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Reflection on the progress of GDC's Global Diaspora Academy

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

GDC began its volunteer recruitment campaign between August and September 2020.

Having received over 1400 applications across all continents, on 5th December 2020, the International Volunteer Day, GDC began selection of first set up volunteers.

First set of volunteers at GDC Academy

It was a lengthy process to ensure the volunteers selected possess the necessary qualities for the creation of a new global organization of such size.

First, we had to design what structure of the Secretariat would work best for GDC. Second, we had to identify all necessary ground work carried out by each team in the Secretariat.

It was the first time volunteering for many of our volunteers. We had to take careful steps to maximize the effectiveness of mobilizing volunteers' help while allowing space and time to evaluate and learn from their professional ideas and advice. As you can imagine, coming from all over the world virtually to help with something they did not know where to start takes time to explain and align. Thanks to the qualities we set from the beginning, many volunteers shared the same vision with us and we were able to keep moving forward.

Creating an open, transparent and positive volunteering environment was also key to the growth of GDC. Volunteer retention is a very important part of sustaining Diaspora Organization and GDC is no exception. Indeed we anticipate GDC will secure future funds but still rely on trusted volunteers to safeguard, grow and sustain. Hence the concept of setting up the Global Diaspora Academy to support Diaspora Organizations externally and GDC Secretariat internally was an ideal solution.

On 12th February 2021, GDC launched the Global Diaspora Academy and began to induct more volunteers and onboard team leaders. At that time, quite a number still did not fully understand what Diaspora Organization does in general. It was beyond doubt that the learning curve was so steep that we had to look into creating our own definitions and understandings more than what is available on the internet. This essential development process reminded us once again that the global sector of Diaspora Organization we are helping to facilitate needs this standardizing approach.

While developing the Academy, our volunteers grow in knowledge. While we find solutions to challenges of ground work, we endeavour to maximize volunteers' output according to their change of circumstances, availabilities, different opinions, and skill gaps. While we drive forward by learning from the good and less effective steps we made, we take time to analyse problems and embrace ideas over making fast decisions. While we endeavour not to create a stand-firm environment for volunteer professionals to start claiming their years of experiences, we uphold the principles of creating humility and operational excellence.

This is how we have created the Academy, a place to learn by contributing and working with 21 teams of great diversity. Later, 22nd team was also set up with passionate volunteers from some of the other teams. The Secretariat looks forward to the next phase of recruitment when the Global Diaspora Academy levels up its Secretariat programmes, which currently are divided into members and associates with different volunteering periods.

The Academy also looks forward to its next stage of the developing flagship programmes for Diaspora Organizations for entering membership as well as capacity building.

We take the opportunity to thank all volunteers for your help in 2021 and hope you will continue to enjoy working with us to create long term impact with your passion, time and commitment.

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