April 12, 2022 9:28 AM

New Funding Will Support African Community Institute’s Efforts in Increasing Refugee Participation in Advocacy 

Package of support from national collaborative spotlights the organization’s local, national leadership in amplifying refugee voices

Des Moines, IA- The African Community Institute is pleased to announce its selection to receive financial and technical support from We Are All America. This support will work to ensure that all residents of the Des Moines area participate fully in the social, civic, and economic fabric of the community, including those who came as refugees.

Selected from a national, competitive process, the African Community Institute is one of three organizations that will be receiving $3,000 worth of coaching and technical assistance support valued at an additional $20,000. 

“The African Community Institute is working on a variety of needs focused on Sudanese, Congolese, Somalian, and Kenyan refugees and immigrants in our community. Sometimes the challenge is getting communication from national organizations to learn about all the work happening here. The support from the We Are All America - Opportunity for All Table will be useful for us to be able to connect to a large national network who can further assist us in our projects,” said Dhoal Iarjin, African Community Institute Director. 

“When we invest in refugee and immigrant leadership, we are investing in building generations of community leaders who can help us build a better future where we all belong. For us, investing in refugee and immigrant leadership means directly funding the efforts & initiatives being led by refugees and immigrants, and uplifting the work that is being done locally that promotes inclusive and diverse communities across the country,” said Basma Alawee, We Are All America Campaign Manager. 

As part of their package of support, Russian Speaking Community Council will be provided with technical assistance and a platform for sharing their work nationally from a consortium of organizations that also includes Refugee Advocacy Lab, Refugee Congress, Refugees International, National Partnership for New Americans, International Refugee Assistance Project, Church World Service and International Rescue Committee.

African Community Institute will also receive membership and coaching support from Welcoming America, a national nonprofit organization that works to support communities by building a welcoming society where every person, including immigrants, can fully contribute and shape our shared prosperity. 

"We are pleased to elevate and support the important work of the African Community Institute and help other organizations learn from their efforts to enable the voices of refugees and immigrants to shape community decisions. We hope others will join us by ensuring resources are invested in this next generation of community leaders, so that everyone can belong and thrive in the place we call home, no matter where we come from,” said Rachel Perić, Executive Director of Welcoming America.

The support is part of a broader focus on the vital role played by Ethnic Community-Based Organizations (ECBOs), a term used to refer to organizations with strong ties and leadership in refugee and immigrant communities. ECBOs play a vital role in strengthening trust, participation, and access for residents frequently excluded from community decision-making processes and service provision. As a result, ECBOs and their capacity are foundational to the infrastructure for communities to be welcoming places for all. 

 

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African Community Institute: 

African Community Institute (ACII) is a non-profit organization seeking to increase the educational skills of refugees and immigrants. We advocate for increased participation from refugees and immigrants in our diverse communities across Iowa. We provide English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, citizenship workshops, and tutoring for youth. 

About We Are All America: 

We Are All America (WAAA) is a Campaign led by refugee and immigrant grassroots organizations housed at the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), who work to uphold and strengthen our nation’s commitment to welcome and protect those seeking refuge in the United States. Our work is organized around three core pillars: Promoting inclusive state and local policies; Strengthening our federal protection systems; and, at our core, Opportunity for All, which centers on the leadership of refugee & immigrant organizers.