Diaspora volunteers and international development

An Autoethnographic Research Project

This research project was undertaken by Solomon Belay Faris (PhD) to document the role played by diaspora volunteers in international development as part of a series of researches done by the Association for Higher Education and Development (AHEAD). Solomon, having finished his doctoral studies in development education from the University of Toronto, immediately embarked on writing his own personal narratives as a diaspora volunteer in a pilot project carried out by AHEAD and Cuso International(from Canadian side) and VSO Ethiopia and Alliance for Brain Gain and Innovative Development (ABIDE) from Ethiopian side. This autoethnographic research engaged diaspora volunteer sending and hosting organisations, 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. Interviews and field observations were carried out in Canada, Ethiopia and Guyana. The stories presented and their analyses in the study indicate that there are sufficient examples and models to ascertain the unique contributions of the diaspora volunteers to international development. You will enjoy reading the whole report as it is written in an innovative and personal way.

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