Listening and Reaching out to African-Canadians
History and Background
In the year 2009, a little more than a dozen of community leaders and individual saw the importance and the vision to unite African-Canadians. After intense consultations and professional legal input African Canadian Federation of London and Area (ACFOLA) was formed in November 25, 2009. ACFOLA became an umbrella organization that cater to the needs of diverse community organizations and individuals. The founding members were also actively involved in forming the first Board of ACFOLA and supporting the Committee in charge of writing ACFOLA’s first Constitution. Since then, the Constitution has evolved, through inputs and vigorous scrutiny, to become more responsive to the needs of ACFOLA`s constituencies and the external environment that affect African Canadians.
ACFOLA as a registered non-profit organization sees its role as encouraging its members to participate and be included in economic, social and cultural development of London and area. Its long-term strategic direction is to contribute to developing London, Ontario and surrounding areas as a socially and economically prosperous region in which no one is left behind.
ACFOLA’s Overall Strategic focus:
- working with African community associations and individuals;
helping African Canadians to be involved and be part of their local communities;
- empowering African Canadians through cultural awareness, health, education and employment; and
- pulling together the strengths of ACFOLA’s members, friends and associates.
ACFOLA’s activities will result in stronger African Canadian communities and families, which will translate into increased cultural awareness and civic responsibility that will enhance the social and economic advancement of African Canadian individuals and communities. This improves the vitality of our communities and cities. ACFOLA has a shared mission with other African organizations, and it works closely with these organizations to enhance and expand access to quality, community-responsive social programs for all African Canadians who are under-served and under-represented. ACFOLA also strive towards the inclusion, engagement and integration of everyone in community life and development of London and area. Through its private and public partnerships and sponsorship arrangements, ACFOLA strives to address the needs and aspirations of African-Canadians in London, Ontario and surrounding areas.
To unite African-Canadian individuals and organizations through collaborative efforts that promote inclusion, integration and engagement in London and area; and to promote our individual, group and community welfare regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender.
To Serve and Advocate for the Inclusion, Engagement and Integration of African – Canadians in Community Life and Development of London and area
2017/18 STRATEGIC PRIORITIES:
• Achieve Youth Engagement and Empowerment through Sports and Mentorship Programs
• Achieve Community Engagement, Integration and Inclusion through:
o Participation in Special Interest Groups;
o Fostering Financial Security through Advocacy for Gainful Employment; and
o Capacity Building for Entrepreneurship
• Achieve Sustainability of ACFOLA’s Operations and Programming through Uptake of Funding Opportunities and Fundraising activities
A. Community Income Generation Activities:
With the support of London Community Foundation(LCF) and MTCU, ACFOLA was able to sponsor small business start-ups by offering seed funding to complement human and financial commitments of applicant groups. This process has opened venues of entrepreneurship and self-employment that directly related to the economic/employment challenges our member face. Through this process, about 15 start-ups have been supported by ACFOLA. ACFOLA, using its own capabilities and enlisting external support, will be supporting these groups to meet the challenges of start-up.
B. Youth and Sports
ACFOLA sees youth engagement as critical strategic imperative. Keeping youth engaged in sport, culture, education and leadership development is one of its priorities. In that pursuit,
• the federation has conduct cultural show as part of CANADA 150 CELEBRATION that put African-Canadians’ diverse culture in the cultural map of the celebration. This attracted appreciation by a lot of people. The preparatory process gave the young performers a sense of contribution, recognition and meaning and that also impacted their organizing, leading, and performing skill. Similar works will be continuing to give the youth meaning, contribution and leadership experience.
• ACFOLA conduct a soccer tournament that brought several teams to participate. This tournament touched the surface of the latent need of the young and ACFOLA has received a great interest from the communities and individuals to make this engagement a permanent and expanded undertaking because sport, as a universal language and communication tool, can bring more inclusion and integration of African-Canadians and Canadians and other groups of different cultural background. To address this need and other similar needs, ACFOLA has partners with Western University’s Community Engaged Learning(CEL)
• ACFOLA is also working with Western University and other university student to institute a tutorial and mentorship program. This program is geared to addressing the high school drop out rate and help students enter STEM programs in colleges and universities
C. Women’s Caucus
Women’s involvement in ACFOLA’s governance and different committees is critical in the federations growth. Women’s participation is one of the key metrics of ACFOLA’s responsiveness to women’s needs– be it at household or/and professional level. To address this need, higher involvement of women in the federation’s affair is the bedrock of the federation existence and continuity. The Women’s Caucus has identified supporting the youth in education, community capacity building and personal development as critical in bettering ACFOLA women’s condition. If women are supported in the education of their children and helped to grow personally and professionally, the family unit would be strengthened. This has definite impact on their children’s achievement in the formative years of early education and teenage and adolescent years of high school.
D. ACFOLA Professionals Network
The African-Canadian community has a wealth of educational and professional skills, skills and education that took years to develop in African that needs to be tapped in Canada. To address the personal and professional need of the highly educated and professional members of our community, ACFOLA is developing the first African-Canadian Conference for the year 2018. This conference will address the critical success factors that need to be implemented and followed up to benefit the community and the individual professional.
To continue supporting the current programing and to expand coverage and develop new programs, ACFOLA needs to cover its operational cost that involve retention of staff that oversee, monitor, evaluate and report progress of the various programs. ACFOLA has a 9- member volunteer board. In addition, ACFOLA accesses volunteers from more than 10 corporate members and hundreds of individuals. These thousands of volunteer hours need to be organized, channel, monitored and reported. For this to happen ACFOLA needs a central hub, operational office for all the programs. The conservative projected budget for this hub is $72,000(6000*12) per year for the next two years. In this pursuit, we are seeking sponsorship to cover the cost. If the whole package is not within your current granting policy, you can choose the ones that fit your policy and earmark your sponsorship to a specific area of the programs. As this is a preliminary communication for your support, we can also discuss the details of area(s) you are interested in.