Diaspora Volunteer FAQs

Somaliland Diaspora Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions. 

  1. What is volunteerism?
  2. What is an internship?
  3. What is the difference between volunteer and intern and their roles?  
  4. What are the objectives of the Somaliland Diaspora Volunteer Home Program?
  5. Why to volunteer in Somaliland?
  6. What are the benefits of volunteering?
  7. Who can volunteer in Somaliland?
  8. How can I volunteer home?
  9. How can I volunteer home from the Diaspora?
  10. Where can I volunteer in Somaliland?
  11. Can I volunteer multiple assignments or in multiple locations in Somaliland?
  12. Can I volunteer in rural and remote zones outside main cities in Somaliland?
  13. How is length of time for volunteering and for interning in Somaliland?
  14. How many workdays & hours is Diaspora volunteer required to work in Somaliland?
  15. Are volunteers and interns equally treated under SDVH Program in Somaliland?
  16. Are volunteers required to have previous experience for volunteering in Somaliland?
  17. How are volunteers supported before, during and after volunteering in Somaliland?
  18. What are the things to know before starting volunteering or internship in Somaliland?
  19. How can I register to volunteer?
  20. What are the standard common TERMS for volunteering service in Somaliland?
  21. What are the challenges to volunteering and how can they addressed in Somaliland? 

What is volunteerism?

Volunteering is generally described as altruistic, unselfish or thoughtful activity where an individual or group of persons freely or without pay offers their time and skills to help or benefit other person, community or institution. According to the UNV Report on the State of the World’s Volunteerism (UNV 2015), volunteerism is considered as a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, and it can transform the pace and nature of development and that it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation.

The United Nations General Assembly defines volunteerism as   “Activities … undertaken of free will, for the general public good and where monetary reward is not the principal motivating factor.”  Based on this definition, UN Volunteer (UNV Report 2015) articulated four types of volunteerism as “Mutual aid/self-help; philanthropy and service to others; civic participation; and advocacy and campaigning, two of which directly relate to social activism. Working to help people through improving services and support to communities and working to tackle the root causes of poverty and injustice are complementary.  

Most world states have gone further from acknowledging importance volunteerism to adoption and implementation of national volunteerism practice laws and policies and initiated applicable programs to engage competent volunteers, promote volunteerism and integrate it in the national development plans including establishment of national voluntary services and Diaspora knowledge transfer engagement methods.

According to ILO, the many nonmonetary benefits and or positive side effects of volunteering both to individuals and to communities at large include the following:- 

  • Providing employment training and a pathway into the labor force;
  • Contributing to the global fight against poverty and addressing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • Providing services not easily provided by paid workers, such as mentoring; Enhancing social solidarity, social capital, political legitimacy, and quality of life;
  • Serving as a means of social inclusion and integration of minority or excluded communities;
  • Providing a sense of personal satisfaction, fulfillment, well-being, and belonging to persons who volunteer.

What is an internship?

According to Somaliland National Internship Policy, an internship is a temporary training program provided to unemployed graduates or registered students at a college, TVET or university education to further their employability skills whereas the policy described “Intern” as unemployed person who is either studying or graduated from a college, TVET or university education whose aim is to gain practical work skills and knowledge to increase chances of employability.  In other words, an internship is described as a period of work experience offered by an employer to give students or graduates exposure to the working environment and always within related industry or department to the intern’s field of study. The intern aims to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification. In Somaliland, it is unpaid voluntary work or similar to the status of volunteering. However, it at times depends on the HR policies of the employer.  Somaliland National Internship Policy aims to set out guidelines and support unemployed Somaliland graduate youth with opportunities where they can gain practical work experience and bridge skills between academic and the world of work, ultimately contributing to increased youth employment and Somaliland’s development.

 What is the difference between volunteer and intern and their roles? 

Volunteering is the act of freely giving your time and energy to help a cause just sharing your expertise and experience you are qualified for. And internship is an activity you do within an organization in order to learn more about specific profession and usually graduating students or newly graduates do internships for short period of time. Both are doing voluntary activities while the difference is that the first is volunteering to help out whereas the second is volunteering to learn about a given profession or to fulfill requirements for qualification. 

