MODAL, a project for knowledge sharing and sustainable development

Written by Kholoud EL MORABET

7 December 2021

MODAL aims at structuring partnership projects between African diasporas and local organisations. By supporting organisations working in pairs on both continents and strengthening their skills, this initiative contributes to the implementation of local micro development projects in four African countries.  

For several years now, research has proven that diasporas have a key role in the development of African countries. As a matter of fact, some African countries pay particular attention to their diaspora in their policies. For example, some countries have a diaspora ministry like the Ivory Coast. But how can the diaspora potential be maximized for development ? 

Diaspora’s role for African development cannot be demeaned. Being committed to the continent is one of the main features of the African Diaspora. That is particularly highlighted in the African Union statement. The continental organisations owns an unambiguous definition : “The African Diaspora are people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.” 

How can we observe in a tangible manner the development projects between local organisations and the one’s in the diaspora ? MODAL is giving us the chance to see how involved the diasporas are in their countries of origin.


– About MODAL 

MODAL is the acronym for “Mobilisation of Diaspora Organisations and Local organisations for Development”. This project mobilises Moroccan, Malian, Ivorian and Senegalese diaspora organisations in Europe and their partner organisations in these four countries around a programme.

The program is based on three pillars : 

–> The provision of technical means to set up local development projects through the acquisition of skills. 

–> The provision of financial resources.

–>The exchange and capitalisation of knowledge.


MODAL helps to create the right connections to help local organisations develop ambitious projects through funding and training. This programme is coordinated by the South-South Cooperation Action on Migration, ADEPT’s partner in steering the project, which promotes the sharing of knowledge and experience to achieve sustainable development goals. 


– What kind of problems are being solved? 

By definition, the diaspora cannot be physically present in their countries of origin. Local organisations have a great added value because there might be a gap between the needs of identified diasporas and the true wishes of the field. Together, they can really manifest and create sustainable development projects. These organisations help them settle in the region, know the real needs and create shared projects. Working with diasporas has multiple benefits for donors, they have huge links with their countries of origin, they have intercultural knowledge and are very active in the non-profit sector, which is not necessarily the case for foreign structures operating in the same field. 

MODAL provides special assistance to diaspora associations, which face many difficulties, including administrative problems. Some associations may be hampered by cumbersome and complex administrative procedures. They may also have networking deficiencies that prevent them from making the right connections and developing the right partnerships with other associations, or with local, national and international institutions. Some organisations do not have the means to train their staff in project management, which is why capacity building is an essential activity to ensure the proper coordination and implementation of activities. Knowing that these problems hinder the mobilisation of human and financial resources of the partners involved, MODAL supports these associations to overcome these obstacles.


– Local partners agreements

For ADEPT, the success of this programme is impossible without local partners. Like the diaspora associations, ADEPT can count on the support of 3 key partners.  In Ivory Coast, Paips (Programme d’appui à l’insertion professionnelle) is an Ivorian association whose general objective is to support local development through the organisation and structuring of youth and women’s associations. In Senegal, DIADEM Senegal (Diaspora Development Education Migration) is a non-profit organisation that works to improve the living conditions of the population and to promote dialogue between different actors. And in Mali, with FENCON Mali, whose fundamental mission is to participate in the development of Mali by contributing to the strengthening of NGO collectives. The advantage of these local associations is that they have a detailed knowledge of the field, offering privileged access to the local associative fabric and invaluable operational support. 


In view of the positive effects of this pilot project, ADEPT hopes to extend this initiative beyond the four countries initially targeted, to enable other diasporas to become involved in local development projects in Africa. 

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