Tapping Our Trans-Local Potential for Change

Archive for the ‘Diaspora in Development’ Category

Lessons in Diaspora Approaches to Development from a Collaborative Learning Workshop

Workshop participants share insights with each other in a discussion circle. Photo: Jean Bruno Nkondi.

This post was written by Joanna Ashworth, Researcher in the Centre for Sustainable Community Development and Co-Director of Engaging Diaspora in Development.

We just finished a five-month workshop series with 25 diaspora leaders. Here is a glimpse into what we learned together.

1. Take time to grow a learning community

One day a month for five months we gathered with SFU’s project directors, advisors and 25 diaspora leaders in a workshop series. This gave us the chance to network with fellow diaspora involved in similar development work. We learned so much from hearing about the work people are doing and about how we might collaborate with them. We also wanted to gain more skills and knowledge on how to develop our projects. There was good chemistry between people—we all feel like family now.

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Finding My Way Back Home

This post was written by Umeeda Umedaly Switlo, who has worked with CUSO-VSO for nearly four years as the Public Engagement Officer for the Western Region of Canada and the US.

I decided to work with CUSO to affect change and, being from Uganda, I really had a deep connection to that region. My late husband had passed away from HIV/AIDS and that disease was taking a real toll on the people around the world. I wanted to make a difference and lead a purposeful life.

At first opportunity, I travelled to Uganda on a communications assignment for CUSO on my holidays. I took my daughter Nareena with me and was hoping she would make some connection to Africa. I had left the country as a refugee in 1972. We had lost everything and my family was scattered around the world. This event changed my life but I knew somehow that I wanted to see Uganda again.

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The Dialogue Series: What have we learned so far?

This post was written by Chloë Straw, Project Research Assistant.

As we gear up for our fourth in a series of five public dialogues, we wanted to take a look back at some of the things we’ve learned so far through the Engaging Diaspora for Development Project. A guiding theme for us, which has both come out of and reinforced the importance of public dialogue, has been the power of personal narrative in evoking change. The following are some of the lessons we’ve learned through your stories.

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Vancouver’s diasporas promote development around the world

This post was written by Douglas Olthof, Project Researcher and MA in International Studies at Simon Fraser University.

It is an understatement to call Vancouver a diverse city. Take a ride on the Skytrain during peak hours and you are likely to overhear conversations in four or five different languages. Explore the city’s restaurants and you can sample cuisines from around the globe. Cruise the summer festival scene and you will experience cultural delights from every continent. It is undeniably the case that the cultural milieu of our city draws substance from as many regions of the world as there are seats in the UN assembly.

As residents of this pluralistic metropolis we can easily recognize the contribution that the diaspora­­ have made to our city’s development. What is less obvious, however, is the contribution that members of the diaspora make to development around the world. One of the objectives of Engaging Diaspora in Development Project is to identify and highlight diaspora involvement with international development. This effort is already turning up some remarkable stories:

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