MIDA FINNSOM participants underlined the importance of the MIDA FINNSOM project. Diaspora professionals have approached IOM regarding participating in these types of projects, showing willingness to go back and help their native country incl. South/Central Somalia. Participants described themselves as”the perfect bridge” – if local Somalis do not have the necessary skills and expertise, and external organizations are lacking language and cultural competencies, the diaspora is a key resource that can fill this gap. Among the most serious constraints faced by voluntary experts in the field is the lack of medical tools in the host institutions. MIDA FINNSOM has limited resources for purchasing equipment, and active mobilization efforts are needed to secure more donations that can benefit the work of project participants.
Minister Hautala noted that the contribution of the diaspora is an important link in the development of their country of origin. At this meeting with the voluntary experts, she asked the possibility of IOM expanding the current this project to other sectors. This possibility will be raised between IOM and diaspora professionals based in Finland. Also cooperation in the planning of the follow-up to the current MIDA project was discussed. Finnish Ambassador to Nairobi, Ms. Sofie From-Emmesberg accompanied Minister Hautala during this discussion.
In conclusion, the participants in the MIDA-Somalia meeting indicated three key policy priorities for an Action Plan.
The policy priorities identified are:
- Setting up more MIDA capacity building programmes; it is worth mentioning that all participants expressed their will to participate in MIDA activities and suggested IOM’s support for expanding the initial phase of the project to other sectors such as the educational sector and in the promotion of women's rights), and in other areas that would be useful in the country.
- Opening further negotiations among the diaspora and stakeholders in Somalia on forms of cooperation and of joint development initiatives and activities. Participants felt strongly that development in Somalia must be driven by the demands of the Somali society and international development efforts must include the qualified diaspora.
- Setting up a mechanism that facilitates the exchange of good practices in the form of MIDA programs. To mobilize and engage diaspora members in development initiatives, actions are needed by IOM and other stakeholders to develop linkages between the diaspora members and their countries of origin.