The Need for Leadership Development, Civic Engagement and Cross-Sector Collaboration.
by kizito Musabimana
Training future leaders in the AfriCanadian communities by bridging efforts and inspiring change across sectors.
In accordance with Canadian values, we believe that to achieve a more cohesive society everyone must have equal representation and the resources to address issues.
The African Canadian community continues to face immediate cross-sector challenges throughout Canada. As a result, it is almost impossible for members of the African Canadian community to fully commit to community building. Poverty, disorders, and lack of capacity and resources are among the many issues which prevent African Canadians – especially youth – from Civic Engagement and building long-lasting cross-sector collaboration.
Though African Canadians do possess a handful of small businesses, in examining all major sectors (business, foundations, government, nonprofit and NGO, and most importantly in Social Enterprises), it is found that African Canadians have little to no entities or leaders to compete within the larger Canadian marketplace, compared to other communities.
Through its programs, the Rwandan Canadian Healing Centre chose to focus on Leadership Training in its inaugural project, because the African Canadian community is less represented in the private and public sectors per capita, compare to all other Canadian communities across the country.
RCHC’s strategy to affect change in short-term, med-term, and long-term, was to focus on creating solutions to the key issues and challenges in the community, which will help RCHC achieve its mission of Building a Healing Centre.
These key issues are Leadership and Cross-sector Collaboration, Community Wellness, Civic Engagement and Advocacy, Media and Resources, as well as Capacity Building.
As RCHC realized how many issues needed attention, it was decided that more fruitful outcome would be attained by partnering with leading organizations and focusing on specific issues. In this way RCHC could recruit and train participants directly touched by issues affecting individuals and organizations at scale within the African Canadian community. Thus, recruiting and training is Phase-One of Alkebu-Lan Project – RCHC’s four-year leadership program.
The Leadership Training
The African Canadian Leadership Training Program is Phase One of a four phase, four-year project entitled “Alkebu-Lan Project.” The curriculum is designed to provide training to aspiring African Canadian leaders who seek to solve current and future African Canadians challenges, both in Canada and globally.
In Phase One – “African Canadian Leadership Training and e-Capacity Support” – participants will receive training and support in the following areas:
The RCHC is proud to be working with The Institute for Change Leaders (ICL), led by Olive Chow. Chow has 30 years of experience as an elected representative, along with 9 years of experience as an instructor at George Brown College and Ryerson University. She and her team of diverse and experienced community leaders will introduce participants to the fundamentals of community organizing through our customized group trainings to develop individual participants’ Theory of Change.
ICL has trained over 5,000 people on how to strategically create progressive change. The unique training involves lectures combined with small group learning. The sessions are based on a model from renowned Harvard Kennedy School professor Marshall Ganz. A key feature of the model is that students practice the organizing skills in small groups of six led by our expert section leaders.
In addition, ICL will support RCHC by offering ongoing facilitation and ensuring they are able to recruit stakeholders for individual initiatives, as well as building cross-sector collaboration.
To provide the Good-Governance Board of Director and Capacity Building Training, the RCHC is partnering with Amanuel Melles, Director of the Network for Advancement of Black Communities (NABC). NABC supports more than 70 organizations in Black communities in Ontario: Ottawa, Durham, York, Peel, Toronto, Halton, Hamilton, and Windsor.
The NABC delivers its work through convening, service coordination, knowledge mobilization, capacity building, data and measurement support and systems change.
Wellness Training - Purpose
The Wellness Training will be delivered in partnership with Casa Foundation Program and Facilities on social development goals, including workshops and practical shadowing sessions leading to the development of an initiative or idea.
RCHC shares similar objectives with Casa Foundation, including the desire to strengthen Canada’s workforce through training and skills development infrastructure. In a competitive marketplace, with disruptive technology and many other raising challenges, the required “skills of the future” are changing rapidly. It is increasingly important for young African Canadian leaders to participate fully in their duties as a citizen in business, academic and government sectors across Canada and beyond.
This course will address the following topics: Individual and community goals, self-evaluations self-discovery, self-awareness, self-determination, self-emancipation, and the crafting of individual and community visions.
Media & Resources
When it comes to starting or accelerating initiatives to advance their communities, one of the biggest challenges skilled African Canadian youth leaders face is the availability of necessary resources. RCHC’s Leadership Training connects participants to leading experts in their field, helping to build long-term mentorship relationships and provide ongoing consulting, as well as e-Capacity Support key to the program’s success.
We understand that, in a competitive world, daily challenges can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for young people seeking to establish their place in society. There is an inherent need for an umbrella organization that offers ongoing support to all African Canadian youth and women. Focused organizations are required to bridge and solve current and potential generation challenges for all Canadians.
Partnering with other African Canadian youth organizations, RCHC will build a one-of-kind Online Platform (“AfriCanadian” Resource Centre) to support the community. On this platform, studies, research, reports, books, reviews and daily media such as blogs, vlogs, podcast, comic series and community works will be accessible to all and free of charge.
Awareness & Advocacy
Finally, as part of the Leadership Training, participants will receive Brand, Media and e-Capacity Support training as part of RCHC’s Advocacy, Awareness and Community Outreach programs.
In Canadian politics, few African Canadian representatives are elected at local, regional and federal levels. It is impossible for government leaders to truly understand and solve challenges facing African Canadians. RCHC’s Leadership Training will work to develop knowledge and skills for AfriCanadian participants to improve the awareness and advocacy of issues that affect African Canadian members most.
A lack of representation in politics, business, landownership, real estate, media platforms and many other areas in private or public sectors is one of the reasons why RCHC also chose to focus on providing training in media. RCHC believes that once Canadians see the challenges that members of the African Canadian community face, then they will join hands to understand and find appropriate solutions together.
The Media and Brand Training will offer participants skills and knowledge to showcase their individual and community successes by sharing their services, products or stories to the broader Canadian and Global audience through mainstream or digital (social) media, events and via the AfriCanadian platforms.
The Leadership Training will be provided on an ongoing basis for four years for each participant. As new recruits to the program are enroll yearly, previous year participants will level up to receive advance leadership training.
After four years, program graduates will then take on the mentorship role, serving as leading experts and consultants on future projects and programs. Graduates will be expected to contribute in form of service, products or contents to the AfriCanadian Resource Centre.
Diversity and Inclusion
We are also partnering with International Rwanda Youth for Development (IRYD), who have supported RCHCH’s work from day one. The African Canadian Leadership Training will work with RCHC Chairperson, Mr. Moses Gashirabake, to provide training on the need for increased diversity and inclusion awareness through Mobilization of youth for civic and community participation, where they will be able to Address barriers to unemployment, Increase digital literacy, and accelerate their individual initiatives.
IRYD (‘I Ride’) is an independent platform engaging young Rwandan-Canadians and their friends from other communities on socio-economic issues occurring in Canada and abroad. Based in Montreal (QC), with chapters in Edmonton (AB), Kigali (Rwanda) and a global following, IRYD has mobilized over 10,000 youth in the past six years. IRYD reaches coast to coast in Canada and connects with about 70,000 young people internationally, addressing a variety of topics ranging from business to diversity and inclusion for new Canadians.
The Rwandan Canadian Healing Centre is proud to announce a grant from the Canadian Heritage to help launch Phase One of our inaugural project, designed to provide leadership training, e-Capacity support, and promote awareness of community works.
If you have organizing experience, an issue in your community you would like to champion, or expertise that would contribute towards one of our programs, we invite you to join our campaign. Go to our website and sign up at www.rchc.ca.