The Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel (SSAP) and North Wales African Society (NWAS) will use their £64,625 National Lottery Community Fund grant to fund the Jamii Project, a project to support African communities affected by COVID-19.

The project aims to foster community spirit and community interdependence between and within African communities, to help them cope with and mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

Over the next nine months, the Jamii Project (‘Jamii’ means ‘community’ in Africa’s most spoken language, Swahili) aims to address and tackle COVID-19 related issues at grassroot level in Cardiff and Bangor.

The project will be able to provide culturally appropriate food parcels, tackle digital exclusion, increase sense of community through the ‘I can’, ‘Get creative’ and ‘I need help’ campaigns, as well as providing accurate and up to date information for members of the community.

Selina Moyo, Director of SSAP, said: “This project is aiming to support African communities who, besides the health perspective, have been adversely affected by the ripple effects of the pandemic, especially from an economic point of view.”

The Welsh and UK Governments have acknowledged evidence that COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on people with BAME backgrounds; many of the health or social care workers who sadly died from COVID-19 were from BAME backgrounds.

Medical research highlights that while the BAME population accounts for 14% of the UK population, it accounts for more than 34% of critically ill patients. People from BAME backgrounds have higher rates of underlying health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and this may be why they have increased vulnerability. Research also suggests a high prevalence of health and economic inequalities within the BAME population that may need addressing in the longer term.

Studies show that people of colour are also substantially more likely to be unemployed, underemployed or precariously employed, which makes them especially likely to undertake hazardous, temporary or gig economy work. These types of jobs have been largely affected by the pandemic.

Members of the community in North Wales, especially rural areas, will be supported through the North Wales Africa Society. Dr Salamatu Fada, Chair of NWAS said: “Jamii Project provides NWAS the opportunity to support African students and local residents to ease the socio-economic hardships resulting from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

John Rose, Director Wales for The National Lottery Community Fund said: “The National Lottery Community Fund is delighted to support the Sub Sahara Advisory Panel and North Wales African Society in delivering this important project to the BAME community. We are continuing to receive a high number of requests for grants from across Wales, showing just how resilient our communities are and how important National Lottery funding is for groups during this difficult time.”

Photos: Graphics for the ‘I can’ & ‘I need help’ campaigns, along with the ‘Jamii Project’ poster – the project is being launched on the 1st of August 2020

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