We, DEMAC - Diaspora Emergency Action & Coordination, are a global initiative who work for a deeper understanding of diasporas as humanitarian actors and strive for better coordination between diaspora organizations and the humanitarian system.
Diaspora organizations are multi-sectoral, fast responding actors who work transnationally, including in countries facing humanitarian crises.
Diaspora organizations are alerted by communities in real-time, and collect and disperse funds rapidly. This ensures that they are a key factor in unlocking the first responses in crisis settings. In hard-to-reach places where access may be an issue, diaspora groups have a unique advantage due to their local connections.
WHY HUMANITARIAN COORDINATION?
Diasporas are part of a broader humanitarian ecosystem to play a key role in humanitarian responses and provide vital support to communities in countries of origin.
In light of their transnational identity and close local ties, diaspora organizations are part of and playing a central role in localization. Localization aims to strengthen the resilience of local communities and to support local and national responders on the front line.
Diaspora organizations are heterogeneous – they have different capacities, values and approaches – and can as part of a broader humanitarian community play a valuable and agile role in humanitarian responses.
However, assistance provided by diaspora organizations and the institutional humanitarian actors often follow parallel tracks, resulting in a lack of mutual understanding and recognition, and thus a lack of coordination and collaboration that would be of benefit to the overall response.
Building on expertise gained since its inception in 2015, DEMAC has developed as a one-stop-shop for enhancing mutual knowledge and coordination between diaspora humanitarian actors and the international humanitarian system.
Building on these experiences and the past and present research, we will develop an operational framework for diaspora and humanitarian actors, to improve future responses to humanitarian emergencies.
Complementing these three aims, we will develop guidelines, tools and resources in support of diaspora emergency engagement, with a view to remain prepared to support diaspora organizations’ engagement in new emergency responses and facilitate coordination among responding diaspora organizations and between diaspora organizations and the humanitarian system.
We are currently working with five selected emergency-prone focus countries, while at the same time remaining prepared to engage with and support diaspora from additional countries should a humanitarian crisis unfold in their country of origin.
The DEMAC Strategic Advisory Board is designed to provide strategic direction and to serve as DEMAC’s sounding board and ambassadors, providing strategic guidance and expertise as well as contributing to its visibility and recognition. Members of the Board will also act as the focal point and operational lead within their agencies to facilitate the work of DEMAC.