Project Duration: 3 Years (April 1 2022 to 31st March 2025)
This project is a continuation of Jamii 1, which addressed root causes of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the Welsh African community to mitigate the effects of the pandemic from a health and well-being vantage point. It brings together Black-led organisations and charities with strong community relationships. Led by SSAP, the consortium includes the North Wales African Society, Jukebox Collective and Soel Connect. The consortium has strong grassroots links and relationships of trust with African and Black communities across Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and Newport in South Wales, and in North Wales; Bangor and Wrexham.
By African community we mean the African diaspora as well as Black Welsh people of African descent. We are a vibrant community with diverse cultural backgrounds, we speak a multitude of languages, and practice different traditions and cultures. Our diversity is our strength, we are culturally rich and draw resilience from our journeys and roots. Many members of the African community in Wales have lived experience or family histories of migration, many speak multiple languages and all of us have stories of resilience in the face of challenges and discrimination. The community includes doctors and nurses, workers and students, refugees and asylum seekers, children and the elderly. This project celebrates and builds on the strength of our community, by building on our culture and resilience to encourage recovery and growth. It is about building back better and stronger communities.
African communities in Wales and the UK are among the hardest hit by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Research highlights that more than 34% of critically ill patients in the UK are from ethnic minority communities. Members of our community often work frontline jobs, and many have underlying health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes (constituting 25% of deaths) and hypertension. A high prevalence of health and economic inequalities within the community leave Welsh Africans more vulnerable to the immediate and long-term health and socio-economic effects of the pandemic.
Experiences of inequality and racism have also created a sense of mistrust in our community, with many cautious to access health services and mental health support. In many African and Black communities, mental health problems are rarely spoken about and can be seen in a negative light. These barriers to engagement with health services must be tackled from within.
'Jamii' means community and this project will build on the key strength of African and Black communities in Wales; our sense of togetherness and the mutual support and strength we draw from each other. The approach of this project builds on the African concepts of 'Ubuntu' or 'Harambee'. Both phrases embrace the concept of cooperation and working together as a community. This sense of community and collaboration extends from cultural and communal activities to economic, health and emotional support.
1. People will be better informed, have access to necessary information and resources to make healthy food choices, without cultural compromise
2. People will get together to take part in exercise and healthy outdoor activities in a communal and culturally appropriate setting
3. Children and young people will take part in safe, Black-led and peer-led activities that strengthen their mental health, wellbeing & sense of identity
4. People will be better informed and have access to financial and medical information that enables them to become more resilient.
5. Address health inequalities amongst minority ethnic communities through research, documentation and evidence.
Now, as we are slowly emerging from these unprecedented challenges, we must meet the challenge of recovery and work to enable our community to flourish and grow. The pandemic highlighted pre-existing challenges such as structural racism and inequalities; for our communities it is important not to 'return to normal' but to co-create a new, a more equal and prosperous normal for all.
Activities will include but not limited to
1. Continuation and expansion of health literacy campaign to educate the community on advisable and non-advisable health practices.
2. Fitness classes involving -but not limited to- calisthenics, yoga, zumba primarily in collaboration with our strategic partners who would provide staff and facilities.
3. Workshops to increase community resilience and address mental health issues.
4. Healthy African cooking in combination with subsidised food parcels.
5. Creative activities that encourage wellbeing, fight loneliness and create safe spaces for discussion and reflection. are able to access role models from the community and explore their heritage and culture.
Other than wellbeing activities, we will also