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A network of 100 people of African origin with a desire to create change in their communities was selected by the RSA and began meeting in April 2014. Over a 12 month programme, the participants are receiving specialist leadership training, access to a special online networking platform, face-to-face networking events facilitated by the RSA, and access to the RSA's Fellowship and other networks.

The diaspora is an under-credited resource when it comes to creating the change that African communities need. Drawing upon the RSA Connected Communities team's social networks expertise, the challenge was to identify a network of promising diaspora individuals and support them to develop the skills and contacts needed to become a greater engine of positive social change.

100 participants were selected from 1,000 applicants who were identified through an innovative snowball peer-nomination methodology which uncovered individuals working below the radar and previously unknown to large development agencies. Final participants were selected based on a combination of their individual skills, projects and experience, as well as their connection to other ChangeMakers in the network.

Participants in this new network of Diaspora ChangeMakers each benefit from leadership training delivered by external course providers, and the chance to network on- and offline with other ChangeMakers as well as the RSA Fellowship and development agencies.

The desired outcomes are as follows:

  • Individual level – Increased ability of participants to bring about positive change in African communities in the UK and overseas through effective leadership and partnership.

  • Project level –The creation of several projects that have gone some way to improve the lives of those they have targeted in the course of the project.

  • Network level – More valuable connections made between participants within the project, and between participants and other useful networks.

  • Legacy level – Commitment from participants to continue running the Diaspora ChangeMakers Network in the coming years.

  • Methodological level – Greater understanding among researchers, funders and policymakers about the scope for the activities included within this project to improve leadership among different groups.

  • And a greater understanding and appreciation of the diaspora's role in driving positive social change.

This RSA project is working in partnership with Comic Relief and Unbound Philanthropy.