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The Ubele Initiative: Weekly News

August 14th, 2023

News and information from Ubele, our partners, collaborators on their exciting opportunities and events for each week. Be sure to check in to keep up to date with industry news. Subscribe to the monthly Ubele news here



An Update from Nelly, a participant on the recent trip to Lisbon: The Ubuntu Erasmus Programme

Languages, spoken and treasured. 

Countries lived in or left behind. 

Precious times spent studying, working and experiencing. 

What does it take for one’s expertise to be recognised? 

Passion and joy constantly impact my behaviours in the most beautiful ways. Yet, over the years, I have joined many conversations structured around etiquette and unspoken rules not designed to acknowledge or celebrate my existence and energy. 

I was once invited to contribute to a short paper exploring equity in decision-making. For a fascinating topic, the exercise felt typically academic. 

On too many occasions, after having checked my privileges, after having spent time listening, investigating, researching, collaborating, after having put my whole self into writing papers that lay bare challenges, I am all too familiar with, along with solutions that would impact communities whose struggles I share, my academic and lived expertise would swiftly be dismissed. Too often, decisions would be taken following narratives I could not comprehend. 

Moreover, what good practices look like has long been documented, with my every contribution comes the harmful risk of being redundant or performative. 

In June this year, I had the immense pleasure of joining The Ubele Initiative in Lisbon for a week-long, solution-oriented conversation exploring sustainable community asset building. With intention, thirty of us - community leaders, funders and infrastructure organisations -came together to generously share our knowledge and expertise. We named challenges and contributed solutions. We listened a lot and learnt some more. All of us, entrepreneurs, artists, activists and academics contributed on equal terms to designing Agbero 2100 - Ubele’s long-term strategic intervention and programme of support to increase the sustainability of Black and racially minoritised communities in the UK. 

The fast-paced workshops, meetings, conversations and visits to local organisations with local partners were curated with brilliance! 

The large circle we sat in on most days brought safety and closeness. It enabled us to hear all our voices, to build mutual respect, to enjoy the wellbeing practices, to exchange smiles, to hear our laughter and to make meaningful connections. Commitment, creativity and joy filled the space. 

As a Black woman of mixed heritage background working in funding, I am particularly interested in understanding what gets resourced, what doesn’t, and why. 

Insight trips, learning experiences, retreats, for all Ubele’s savoir-faire, talent, creativity and dedication, are also products of need reliant on funding to catalyse them. Ubele’s strength stands in their assertiveness that intentional equitable collaborations and meaningful knowledge-sharing opportunities must move beyond funding dependency. 

Today, in the UK, high profile institutions are taking courageous steps to assess where their wealth comes from. Redistribution and reparations are making the headlines. Resourcing this work, so multi-generations who have endured historic inequities can self-determine, so power can be rebalanced and devolved, and marginalised voices heard, isn’t a tomorrow conversation. 

Nelly Koko-Konan

Events and Opportunities

Opportunity from SkyWay Charity

Young community champions, based at the Damilola Taylor centre in Peckham have been working really hard on a social action campaign, to raise awareness and funds to address food injustice in their local area. More here

Join them, for one afternoon, to help make their vision a reality! Details are on the image above.

Crohns and Colitis Research

Our Habari Menopause partner Common Collective is pitching for a project for Crohns and Colitis and needs some help.

They are looking for a small number of lived experience reps for their project for Crohns and Colitis, they want to make sure we get input from people with lived experience of the condition on our methods and process. They are particularly keen to have people from black or brown communities with the conditions as these voices are often underrepresented in the research. If you know of any communities focused on crohns and colitis/chronic illness or of anyone who might fit the bill for a lived experience role in the project, get in touch with them directly. They have suggested that it would be about 10 hours work over six months as it’s quite a quant focussed project so materials should be brief to review, but they are also open to how to make it work for someone and to make sure it’s equitable. Their website with more details and contact information is here

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