What are the objectives of the Somaliland Diaspora Volunteer Home Program?

  • To encourage Diaspora skills transfer and introduce the imperative mutual benefits this has for the engagement strategies and the nation building through establishment and maintenance of applicable Diaspora Volunteer and Internship Programs;
  • To ensure proper utilizing and capitalizing of Diaspora expertise and human talent in order to endeavor addressing vital challenges in the knowhow, public health, quality education, agriculture and enhance community development and reducing poverty;
  • To deepen Diaspora engagement and integrate in the national development processes;
  • To connect the willing returning Diaspora professionals and the skilled young generations for development initiatives and meaningfully working with the local community, civil society and government institutions in order to address challenges;  
  • To improve engagement, placement and coordination of the Diaspora volunteer and ensure retaining, attracting and encouraging temporary and permanent return of migrants high-level and advanced expertise;
  • To contribute to successful implementation of Somaliland National Employment Policy and Somaliland National Internship Policy with applicable Diaspora volunteer roles and interns as 2nd and 3rd generations of the Diaspora and particularly enable the Diaspora interns become active citizens of their own community and origin country;
  • To promote formation of Diaspora Professional Associations. 

Why to volunteer in Somaliland? 

 Somaliland is peaceful and democratic developing country in the Horn of Africa and has nearly one million Diaspora population scattered mainly across Europe, North America, Middle East, Australia and East Africa and whose physical returns and engagement is on gradual increase year after the other. Diaspora engagement and bringing young generations back to home is highly prioritized under the Somaliland National Development Plan II so that MoFA&IC is working hard to maximize Diaspora participation and integrating in the National Development Processes. Diaspora volunteering has mutual benefits both the enthusiastic volunteers and for the country as well. Somaliland MOFA and its Diaspora Office (SLDO) highly encourages those passionate and competent volunteers in or from the Diaspora willing to share their expertise, and talent and time to serve home as well as those motivated Diaspora youth in need of internship placements. 

What are the benefits of volunteering?

As a volunteer, it has abundant advantages to volunteer home such as the following:

  • Practice your professional expertise sharing with fellow citizens and teams who need and value your contribution to the country;
  • Interact with new people; make new friends from different walks of life and have opportunity of increasing your social and relationship skills, expanding your network of friends and contacts and making you connections with your community;
  • Gain experiences and new professional skills while using and sharing your own skills;
  • Learn teamwork, team management, leadership skills and constructive work experience and develop language and communication skills;
  • Learn about your origin country, history & the case of Somaliland, government system, economy, geography, resources, culture, tradition & customs, achievements, national policies & national development plans, national priorities, opportunities & challenges;
  • Have tourism opportunity and close exploration of the country, Somaliland;
  • Have opportunities to identify critical issues that affect vulnerable groups and have access to helpful information about domestic issues;
  • Have opportunity to introduce and create lasting relationship with some of the civil society organizations that serve vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, orphans, abandoned children, street children and so understanding their needs you can further your volunteering by raising funds or in kind support or creating accommodating connections and partnerships for them. You can do the same by volunteering at certain hospitals, health centers, community centers, schools. colleges, universities etc.;
  • Understand better ways you can contribute to your homeland development;
  • Have moral satisfaction and happiness because of sacrificing your time and energy to help disadvantaged community groups and that is actually useful for your health, social skills and personal development. We believe the more we volunteer to help our needy brothers and sisters, the more we hopefully expect good returns from Allah on the earth and hereafter as well;
  • Using your skills for communal impact creates an avenue of connection for you with your community and fellow citizens because volunteering gives a unique opportunity by connecting people with very specific shared values.
  • Volunteering gives community served hope and happiness;
  • Volunteering for charity at all times offers an exceptional sense of achievement because you understand your voluntary work is helping change people’s lives and rewarding for them and in the same way worthwhile for yourself;  
  • Volunteering is in the most cases having fun, meeting new people, seeing different things, expanding your knowledge, and getting new experiences which are all of use for your personal and professional development and volunteering enables cultural exchange and builds long-lasting relationships.

Volunteering home has unique opportunity and infinite benefits for Diaspora engagement and proper utilization of their human talent for the national development in Somaliland.

Both our beloved citizens in the Diaspora who have willingness to volunteer home as well as our Somaliland friends who can travel with Somalilanders returning home are welcome to Somaliland.  

Who can volunteer in Somaliland?

  1. All Somalilanders from the Diaspora who are mature or with age range 16+ willing to volunteer home regardless of gender, region, second citizenship and geographic residence including:-
  2. Qualified professionals;
  3. Retired qualified professionals;
  4. Students in high schools, universities or new graduates.
  5. Friends of Somaliland who are foreign nationals and motivated to come to Somaliland to volunteer either coming with Somalilanders or on their own and regardless of their nationalities provided that their behaviors are acceptable to the culture & etiquettes, and Constitution of Somaliland and that they are recommended by a Somaliland Diaspora Community Association.

How can I volunteer home?

You can volunteer by participating in the Diaspora Volunteer Home Program (SDVH) as you arrive home simply by registering online through SLDO Website www.sldiasporaoffice.com  and then as per the placement you are referred to. Part of the SDVH is the Diaspora Summer Volunteer Program which SLDO has initiated to facilitate placement of as more as interested members from the Diaspora are willing to volunteer home during their vacations in collaboration with the Somaliland Government Institutions, public service centers, civil society organizations, business companies and other stakeholders. You can also volunteer home while being abroad through e-volunteering or you can do home based-based volunteering and on such cases SLDO will assign you specific activity as you register and express your interest or motivation. In order to get involved, you have to read and understand Somaliland Diaspora Volunteer Information and its FAQs. 

How can I volunteer home from the Diaspora?

Most Diaspora professionals as well as skilled second generations are based in the host or receiving countries abroad and yet those interested and competent members can still perform important tasks on voluntary basis while living abroad through  distance also referred to as virtual, e-volunteering or online volunteering as technology making us connected despite we live in distant locations. The titled “Volunteer from the Diaspora” is an relevant initiative under the Somaliland Diaspora Volunteer Program/SDVH and so that upon registering and per guidance of the Diaspora Office, there are multi types of assignments applicable to those members in the Diaspora willing to volunteer home despite they are living abroad. Assignments may include some of the listed under this Booklet or may particularly include communication, marketing, IT, technical assistance, and fundraising for prioritized projects and for supplying essentials to deserving needy community groups, assisting mapping and research studies, community outreach, and contributing to other Diaspora-oriented activities.  

Where can I volunteer in Somaliland? 

SLDO makes referrals for placements of the Diaspora mainly in the Capital City, Hargeisa but this depends on the specific location, town/city or region in Somaliland the Diaspora volunteer may be residing or staying during his vacation. Also based on your choice out of given options of volunteer roles, as you fill in the Volunteer Form,  the Diaspora Agency is making you referral for placement to appropriate institution, civil society organization or community group.   

Can I volunteer multiple assignments or in multiple locations in Somaliland?

Sometimes yes, it depends on the types of assignments or duties you are required to do and per the schedule you develop with the host institution and sometimes may be including home-based assignment.

Can I volunteer in rural and remote zones outside main cities in Somaliland?

Of course, volunteers can work throughout the country and in fact there are more needs and destitute communities in rural zones than in urban areas. However, the Somaliland Diaspora Office (SLDO) does not presently run volunteer-funded programs to outreaches but provides information and technical guidance to those organized teams of volunteers willing to serve needy communities or who want to deliver or support community development projects in rural areas within Somaliland. SLDO has plenty of information of basic needs and priorities and many of which the Diaspora voluntary work for charity can be applied. Not more in number but there are at times organized and self-funded volunteers from the Diaspora who provide assistance to needy communities such as based on their professions and or projects either making useful distributions or offering their skills such as serving as mobile health teams, conducting diagnostic campaigns, distributing health kits, medical supplies, education supplies, nutritious food items, sportive items or other essentials useful for impoverished households etc.

In addition to that, it sometimes depends on the host institution either public employer or private organization who may support Professional Volunteers to go field trips and do works in rural and remote areas within the regions of Somaliland. 

