Short-term assignments with a development focus in your country of origin – Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Are you looking for a short-term assignment that allows you to put your skills to good use in your country of origin? Do you still have questions about the requirements, conditions and application process?

We have put together some answers to frequently asked questions.

For which countries is funding available to support short-term assignments of diaspora experts?

At present, we support short-term assignments of diaspora experts in Albania, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Serbia, Tunisia, Ukraine and Viet Nam.

Who can apply to work as a diaspora expert?

Diaspora expert assignments are open to anyone with a migration background from one of the countries listed above. You must have obtained your vocational qualifications or degree in Germany, and Germany must be your ‘main centre of activity’ in terms of residence. You must also have at least two years’ relevant professional experience in the field in which you wish to work as a diaspora expert in your country of origin.    

In which areas or sectors does CIM support short-term diaspora expert assignments?

Diaspora experts can undertake assignments in many different areas and sectors provided that the work involved is related to development. Our service is designed to strengthen local structures that can contribute to the country’s development, especially in the priority sectors identified by German development cooperation. The individual country sections on GIZ’s website will give you an idea of which sectors are regarded as priorities (see link). In all cases, there must be a clear link between the goals of the assignment and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

GIZ worldwide Sustainable Development

In which partner institutions can diaspora experts take up short-term assignments with support from CIM?

With regard to short-term diaspora expert assignments, the partner institutions we work with are mainly public-benefit institutions, e.g. public bodies; municipal, regional and national authorities and public service providers; educational establishments; public health care providers; and civil society organisations. To qualify, partner institutions must have been operating for several years and must have at least five to ten employees. This is to ensure that the knowledge passed on during short-term assignments remains embedded in the institution can continue to be used after the assignment. Support is primarily available for assignments with higher-level institutions and umbrella organisations, as these are more likely to generate a significant multiplier effect. 

What other conditions do partner institutions need to meet?

In each case, the partner institution must have the infrastructure, equipment and other technical resources needed for the assignment. As a minimum, it must provide a suitable workplace and ideally should also supply accommodation and transport facilities. The partner institution must also designate a member of its staff to help the diaspora expert with technical and organisational matters during the preparatory period and throughout the short-term assignment. 

I haven’t found a partner institution. Can I still apply?

Yes. You can still apply to CIM for a short-term assignment as a diaspora expert even if you have not yet established contact with a partner institution. In such cases, we may be able to place you with a suitable institution based on your profile. Please register your interest on our website.

How long is a short-term assignment as a diaspora expert?

We support assignments ranging from three weeks to six months. The minimum three-week period cannot be divided into several assignments. The assignment period is the time in which you actually carry out activities at the partner institution. CIM cannot support preparatory or accompanying activities in countries other than the country of assignment.

How many hours’ work does an assignment involve?

We can only support your assignment as a diaspora expert if you work at least 30 hours a week at the partner institution. In the case of lecturers assigned to higher education establishments, you must work at least 20 hours a week to qualify for support from CIM.   

Do diaspora experts have a formal employment relationship with the partner institution during short-term assignments?

No. There is no formal employment relationship between you and the partner organisation during the short-term assignment. You work for the partner institution on a voluntary basis. However, the conditions under which diaspora experts work are set out in a cooperation agreement between you and the partner institution. 

What is the relationship between the diaspora expert and CIM during the assignment?

The support we provide for diaspora experts is aimed at those with a migration background living in Germany who wish to contribute to development in their country of origin on a voluntary basis. Provided that the voluntary work you undertake in the form of a short-term assignment meets our conditions, we can support you by providing various services and benefits and help to cover your costs by means of a subsidy. Please note, however, that this support does not create an employer/employee or client/contractor relationship.  

How many short-term diaspora expert assignments can I take on each year?

The limit is two diaspora expert assignments per year, although the total time spent on assignment must not exceed six months in any calendar year.

How does the application procedure work for diaspora experts?

The procedure is made up of the following steps.

  • Register your details and your interest in working as a diaspora expert on our website.
  • Individual consultation with CIM’s recruitment and placement team.
  • Cooperation agreement drawn up between the diaspora expert and the partner institution.
  • Preliminary check to ensure that all the conditions and criteria for CIM support are met.
  • Formal application. Diaspora expert submits booking document to confirm travel arrangements to assignment location. 
  • CIM conducts final checks on the application.
  • CIM draws up subsidy agreement and finalises insurance cover for diaspora expert.
Antragsprozess (in German) (PDF 31966 kb)

What documents do I need to submit if I want to apply to work as a diaspora expert?

If you want to apply to work as a diaspora expert, the first step is to register your details and interest on our website (see link). Please send us an up-to-date CV with your expression of interest and a brief letter explaining what has motivated you to apply and what ideas you have for the assignment. Let us know if you already have a specific partner institution and specific dates in mind.  

