Diasporas Take the Lead in Addressing Humanitarian Gaps in COVID-19 Recovery, Reach 1.5 Million People in Lebanon, Tunisia and Zimbabwe

Genesis Entrepreneurship Trust (GET) Trainees after practical business site training in Harare, Zimbabwe © IOM 2022/Fadzai NYAMANDE-PANGETI

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has partnered with select diaspora organizations operating in Lebanon, Tunisia and Zimbabwe to implement a series of innovative projects in areas significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Collectively, these projects have reached upwards of 1.5 million people within the last six months.

“As development actors, diaspora organizations are uniquely positioned to identify the most vulnerable and most in-need for interventions both geographically and within their communities. Diasporas remain connected to their countries of origin or heritage and have notably been willing and able to take more physical and financial risks than other actors,” said Galina Dzesiatava, the project manager in IOM’s Diaspora Engagement Unit in Washington, D.C.

Implemented with funding from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the diaspora-led activities have included media literacy training, construction of school classrooms, a vaccination campaign for rural areas, and youth development. The interventions target both local and migrant and refugee populations.

The six participating diaspora organizations were selected from a call for expressions of interest launched in early 2022. The implementing partners include the Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World, the Syrian American Medical Society, Pontes Ricerche e Interventi, Fédération des Tunisiens pour une Citoyenneté des deux Rives, Citizens Initiative and Genesis Entrepreneurship Trust. These partners operate from the United States, Italy, France, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The initiative’s whole-of-society approach has brought together numerous actors, including regional and in-country stakeholders, to ensure the success and sustainability of the interventions. A celebratory event closing out the project will be held on Wednesday, 25 January in Tunis, Tunisia.

Following the event, IOM will publish a report to help enhance formal coordination between institutional humanitarian actors and diaspora organizations engaged in humanitarian assistance.

For more information, please contact Ljubica Salamic at IOM Washington DC, Email: or visit the project’s web page.

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities