6 Steps to Getting Engaged
Do you want to give back but don't know where to start? Is there a cause you feel passionate about but don't feel like you can make a difference? Don't worry. You're not alone. Many of us have faced these same dilemmas and doubts when we first consider engaging as development actors but the important thing is to start and be willing to learn along the way and IOM's Diaspora Quick Start Guide is just the thing to help you overcome that initial uncertainty and start you on your way to making a real impact on peoples lives.
In an effort to support young members of transnational communities the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has created a downloadable and sharable Quick Start Guide for Diaspora Engagement, which is available on iDiaspora here: https://idiaspora.org/resources/iom-diaspora-quick-start-guide. If you are a member of a diaspora community and you want to engage in the development of your country or community of origin this one pager will guide you through six steps to get your started as a transnational development actor. While the Quick Start Guide gives specific tips and links for each step we'll give you a general overview to get you thinking:
- Get Inspired: Figure out what you are passionate about, what skills and/or resources you can contribute, and how these align with the needs of the communities back home you want to support. Listen to what they need to make sure your efforts are directed where they will have the greatest benefit.
- Learn: Research the issues your passionate about to see what people are already doing, what has been tried, what worked and what didn't. The more you know the better able you will be to make an impact.
- Connect: They say it takes a village to raise a child and creating positive change is no different. Facing a daunting issue by yourself can seem impossible but when you have likeminded people with you on your journey the path is much easier. So talk to groups and individuals in order to meet other activists.
- Contribute: Take that most important step of taking action, no matter how big or how small. Join a group that is addressing your cause or start an initiative of your own. It may seem small to you but small acts of kindness can mean a lot to those who are in despair and they can inspire others to take act and snowball to make huge impacts.
- Listen and Reflect: Perhaps one of the most often forgotten parts of engaging in development is trying to understand how your actions have affected others, both in terms of intended and unintended results. To understand this you need to listen to others colleagues, peers, but most of all those your trying to help and think about what you have learned in order to improve.
- Share: No matter have the results of your first action might have been, the fact that you took action can already serve to inspire others and raise awareness about your cause and the needs of your friends and family back home. Get the word out through videos, photos, and stories that can reach thousands through your social media and offline networks.
These steps may seem like common sense, and they are, but somehow it helps to demystify the process by breaking it down in small digestible bits to be able to focus on one at a time. The Quick Start Guide was produced under the project Look Forward and Give back that engaged Malagasy youth to support community development in their home country but also build's on IOM's extensive experience supporting diaspora enagagement around the world from facilitating knowledge transfer to lowering remittance costs and promoting trade and investment. You can find out more about the project and the stories of the youth that participated in it here: https://lookforwardgiveback.iom.int/.