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For the past 14 years, Africa Centre has been working with the African community and other stakeholders to facilitate the positive integration of Africans in Ireland. It has been proactive in raising awareness on issues of global inequalities, injustices, poverty, violation of human rights and the use of negative images and messages in relation to the continent of Africa. The organisation has been successful in achieving these aims during that time, particularly in the areas of civic participation. However, following consultation with our members, the African community in Ireland and mindful of the current economic climate, we recognize the need to refocus our activities toward supporting the African community in Ireland in addressing the core issues which impact them, and to reduce peripheral activities. We have developed strategic priorities to enable us to do this effectively. The African communities in Ireland represent in themselves the variety of a vast continent with its own rich cultural diversity. The growing presence of these communities produced a need to provide a voice for the growing number of Africans in Ireland and this is what Africa Centre community participation is all about.
An enhanced African presence in Ireland means that awareness, contact and exchange need to be central to the mutual advantage of all interested people. This was a key element in the original vision that saw the emergence of the Africa Centre in early 2000.
Since its formal launch in October 2001, the Africa Centre has promoted and encouraged the development of activities and initiatives that explain African concerns to a wider audience and that encourage the linkages and strategies that enable new African communities in Ireland to address their needs.
For some time the Africa Centre has recognized the need to select priorities within the context of identified needs and required resources. The need for a Strategic Plan is a key requirement in setting out clear objectives and activities as well as in clarifying the central resource requirements in the years ahead.
Africa Centre will work to provide leadership to rally African communities to actively work to impact on policies and practices aimed at promoting full participation and representation of minority communities in society. The need to develop a more balanced partnership with statutory and non-statutory bodies to mainstream and respond to emerging issues that affect ethnic minorities will form key considerations of our work.
To strengthen the capacities of African communities to participate in shaping the policies that affects them, the Africa Centre will be carrying the following;
• Carryout a consultative meetings with African groups and communities to agree on a strategic direction for the Africa Centre.
• Continue our work with the Africa Forum to create a vibrant Africa Council which will advocate for the creation of a national federation of African community organizations in Ireland
• Provide capacity support and encourage alliance building and mergers among African community groups at regional towns and cities
• Facilitate the Intercultural Youth Society with our committed youth volunteers
• Actively work with African communities to ensure that their voices are represented at policy levels
• Develop contacts and network with various stakeholders to promote participation and representation of African communities.
• Carry out a survey on civic participation levels among members of African communities.
• Provide information and referral services on citizenship, voting entitlements and associated topics
• Develop a civic education training programme for members of African communities
• Mobilize members of African communities to participate in the Irish and European political processes