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IOM Regional forum on labour explores inclusive development of diaspora women

Ambassador Abbey Walusimbi (L) and Ambassador Johnson Muhindo (R) at the event in Entebbe, Uganda.

The recently concluded Regional Ministerial Focus Conference in Entebbe, Uganda, organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), saw a unified delegation from Uganda’s diaspora community actively participating.

Led by Head of Diaspora Department at Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Johnny Muhindo and Ambassador Abbey Walusimbi, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, the delegation showcased Uganda’s commitment to harnessing the potential of the diaspora.

At the conference, keynote address was delivered by the Minister of State for Gender, Hon. Peace Mutuuzo, who emphasized the significance of diaspora women’s contributions and their potential, as agents of change. She emphasized the need for gender equality, empowerment, and assured of support from government to leverage the role of Diaspora Women.

The International Organization for Migration Country Chief, Ambassador Sanusi Tejan, reiterated IOM’s commitment to promote strategic partnerships between diaspora private sector, women leaders, local communities, NGOs, public & private sectors, & governments in countries of origin & host countries.

Chief of Mission, IOM/UN Migration in Uganda, Ambassador Sanusi Tejan Savage speaking during the Diaspora Women Launch in Entebbe (U).

Minister of State for Regional Cooperation, Hon. John Mulimba, on the issue of the return of qualified nationals inter/intra regionally, mentioned the need for a process that encourages and facilitates secondments of diaspora in the public and private sector. He called for formation of databases, which gather details by country and region to help in capturing their humanitarian and development efforts.

The Head of Diaspora Department at Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Johnny Muhindo, who led Uganda’s unified delegation, called for the need to encourage sharing of good practices, knowledge sharing, obstacles, lessons learnt & experiences among Diaspora Women leaders and key stakeholders.

This, he said could foster cross-cultural exchange and dialogue between Diaspora Women leaders and local stakeholders in countries of origin and host countries.

Delegates from East Africa and Horn of Africa at the event in Entebbe, Uganda.

The Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Ambassador Hajji Abbey Walusimbi, on behalf of the office of the President, extended thanks in honour of the pivotal role played by Diaspora Communities in building nations. 

He added that the unified front of stakeholders has to engage the diasporas, and leverage their skills, resources, and networks for the country’s development.

“We need to change how we think of the Diaspora community. Currently, we look at them as remittance senders, but we need to recognize and afford them the same respect and privileges as investors because they are unconditionally investing their money into building nations.”

Commissioner of Labour in the Gender Ministry, Mr. Lawrence Egulu, underscored the importance placed on recognizing the vital role of women in Uganda’s progress, adding that they are development contributors, through financial and non-financial remittances.

On the sidelines, experts had a vibrant discussion with diaspora members, including Dr. Amina Hersi, Rose Kobusinge, Eddie Sembatya, Mua-awiya Mukasa (Uganda), Dr. Lilian Muasa, & Dr. Madrine Kingendo (Kenya), Nimo Hussein, Fatumo Farah, & Layla Ali (Somalia), and Dagmawit Aynalem (Ethiopia), Ambassador Jacquline Natepi Ben (SouthSudan) and the Senior Regional Advisor, Said Sheik Abdi (IOMNairobi).

They spoke to gender, the Diaspora and leadership, as it relates to humanitarian & development work, offering modalities to address the challenges faced by Diaspora women

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