A new advocacy program for African diaspora leaders

February 17, 2021
by Alice Aluoch, Senior Associate, Grassroots Expansion

RESULTS African Diaspora: Building Community and Taking Action

The African Leadership Cohort (ALC) hosted a convening last week bringing together members of the African Diaspora community in RESULTS. Over ten countries were represented in what turned out to be a two-hour session of networking and deliberating on opportunities within the organization.

The ALC was launched in 2020 with the aim of increasing African Diaspora representation within the RESULTS movement and creating a safe space for individuals within this community. The cohort is currently made up of five members from three countries (Nigeria, Kenya, and Democratic Republic of the Congo) representing four states (Maryland, Washington, Maine, and Minnesota). After a year of learning about advocacy and ways to influence their communities as a cohort, last week’s event brought together even more diaspora leaders from across the U.S.

The event provided an opportunity for the Diaspora community to discuss issues that affect us directly while addressing the challenges and opportunities we experience while pushing RESULTS’ mission forward. We discussed the First 100 Days and how RESULTS volunteers are not waiting around to see what policymakers decide to do in 2021 but are getting in right away to help set a bold agenda against poverty. As a community we want to show up boldly, taking leadership scheduling meetings with members of congress, and taking active roles during lobby meetings.

We also deliberated on different leadership roles available at RESULTS and how we can step up, step in, and be part of even more opportunities. We are determined to continue elevating our voices and ensuring that our needs as a community are well represented. Our goal is to stay connected and provide support to each other while leading advocacy efforts in our own communities.

The African Leadership Cohort continues to have a huge interest in the African continent. Their immediate concerns involve ensuring that programs and funding sent to countries in Africa gets to be implemented in the right way. Last year, members of the cohort invited one of RESULTS’ international partners based in Nairobi to help explore how advocacy in the United States connects with country and regional advocacy in Kenya. This was a great opportunity to discuss the similarities and differences of advocating in different parts of the world and to compare effective strategies and tactics. As a community we want to continue enhancing those connections and finding ways to amplify the work of our partners in the United States.

In addition to each of our individual voices and leadership, we see the opportunity of using our collective voice as a community taking RESULTS actions. Some of the ideas that were floated around included having joint lobby meetings and tapping into the collective power of publishing joint media on specific global issues across different states. In all our future planning, it is clear that this community really appreciated having a space to speak freely and discuss issues directly impacting them. We are excited to work together while uplifting the actions that RESULTS takes with members of Congress to improve millions of lives around the world.

On Thursday April 16, 2020, RESULTS kicked off the African Leadership Cohort. This program is aimed at increasing African Diaspora representation within the RESULTS movement through new advocate recruitment, new leadership development, and building a creative and safe space for African Diaspora community.

The African Leadership Cohort (ALC) will center the voices and elevate the power of African immigrants within the RESULTS movement. ALC creates a space for new advocates from African Diaspora communities to connect with and support each other to lead advocacy efforts in their own communities. The ALC will also provide critical feedback and direction to RESULTS in order to improve our campaigns and opportunities to better meet the needs of African Diaspora communities. Through their action and leadership, the ALC will attract new advocates from African Diaspora communities to engage with RESULTS and bring critical resources and experiences to our grassroots network and leadership.

The cohort is comprised of six African Leaders representing four African countries (Nigeria, Kenya, Burundi, and Somalia), and representing six states (Maryland, North Dakota, Maine, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Washington state). In what will be a yearlong program, ALC Ambassadors will lead efforts to connect with their local communities about RESULTS issues and actions by attending community events, engaging local faith communities, and creating opportunities that bring their local communities together around RESULTS issues and actions.

The Leadership Cohort will receive training and support to actively share their knowledge, expertise, and experiences by taking powerful advocacy action through storytelling, face-to-face meetings with members of Congress, and generating media with both local and national diaspora media outlets. Our hope is that this cohort sheds light on areas we could improve on, existing barriers, and better ways to create space for others to lead.

“A well-lived life is one that transcends self-centered dedication. Without a doubt, the ALC Ambassadors exertion will bring at the table of advocacy various African voices, and subsequently support the noble mission of RESULTS by enhancing the well-being of millions of people’s lives in Africa.”
– Georges Budagu Makoko, ALC member

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