How is length of time for volunteering and for interning in Somaliland?

This may depend on the length or duration of time the volunteer can spare to serve home as may range from one week to three months and whether it is home-stay volunteer or distance volunteer.

How many workdays & hours is Diaspora volunteer required to work in Somaliland?

Somaliland Government normal working time is eight hours from 7:00am to 2:00pm of six working days from the Saturday through the Thursday in the week according to Somaliland Civil Service Law except certain key public services while for the private sector it is as well eight to nine hours from 7:00am to 12:00pm & 4:00pm to 9:00pm six working days in the week according to the Somaliland Private Sector Employees Policy. Number of working days and hours per day may at times depend on the type of the assignment or the volunteer roles which may vary as full time placement and one-off project.  It may sometimes be full working days particularly for the interns. However, it is often subject to the initial negotiation and then as per the agreement or the terms and conditions to be signed between the volunteer or the intern and the host institution.   

Are volunteers and interns equally treated under SDVH Program in Somaliland?

Of course yes, equal opportunity and equal treatment for engagement and placement processes of both volunteers and interns are encouraged. Particularly for interns, you can read further information in the Somaliland National Volunteer Policy https://slmesaf.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Somaliland-National-Internship-Policy-Approved.pdf

Are volunteers required to have previous experience for volunteering in Somaliland? 

SLDO encourages engagement of qualified professional Diaspora willing to volunteer home and the younger Diaspora generations interested to volunteer or need internship opportunities. Therefore, except certain professions such as in the health industry when specially the volunteer wants to play specialized role such as nurse or other health practitioner, previous experience is not always condition to participating in the Somaliland Diaspora Volunteer Home Program and so one can do volunteer work that matches well your skills and experience and according to your motivation. 

How are volunteers supported before, during and after volunteering in Somaliland?

  • Before volunteering:-
  • Giving up-to-date information about the program, volunteering and internship opportunities and facilitating registration and appropriate placement based on your interest, skills and motivation.
  • During volunteering:-
  • Follow up, feedback collection and coordination role of the Diaspora Office;
  • Supervising smooth operation of the program and how engaged volunteers and interns are finding their roles within the host institutions they are working with;
  • Enabling interaction, sharing information, skills and experiences within engaged volunteers and interns via online and holding relevant meetings;
  • Organizing integrating and experience exchange events, tourism and travelling within the country and other interesting breaks within the volunteering or interning program;
  • Both volunteers and interns have right to use host institution transports for attending work at both times with the institution personnel particularly where the host institution is equipped with such personnel transports;
  • Identify challenges and use the lessons learned for further improving the program;
  • NOTE: for complaint, inquiry or any other feedback, please contact us by sending email through SLDO Website Contact Form in order to respond to your needs and help out.
  • After volunteering:-
  • Awarding Testimonial Letter to both intern and volunteer upon the satisfactory completion of internship for the agreed period of time by the Host Institution;
  • Awarding Appreciation Letter to both intern and volunteer upon satisfactory completion of internship and volunteer role respectively for the agreed period of time by Somaliland Diaspora Office;
  • Farewell meeting for the Diaspora volunteers and interns together upon satisfactory completion of the assignments before their departing to host countries;
  • Keeping in touch with those Diaspora volunteers and interns for future cooperation.

NOTE: Somaliland Diaspora Volunteer Home Program (SLDVH) does not fund or support volunteers with any financial assistance in travelling, accommodation & meals, incentives, local transportation etc. but mainly based on non-financial service and by those volunteers and interns coming home with their own accounts or self-funded, at the same time enthusiastic and passionate to serve home. Most volunteers may be returning home especially in the summer vacations with their families or have extended family relatives or friends they can live with while volunteering home and that is saving them costs. 

What are the things to know before starting volunteering or internship in Somaliland?

