REPORT LAUNCH: Diaspora Volunteers and International Development: an Autoethnographic Research Project

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Ottawa, November 19, 2013 – We are pleased to present AHEAD’slatest study, an autoethnographic research on the role and impact of diaspora volunteers in international development.

Focusing on Ethiopia and Guyana as case studies, and Canada as the hostland, the report investigates the relevance of the selection, training, deployment and monitoring of diaspora volunteers to the context and needs of volunteer-hosting countries and institutions with a view to strengthening and improving these processes.

The study was undertaken by Solomon Belay Faris (PhD) and grew out of his personal experiences as a diaspora volunteer in an earlier pilot project carried out by AHEAD, Cuso International, VSO Ethiopia and the Alliance for Brain Gain and Innovative Development (ABIDE) involving the placement of Ethiopian-Canadian diaspora professionals to support capacity development in selected institutions in Ethiopia.

In this work, Solomon engages diaspora volunteer sending and hosting organizations, participant communities and diaspora volunteers themselves in storytelling regarding the meaning of development, their interaction with each other, the unique role and contributions of diaspora volunteers, the volunteer journey (from recruitment, to training, deployment and return), the costs involved and the potential for positive impact to the hostland. The stories presented and their analyses indicate that there are sufficient examples and models to ascertain the unique contributions of the diaspora volunteers to international development.

We are excited to share our findings with you and are certain that you will find the report’s innovative and personal presentation quite engaging. We would also be pleased to have you join us at our report launch events in Montreal (November 24), Ottawa (November 30) or Toronto (December 5). Details and registration information are available at

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