Press Release —Local April 30, 2021

The Role of Diaspora in Leveraging Migration Benefits for Development

Dr Ubah Farah Ahmed, a pediatrician who joined MIDA in 2020, at Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu in January 2021

Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) is a capacity-building programme implemented by the IOM, to strengthen institutional capacities of African governments to manage and realize their development goals through the transfer of knowledge, relevant skills and financial resources of African diaspora members. Specialists from the diaspora are recruited and deployed to state institutions where their skills contribute to the strengthening of capacity while also transferring their knowledge to young local professionals through a mentorship programme. The MIDA initiative started in Somalia in 2008 with the first diaspora experts deployed in 2009. The overall objective of the MIDA programme in Somalia is to strengthen the capacity of state institutions in key sectors in order to contribute towards achieving the goals stipulated in the National Development Plan of Somalia aligned to the Global Compact on Migration and the 2030 Development Agenda.

To date, close to 500 individuals have returned to Somalia through MIDA and provided support in a wide range of areas, including education, health, public finance, migrants' rights, justice and the rule of law, and many others. One example is Dr Ubah Farah Ahmed, a pediatrician who joined MIDA in 2020 with the intention of sharing her skills in pediatrics with other health care professionals. “I noticed that there was an immense hunger for my specialty and knowledge,” she says. “My dream is to contribute to reducing the neonatal deaths in Somalia.”    There are about 6,000 health workers in the country, according to Somalia’s National Development Plan 2020 – 2024. Many of them have little experience in dealing with critical cases due to the lack of training institutions and support programmes. Dr Ubah remembers with pride part of her first week on the programme, when she started to train junior doctors on neonatal best practices: “Before, when infants were in an emergency situation, the doctor would take five or 10 minutes to arrive because they were in another area of the hospital. Now a doctor is always available right when a mother gives birth.” The country’s health system had many setbacks over the past 30 years and Somalis are excited to see more diaspora professionals like Dr Ubah coming back to support them bring the country back together. According to Fartun Sharif Ahmed, head of Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu, “without her, we wouldn’t be able to provide this quality service quality. Dr Ubah helps us with anything the hospital requires, not only for the pediatric unit but with anything that will help progress the hospital”.

To learn more about Dr Ubah Ahmed’s story, you can visit this link and watch the video below:

Recognizing the important role of diaspora in leveraging migration benefits for development, the IOM Development Fund is further contributing to diaspora engagement in Somalia. For instance, through the project “Enhancing Diaspora Engagement and its Contribution to the National Development Plan in Somalia” financed in 2020, the Fund is seeking to strengthen the capacity of the Government of Somalia to effectively and strategically engage with the Somalia diaspora, in alignment with national and global frameworks, ensuring policy coherence and integrated migration governance. More specifically, the project will include strategic communications toolkits for Somali diplomats and ambassadors, connectors between the Government and diaspora communities and an analysis on the female diaspora's contribution to development in Somalia.

To learn more about the IOM MIDA programme and/or other experts and development initiatives please contact or visit the MIDA website: