The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that Cuso International will be awarded funding to support the recruitment of American professionals from diaspora communities to volunteer overseas to combat poverty.
Speaking at the meeting of the Global Diaspora Forum in Washington DC, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the new “Diasporas for Development” partnership with Cuso International and Accenture USA, as part of a broader initiative to engage American diaspora to combat poverty overseas.
The Diasporas for Development project, costing just over $1 million, will be co-funded by Accenture U.S.A. and USAID. Skilled professionals are to be recruited over the next three years from American diaspora communities.
Cuso International recruits volunteers from the US as well as Canada, and offers volunteering opportunities to diaspora communities in North America. The organization wants to help people offer their skills in their countries of birth or heritage.
USAID and Accenture recognize this approach as an important contribution to development, and are supporting Cuso’s diaspora work.
“We are proud to partner with Accenture and Cuso International to bring skilled diaspora volunteers back to their countries of origin in an effort to catalyze economic development and social change,” stated Dr. Maura O’Neill, Chief Innovation Counselor and Director of the Office of Innovation and Development Alliances at USAID. “Through this partnership, we hope to start addressing the pervasive ‘brain drain’ affecting many developing countries by encouraging diaspora volunteerism to help build the capacity of local organizations on the ground.”
Diaspora volunteering has been a key part of Cuso International’s program in Canada for a number of years. “We believe it’s a cornerstone of an innovative, impactful and sustainable 21st century volunteering movement," says Derek Evans, Executive Director of Cuso International. "And we know it is effective – diaspora volunteers bring not just professional skills, but also a deep cultural understanding and commitment to their development work.”
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