The next step involves drawing up a cooperation agreement between the diaspora expert and the partner institution. The purpose of this agreement is to give the assignment a firm structure. Once we have conducted our preliminary checks on the cooperation agreement, we will send you an application form for requesting CIM support as a diaspora expert. Complete this form and return it to us. If your application is approved, CIM will draw up a subsidy agreement between you and us setting out all the conditions under which CIM will support your assignment. Before we can draw up the subsidy agreement and finalise insurance cover, however, you will need to send us confirmation of your travel booking to the assignment location.      

What is the process for specifying the general framework and the specific objectives and activities of a short-term assignment?

Short-term diaspora expert assignments are arranged in response to a need. This means that the objectives of the assignment must match the specific needs of the partner institution. The cooperation agreement signed by the diaspora expert and the partner institution sets out the agreed objectives and results, an assignment plan and specific activities and methods for the assignment. The agreement also specifies the duration of the assignment, including the start and end date. This cooperation agreement forms part of the subsidy agreement between you and CIM.   

When exactly does the assignment start and end?

The assignment starts on the first day on which you work at the partner institution. It ends on the last day of your assignment at the partner institution. Both days are usually weekdays. Time spent travelling to and from the assignment location is not included.  

What is the deadline for submitting an application and the documents requesting support for a diaspora expert assignment?

Please register your details and interest on our website. You need to contact us at least three months before your planned assignment so that we can initiate the application process in good time. Once we have checked that you meet our requirements, a complete set of documents (your expression of interest, cooperation agreement and formal application) must be submitted at least four weeks before the start of your assignment so that we can prepare a subsidy agreement. You must sign an original copy of the agreement and return it to CIM before you travel to your country of assignment. CIM cannot support your assignment without a subsidy agreement. You should not make any travel arrangements before you receive your subsidy agreement.

How are applications assessed?

The CIM team in Germany and in our partner countries will check that applications meet the criteria for support as a diaspora expert. They will also check that the partner institution is eligible and that the objectives of the assignment are in line with CIM’s development policy mandate.

What is a subsidy agreement?

The subsidy agreement is a contract signed by CIM and the diaspora expert once an application for support has been approved. It sets out all the terms and conditions under which CIM will provide financial support for the assignment. The subsidy agreement must be signed by both parties before you travel to the country in question and before the assignment starts. Please read the agreement carefully as it sets out the contractual rights and obligations of both sides. 

What support will I receive from CIM before and during my assignment?

CIM staff in Germany will advise you on how best to prepare for your short-term diaspora expert assignment and our local coordinators will establish contact with the partner organisation. We are happy to try to find you a suitable assignment based on your profile even if you have not yet found a partner organisation.

Our local team will, of course, be on hand to offer advice and support if requested during your assignment in the partner country.

What financial support is available as part of the overall package?

One of the ways in which we support short-term diaspora expert assignments is by covering your travel expenses in the form of a lump sum travel allowance. The exact amount depends on the country of assignment. We also provide a free insurance package. The insurance package consists of travel health insurance (for acute injuries or illnesses), travel accident insurance and travel liability insurance. Insurance cover begins two days before the start of your short-term assignment as a diaspora expert and expires two days after it ends.

In addition, we provide an expenses allowance for diaspora experts of EUR 50-80 (depending on the country of assignment) per assignment day (excluding arrival and departure days). We can also pay for consumables that you may need in order to carry out your assignment, although only limited funding is available (up to EUR 400).

When will I receive the agreed financial support?

That depends on the length of your assignment.

  1. If your assignment lasts 30 days or less, you will receive the financial support in two instalments. CIM will release 20% of your total expenses allowance together with your travel allowance and any payment for consumables once we receive a signed original copy of the subsidy agreement. You will receive the remaining 80% of your expenses allowance when we receive confirmation of the completed assignment from the partner institution and your final report. The final report must be submitted within one month of the date on which the assignment ends.
  2. For assignments with a term of more than 30 days and up to six months, we will release your travel allowance and any payment for consumables once we receive a signed original copy of the subsidy agreement. This will be followed at the end of each month by your monthly expenses allowance. At least 10% of your total expenses allowance will be retained by CIM. You will receive the remaining 10% at the end of your assignment when we receive confirmation of the completed assignment from the partner institution and your final report. The final report must be submitted within one month of the date on which the assignment ends.

How are short-term assignments monitored and documented?

Your short-term assignment will be supervised by the local CIM coordinator with whom you and the partner institution will have regular contact at the start of and during your assignment. Precise details of your reporting obligations are set out in the subsidy agreement.

Further information


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