  • Make sure to contact SLDO and get registered via online by completing the Volunteer Application Form that is emailed to you in reply to your first registration and email completed form and Motivation Letter to sldiasporaagency@gmail.com. When your register enough time earlier than your travelling to Somaliland and arrival, it is very good because you are giving us space to consider more appropriate placement for your volunteering or internship opportunity that most qualifies your expectation;
  • Do not hesitate to inquire as much as questions you may have and for the issues you may have concerns or need further clarification and understanding in advance. There are dedicated team members responding to your inquiries on time and giving guidance, advice and instructions in the best of manner;
  • In case you have not contacted SLDO before arriving home, then since you may have short time for staying, make sure to visit SLDO Office at MoFA&IC Compound in the first week of your arrival or email to us at once.
  • We facilitate placement of Diaspora Volunteers based on their passion and motivation

How can I register to volunteer?

You are only the following few steps away to get registered via SLDO Website:

  • Register online sldiasporaoffice.com by completing the electronic Volunteer Application Form for basic details regarding your name, profession, qualification or field of education, country of residence, contact details, accepting to volunteer home unpaid, expected return date, and your motivation for volunteering or finding internship placement in Somaliland. on completing, click send button and you will receive automatic notification for proper registration;
  • Sometimes, SLDO may write you official email asking questions relating to your application and in such cases you should reply within three days;
  • SLDO will submit your Application Form to the host institution you have chosen or other organization of relevance to your skills and motivation within seven days after receiving your application and will be responsible for conducting follow up on confirmation;
  • Upon receiving confirmation from the host institution, SLDO will by e-mail notify you your placement confirmation and other relevant information;
  • That was when you are registering while being abroad and we highly appreciate those volunteers or interns who register enough time in advance and earlier their itinerates;
  • However, if you have already arrived home, then either visit us at SLDO Office at MoFA Compound in Hargeisa or otherwise visit sldiasporaoffice.com and register online.  

What are the standard common TERMS for volunteering service in Somaliland?

  1. Completion of Diaspora Volunteer Application Form;
  2. Signing Acceptance Letter of Volunteer/intern of volunteering unpaid service;
  3. Signing Terms of Volunteer Service with the host institution which entails simple terms including the following:-
  • Duration of volunteer or internship work,
  • Duties & responsibilities (Including agreed assignment or volunteer roles);
  • Work schedule, working days and hours of service,
  • Abiding by the Host Institution policies and procedures in relation to HR, conduct, administration, information & privacy, property & assets, risk management etc.
  1. Awarding Testimonial Letter to the Volunteer/Intern by the Host Institution upon satisfactory completion of volunteer/intern service.

What are the challenges to volunteering and how can they addressed in Somaliland?

  • The practice of engaging Diaspora through volunteering home and within public and private institutions is very new to Somaliland and as such there is reluctance of MDAs in accommodating volunteers and utilizing this voluntary labor force for common interests in the public service delivery and development. In addition, due to the high unemployment rate among the young people who majority of Somaliland population and the fact that creation of new employment opportunities is limited, both public and private employers do not support temporary placement of volunteers and interns as they cannot employ them. Fortunately, Diaspora volunteers and interns are different. For instance, those interns from the Diaspora are students in graduation levels or newly graduates who are more focused to obtaining career experience and learning from home. The adopted National Internship Policy in 2019 is expected to open doors for many young people who have vision to enhance their capacity, skills and professional experiences through internships and of course it is the Diaspora youth who will benefit most from this strategy;
  • There is still difficult in the Somaliland Diaspora engagement coordination because not yet established coordination structure at national level and local levels as well. Successful implementation of the MoFA newly launched Diaspora Engagement Initiative 2020 can in fact bring final solution to this challenge and that will be very essential to the success of the significant Diaspora-oriented programs in Somaliland;
  • There are time constraints facing the Diaspora: Somalilanders returning home majority of whom are the young people we are focusing for this program usually have very limited time for example in the summer holidays they come in huge numbers. They have more expectations in things to do. Some of them may like more traveling around the regions of Somaliland or having entertainment occasions and leisure going than doing office assignments in weeks or months consecutively. Also, most of them have extended families here and so that visiting their relatives also consume some of their time. However, such challenges can be addressed through effective planning of the program for placement with certain youth oriented events as intervals during volunteering period. At the same time, commitment of the volunteers and the interns to engage on time and as early as possible soon on arriving.