22 April 2003
Bosnia and Herzegovina is seeking at least 150 highly qualified nationals residing abroad to volunteer for key development activities for up to six months. They will work on projects with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), other development organizations, the government and the private sector.
UNDP is providing US$100,000 to fund 40 consultants during the first year of the three-year initiative, being carried out through TOKTEN (Transfer of Knowledge Through the return of Expatriate Nationals).
Partners in the project include the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the government's Department for International Scientific, Technical, Educational, Cultural and Sports Cooperation.
IOM and the department are setting up a web site and database to match expatriates' expertise with local needs. IOM will train department staff during the first two years so that they can take over management and administration by the project's third year.
Many capable, highly educated people who fled the country in the recent war-induced "brain drain" can bring back new skills and resources without necessarily returning permanently, said Lamija Tanovic of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They may work with firms wanting to invest in the country, or simply want to help without moving their families again, she noted.
UNDP Resident Representative Henrik Kolstrup said that expatriate professionals are often more effective than foreign consultants because they know the language, culture and local conditions. The savings are considerable since they volunteer their services, though their basic expenses are covered.
"We are very keen to invite well qualified expatriates to provide expert advice, on-the-job-training, consulting services and research," said Nidia Cassati, head of the IOM office. When their expertise is well matched with opportunities in the public and private sector and that of local professional counterparts, they can make an effective contribution to the country's long-term development, she said.
TOKTEN projects have proven to be an effective, low-cost way of accessing foreign technology and forging ties between expatriate communities and institutions in their country of origin. TOKTEN volunteers receive round-trip airfare and a daily subsistence allowance.
Source: UNDP Newsfront
Know more about TOKTEN
For further information please contact Nela Kacmarcik, UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Sandra Pralong, UNDP Regional Support Centre, Bratislava, Slovak Republic.