Aid through an organised diaspora

News - 2018-03-06
The substantial financial flows to developing countries that remittances from emigrated persons give rise to are increasingly gaining recognition from larger actors in the aid sector.
Nasteho Weheliye is a strong advocator of womens rights. Graphics: Maurits Otterloo

One group that plays a crucial role for development is Somalia’s global diaspora, which sends an estimated 1,4 billion dollars back to the country every year. This by far exceeds the sum of bi- and multilateral aid that Somalia receives.

In addition to remitting financial resources, the diaspora contributes knowledge and experience of development issues. For many years, Forum Syd has been aware of the great potential, involvement and importance of the diaspora for the rebuilding of Somalia.  Therefore, we have a program through which actors from the Swedish-Somali civil society may apply for financial support for development projects. Recently, a dialogue meeting was held in Stockholm, and other open meetings will be held in Gothenburg, Malmö and Örebro in the coming week.

- I have been part of the program from the beginning and helped designing it together with Forum Syd since its start in 2009. I am here today to exchange ideas and get information about the regulations for funding. In Somalia I work to promote human rights and equality, and to combat sexual violence. Last year, we helped in bringing about the first law to address sexual offences, Abdirahim, says.

Nasteho Weheliye, who also attended the meeting in Stockholm, has been running a development project for the advancement of women’s sexual and reproductive rights for the last three years.

- The project is called “Internationella Kvinnolyftet” (roughly translated to International Women's Empowerment) and aims to promote gender equality. The advantage of aid being given through the diaspora is the fact that we have a great contextual understanding of a complex country. I am proud to be a part of helping women in Somalia. Aside from this project supported by Forum Syd, I have also started to work with fruit growing, which promotes health at the same time as it is a source of income for women.

The program has grown significantly over the years, and since 2015 Forum Syd has received 183 applications out of which 70 have been approved.

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