The Edmonton Multicultural Coalition (EMC) is wrapping up 2022 on a happy note after receiving great news from our community animators who are part of our All Together Now (ATN) Program. ATN is funded by Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). Some of the crucial goals of ATN are to:
- Build and sustain a pool of skilled community animators who can engage with members of immigrant and refugee communities to articulate their needs and aspirations and find ways to accomplish these needs and fulfil the aspirations of their communities.
- Strengthen the leadership and governance capacity of ethnocultural organizations to bid for participation in the civic and voluntary sector in a formal way.
When someone has a project idea, one of the most common obstacles is securing operational resources to make it a reality. In addition, applying for funding can be intimidating, especially for anyone who may still be adjusting to life in Edmonton and may not be familiar with the grant-writing process
For the last two years (2021-2022), the Coalition animators have focused on writing grants as one of the capacity-building activities. This activity honed their leadership skills, and they successfully acquired funding to support their communities. The Coalition provided the animators with a safe platform to collectively brainstorm project ideas and execute them as a team, including the Culture day event they accomplished with pride consecutively for two years. The animators welcomed this hands-on activity as they got a chance to write successful grants. This achievement would not have been possible without the tireless contribution of the Coalition Mentors, Dr. Abu Conteh (Sierra Leonne), Deepak Lama (Nepal), Sim Senol (Turkey) and Tigist Dafla (Eritrea/Ethiopia). As leaders of your community, you inspire your community and our Animators. The Coalition is THANKFUL to you for the selfless and passionate work that you do for all Edmontonians.
Also, it’s incredible to see long-time supporters and past animators of the Coalition share their time and expertise to mentor animators to gain the skills to succeed.
We are thrilled to share some accomplishments of our animators.
1. Successful grants:
The City of Edmonton (COE) called for proposals for Emerging Immigrant and Refugee Communities (EIRC) Program to support and promote meaningful opportunities for ethnocultural immigrant/refugee community groups and organizations to develop and implement projects that address their community-identified needs and opportunities. The Coalition animators seized this opportunity, submitted proposals, and received funding.
- Yagmur Karagold (Turkey)- EIRC Seed grant – $2000, A4HC Seed grant – $2000, NHSP- $11,250 and Culture Days – $4000. The total funding received is $17,250
- Priyanka Sharma (Nepal) – $7000 -EIRC Seed and Community impact grants
- Tarik Dafla (Eritrea/Ethiopia)- EIRC Seed grant – $2000
- Abdi Siad Omar (Somalia) – EIRC Seed grant – $2000
Our former Board President, Dr. Abu Conteh, past animator, current member, and Mentor, successfully secured the EIRC grant for $5,000 for the Sierra Leonne community.
In addition, one animator from 2017, Samira Misbah from the Oromian community, reached out to EMC for funding support, and we encouraged her to write the EIRC proposal. She submitted a proposal and was awarded $2000. She has recently started a non-profit organization. EMC plans to work with her in the future to provide additional support.
2. Community Engagement:
In addition, the Coalition animators successfully organized and facilitated focus group sessions to review and update the City of Edmonton’s Immigration and Settlement Policy C529 (2007). This was an excellent experience for the animators. Thank you very much Dr. Lucenia Ortiz, Charlene Ball and Kate Gunn, and the City of Edmonton, for supporting the animators through the animation process.
Mian Wang (China), Amna Zafar (Pakistan), Sabrina Gebreyesus (Eritrea), Simran Gulati (India), Abdi Omar (Somalia), Alejandra Diaz Flores (Mexico), Nicole Nebril (Philippines), Salamane Yameogo (French/Francophone), Priyanka Sharma (Nepal), and Martha Sellu (Sierra Leone) teamed up for the SIS project and accomplished that task that was assigned to them.
I applaud all the animators who participated along with members of their communities in the State of Immigration and Settlement (SIS) project. You have made us proud!
Please read the report here: C529 Policy Report Final Review
In the last two years, the animators received training in Community development and in facilitation skills. As a result, they engaged in community development and mobilization activities like civic engagement through elections, living wage workshops with the Greater Edmonton Alliance, Women’s Day, Housing with Health with MCHB and the University of Alberta, to name a few.
The animators are very appreciative of the opportunities provided to them. Here are some quotes from them:
Priyanka Sharma (Nepal):
“The process of writing grant gave an experience of a rich, intercultural cultural teamwork whereby I learned strategies by observing people at work, their approaches specific to their cultural contexts. The celebration of the Culture days together with different ethic communities was very enriching as the values of equity, diversity and inclusion was put to practice in real time and space. Coalition provided me with good support. We got city grants via Coalition to conduct activities within our communities like SIS project and culture days participation. These activities helped build community engagement and facilitated further planning of future programs. The Coalition provided a platform for collaboration and partnerships with other communities within Edmonton. This has shaped a lot of our programs going forward.”
Martha Sellu (Sierra Leone):
“With EMC as a backbone to help me with my leadership skills. Yes, EMC has helped me to be more independent and gained confidence with my community work.”
“My work with the community as a Community Animator has been rewarding and fulfilling and this has helped me improve on my leadership skills, my relationships with my community members and my communicate skills. I was a good listener but working with my community has made me an active listener as well. My cultural competence has also improved through my interaction of different other Animators from different cultures. I am more patient than I was. I also had the chance to advocate for members as well. All these skills have strengthened my professional commitment to work with my team and my community.“
Yagmur Karagold (Turkey):
“I did not know how to write a budget, but thanks to the Coalition for patiently teaching me and walking the process with me.”
Tigist Dafla, Tarik Dafla and Martha Eurgecho (Eritrea and Ethiopia)
“The Multicultural Coalition has been a big support to our Community. This is partly because of the commitment shown by the leadership that always includes our Community and helps us to strengthen our leadership and always includes us in the leadership-building activities and provides a platform to participate in many activities the Coalition is involved in by making sure we show our culture using art and music and also, making sure we are learning about other cultures and contribute to the Canadian society. The Coalition is always part of the process and with a lot of support. It helped our Community with the capacity building by empowering the animators to showcase their culture and feel they are part of Canadian society. Our animators have gained confidence in public speaking, which is an outstanding achievement. The leadership is always there to support the animators in every way, be it through activities, writing grant proposal, or being part of the Multicultural Coalition activities.
We, the Eritrean and Ethiopian team, have been grateful for all the support we have been getting from Mitali. “
We are thrilled and proud of their efforts, dedication, and passion for their communities. This is just one of the many ways demonstrating the community animator model is very effective. Its positive impact is evident not only with the current animators but for those who apply the skills they learned many years after moving on from our program.
To learn more about our program’s community animator model, visit our page at www.emcoalition.ca/all-together-now/. Our dream is to have many more community animators serve as many ethno-cultural communities as possible in Edmonton, which we proudly call our Home away from Home.
For any organizations or funders that would like to support the growth of our Animator program, please contact me, Mitali Banerjee, Executive Director, at email@example.com.