ICS Partners With USAID & CUSO International To Enhance Diaspora Communities

Launches Program to Promote Engagement between Diasporas & Countries of Origin

Washington, DC – May 21, 2013 –The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) has been selected as a partner in a new program launched by Cuso International and USAID called the Diasporas for Development Initiative (DfD). The Diasporas for Development Initiative is a two year pilot program that supports the engagement of the U.S. Diaspora in economic and social development projects in their countries of ancestry through volunteering.  

As part of the Initiative, Cuso International is initiating partnerships with U.S.-based Diaspora organizations to promote sustainable linkages between Diaspora organizations in the U.S. and organizations and institutions in countries of ancestry. The goal is to facilitate the recruitment and placement of, initially, 40 skilled professionals from the Diaspora who will volunteer in five countries: the Philippines, Ethiopia, Kenya, Jamaica, and Peru. ICS has been selected as the official Diaspora partner organization for Jamaica.    

Volunteers will maintain relationships with partner organizations abroad through remote support and 'e-mentoring.' An additional 60 volunteers will support development projects abroad without leaving the U.S. through "e-volunteering." Throughout the 2 year pilot program, ICS and Cuso International will collaborate to publicize and support the recruitment of volunteers from within the Jamaican Diaspora to participate in development projects in Jamaica and to e-volunteer. 

The Diasporas for Development Initiative is a unique platform for encouraging greater engagement of members of the Diaspora in the development of their countries of ancestry. This approach recognizes the skills, resources, connections and other assets that Diasporas possess and the benefit of mobilization to address global development challenges. For many countries of origin, these challenges include "brain drain," scarcities in public and private investment, as well as gaps in information, communication and technology which contribute to poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.

Through the Diasporas for Development Initiative, skilled volunteers from the Diaspora will engage in development projects that build and enhance employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in their countries of ancestry. The work of the volunteers, who will serve as unofficial ambassadors from their Diaspora community, will strengthen linkages between U.S.-based Diaspora and government and civil society partners in the five target countries.  

After completing an extensive Diaspora mapping exercise, Cuso International is in the process of vetting and selecting Diaspora partner organizations, one for each target country of the pilot program, to become an official program partner.  Cuso International will strengthen these Diaspora organizations and improve their efficiency in the area of organizational development and business strategy. 

As part of the Diasporas for Development Initiative, ICS is excited about the opportunity it presents to develop new linkages to a variety of stakeholders. This is a unique partnership that helps ICS, which is on the edge of its 20-year anniversary, to encourage further engagement of Diasporas in development.

For further information about the Diasporas for Development Initiative or to volunteer please visit Cuso International's website: http://cusointernational.org/diasporas-for-development.

ICS Diasporas for Development Initiative Contacts:

Dr. Claire Nelson – President and Founder of the Institute of Caribbean Studies

Mr. Patrick Beckford – Board Member and Program Advisor for the Diasporas for Development Initiative

Ms. Lisa Soares – Project Manager for ICS' Diasporas for Development Initiative & Press Contact

About Institute of Caribbean Studies

ICS -1The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization established in 1993 dedicated to education, advocacy and action on issues that impact on Caribbean Americans.

The Institute provides a forum for the public and private sector, the non-government organization community, scholars and others interested in promoting a dialogue and assist in the execution of actions that result from that dialogue.

Contact: Lisa K. Soares
Email: icsdfd.ls@gmail.com

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