Skip to main content

Overseas Aid

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the role of diaspora communities in the UK in helping to alleviate poverty in the developing world; and what steps his Department is taking to co-ordinate contributions from these communities. (175289)

DFID recognises the contribution that diaspora communities in the UK can make to poverty alleviation. This recognition is reflected in DFID’s first White Paper, and more recently in its migration and development policy paper, “Moving out of poverty: Making Migration work for poor people”.

To enhance this contribution we have engaged with diaspora communities in several ways. For example, we have consulted diaspora communities when developing country assistance plans and relevant policies. We have also facilitated the transfer of formal remittances by supporting the creation of the “” website and the creation of the UK remittances taskforce. These seek to reduce remittance transfer costs and tackle barriers to remittance flows from diaspora communities to their countries of origin.

Since 2003, DFID has sought to help diaspora organisations co-ordinate their contribution to international development by supporting the formation of the network organisation, Connections For Development (CfD) through a strategic grant agreement (SGA) - value approximately £980,000. CfD engages in the development of policy and country programmes, as well as building awareness and understanding of development in the UK.

In 2006 DFID announced a new volunteering initiative designed to engage diaspora communities in development. DFID will launch a new £3 million diaspora volunteering scheme in early 2008. The objective of the programme is to give people from these communities the opportunity to make a personal contribution to development and pass on their learning through a range of development awareness activities on return to the UK.