Consultant on Constituency Building amongst Afghan Diaspora

Open Society Foundations
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MENASWA Program

Under the supervision Middle East North Africa and Southwest Asia (MENA/SWA) Policy and Advocacy Unit, the consultant will work with staff at the Afghan Embassy in Washington DC to develop a strategy and outreach platform for Afghan diaspora in the United States.

Title: Consultant on Constituency Building amongst Afghan Diaspora
Duration: 6 months
Location: U.S.-based, flexible; Washington D.C. or New York preferred
Application: Please send brief cover letter and resume to sarah.malaika@opensocietyfoundations.org by September 22, 2017

Background:

Most countries have an organized diaspora effort which provide sustainable advocacy in favor of continued US support, as well as providing an essential lobbying tool in the event of relationship tensions. The diaspora groups can also harness the relationship of the United States to their home country to advance human rights and other progressive agendas.

The Afghan diaspora in the United States is an under-utilized resource for Afghans and their international partners committed to preserving the gains of the last decade. There is limited awareness of the basic makeup of the diaspora, let alone avenues for members of Afghan diaspora to channel their energies towards constructive engagement. Systematic and strategic outreach and platforms for collaboration could help Afghan political and community leaders, and their international allies, build stronger constituencies in the United States for more responsive and accountable public policymaking in Afghanistan, and internationally. At a time when non-profit led activism is waning (due to shrinking NGO and INGO resources), this diaspora engagement could step up as an important and hopefully legitimate advocacy voice.

At the same time, continued international engagement, led by the United States, will play a major role in the future of Afghanistan. After 16 years of U.S. involvement, there has emerged a highly knowledgeable D.C.-based constituency of current and former policymakers and U.S. military officials committed to constructive U.S.-Afghan relations.

Developing the Afghan diaspora is not without its challenges, challenges that are shared with all diaspora organizing, but particularly acute in a country still riven with conflict, where the diaspora is as divided as the national population. In 2016 the Afghan government launched a Citizen’s Charter program, which seeks to improve development programming through increased devolution at the local level. The Afghan government considers development and public service delivery critical to strengthening its legitimacy and trust with local communities, and the Citizens Charter program could be a potential vehicle or platform for deepening Afghan diaspora engagement. Other options can also be explored which may find common ground. This consultancy will lay the groundwork for such efforts through a mapping and planning exercise in order to understand the tensions and opportunities in advance of a constituency building effort.

Responsibilities:

Identify and consult with key leaders in Afghan diaspora community. Produce a detailed mapping report on diaspora community/donors, their priorities and areas of interest, organizational and leadership capacities, and opportunities for public and private advocacy. Assess potential areas of tension and risk.

Mapping of previous efforts, successes and failures, understanding the relationship between the Afghan diaspora and the official Afghan mission and areas of shared interest and convergence.

Consult with other constituency building/diaspora organizations and initiatives in the United States and abroad, including Muslim-American communities and advocacy groups. Produce briefing paper on lessons learned and potential application to Afghan context.

Help build and manage relationships with key Afghan diaspora community leaders, including young professionals, and stakeholders. Design and host convenings of key Afghan diaspora community leaders and international supporters.

Liaise with Afghan Embassy staff and government stakeholders on Citizens Charter program and scope potential for expansion to participation of Afghan diaspora. Explore and develop a plan that assesses legal, financial, and technological needs for a potential e-platform aimed at channeling diaspora funds to local development projects

Lead the development of a strategic plan for a proposed e-platform or other initiative that can bring together diaspora members to directly participate in community development programs in Afghanistan.

Engage key Afghan-American groups in all the efforts above and explore how they can facilitate some of the engagement with development projects and micro enterprise. Map out the business and investment opportunities for the diaspora to engage with.

Work with the diaspora, and building on other diaspora success stories, to conceptualize an exchange program that will increase direct interaction between diaspora communities and local communities across different sectors such as health, business and media.

Provide advice to MENASWA staff and grantees on constituency building amongst Afghan diaspora and applying lessons from other contexts.

Requirements:
Fluency in English and either Dari or Pashto; both preferred.

University degree, Master’s preferred in relevant field including international development, public administration, entrepreneurship, design thinking and innovation, business management, public relations and communications

At least 5 years of relevant work experience, preferably related to or demonstrating knowledge of Afghanistan or the Afghan diaspora; also related to campaigning, constituency building, development and/or advocacy

Strong research and writing skills; experience designing, organizing, and managing multi-stakeholder convening



This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, http://internationalpeaceandconflict.org and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only. 
 
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