Second Quarter Evaluation Report: Is the African Community Hamburg better off than it was Two Years Ago?
Nine months ago, the African community in Hamburg gave us the mandate to represent them in the Integrationbeirat. Six months after the inauguration ceremony, I am compelled to up-date the public on our activities thus far up to, the 2nd quarter. The idea is to compare the talk with the walk!
As representatives of Africans in the Integration Council, Sylvania Gerlich and I set out to work relentlessly towards raising the profile of the African community not only within the council but in Hamburg as a whole.
Our designation in the 53 member council as contact person for; “Anti Recht extremist”(Sylvania Gerlich) and speaker for;” Antidiscrimination and Intercultural Opening”(myself) is a testimony of the seriousness of the responsibility bestowed on us. To this end, Sylvania Gerlich was on the job on 2nd June 2012 when she was nominated to the podium to address Hamburg at Rathausmarkt on the occasion of a demonstration against Neo-Nazis in Hamburg. Three other colleagues of ours were active in taking a stand against racism and discrimination in whatever form or act.They include; Ijaz Ahmad (Speaker, Arbeitsgruppe „Zusammenhalt stärken“); Kenneth Gbandi (Speaker Arbeitsgruppe „Antidiskriminierung/Interkulturelle Öffnung“); Mehmet Keskin (Speaker, Arbeitsgruppe„Arbeitsmarkt/Ausbildung/Wirtschaft“) and Anna Thyssen (Speaker, Arbeitsgruppe „Bildung von Anfang an/Sprache“) Please read full text of the event by clicking or copy and past the link below.
Essentially, we were able to notify Hamburg about the resolve of the African community to steadily move away from the days of isolation to that of active participation in every issue that concerns us.
On an individual basis, my office has within the last six months, created the African Consultative Forum and organized three wonderful events. “ACF” is a unique Think Tank Group for the community. ACF is structured to understudy all the sector of Hamburg Behörden (ministries) in relations to the needs of the community. Members include my humble self as Speaker. Others include Mr. Marouane Snoussi, Dipl. Ing. And Chairman MS EDUCATION Bildung & Integration e. V. as acting Deputy Speaker. Others include Dr. Frank Kwaw Codjoe as Co-ordinating Secretary, Mr. Mahamane Diarra, Unternemen für Bildung, responsible for Bildung & Ausbildung/Arbeit und Wohnung, Dr. David Okeke, a renowned statistician, responsible for Wissenschaft & Forschung, Dr. Bernard Doku, responsible for Health & Consummer Protection, Madame Eileen-Mary Posch Oduro, responsible for Labour, Social and Family Affairs, Integration/Economy & Finance, Mr. Clement Klutse, MBA, responsible for Labour, Social and Family Affairs, Integration/ Economy & Finances, Mr. Eze Nosiri, responsible for Labour, Social and Family Affairs, Integration/Economy & Finance, Mr. Benjamin Jacobs, responsible for Police, Justice & Internal Affairs (Asylum ), Mr. Chris Ezeh, responsible for Media, Dr. Victor Njimah, responsible for Media and Mr. Salia Adams responsible for Youth, Sports & Culture.
On the “ACF” Advisory Board Members we have the caliber of Madame Caroline Seigert-Kieni, representative of Eastern & Southern Africa, Madame Ba Hawa Fofana, representative of West Africa (excluding) Nigeria und Ghana, Mr. Marouane Snoussi, Dipl. Ing. representative of North Africa & Professional Groups; Imam Mohamed Awal, representative of Muslim Association; Pastor Ossia Okeke, representative of African Christian Council; Mr. Jude Ogunnaya, representative of the Central Nigerian Union and Mr. Anane Kakyire representative of Ghana Union.
My office has organized two successful information events. The first on Friday, 27th April 2012. The Theme was “Police Discriminations and the African community, Job opportunities for African immigrants and Einbürgerung and the community”. Guest speakers included;, Wolfgang Kopitzsch, Polizeipräsident Hamburg; Dr. Christoph Bushart, Leiter Behörde für Inneres und Sport Einwohner-Zentralamt, assisted by Frau Stephan. Dr. Christoph Bushart was standing in for Senator Neumann. Others include Sönke Fock Director, Agentur für Arbeit Hamburg and Nikolaus Haufler, Integrationspolitischer Sprecher der CDU-Bürgerschaftsfraktion Hamburg.
The Polizeipräsident invited Africans to join the police and pledge to do everything within the limit of the law to support these aspirations. A recruitment info event is planned for October. We also got tips and support on Jobs and naturalization/ citizenship acquisition (Einburgerung).
German School System and the African Community
The second event “German School System and the African Community took place on the 24th August 2012 which paraded the likes of Irene Appiah (Schulbehörde: Responsible for bringing in role models into the schools); Sally Mary Riedel (Young Mentors for equality at school, Projekt “yes”); Marie Hanne-Akele (Alleinerziehende Mutter, aus dem Film „Faiafina“); Franziska Amaraegbu Special Advisor to Hon. Kenneth Gbandi und Projektmanagerin (Moderator); Regine Hartung (Leiterin der Beratungsstelle „Interkulturelle Erziehung“ und Dr. Alexei Medvedev (Leiter Projekt „Eltern vor Ort“, Koordinierungsstelle Weiterbildung und Beschäftigung e.V.).
What did we achieve?
Tips that would support parents having problem with the German School system, information about institutions where one can get help and how to go about it. We further the parents , that in the event their Bosses fail to exempt them from work for school activities, we will fight the case for them.
New Face of Africa in Hamburg: A Path Finder
Furthermore, my office in collaborate with ACF published a brochure „New Face of Africa in Hamburg, a part finder. This brochure is a detailed compilation of all the registered and accredited Associations in Hamburg, the role and duties of Intergration Council, what ACF is and who the members are, list of all the important institutions in Hamburg relivant to the Africans including Churches, African business, Educational and Job support institutions and African oriented Media e.t.c. It is a must have for every African in Hamburg!
ACF Meets Political Parties in Hamburg
ACF have also put in motion a mechanism for periodic meetings with all the political parties in Hamburg. Our demand is simple. Support the community and we will support your party in return. We are lobbing the political parties to put at least Africans on their party on their election list and properly integrate members of the community in various political parties. The first meeting took place on 21 August 2012 in Hamburger Rathaus. It was strategic to start with the CDU because as a member of SPD we wanted to make the point that it is about the community and not any political affiliations.
Africa Day 2012 in Hamburg
Two wonderful events took place in May to mark Africa Day 2012. One organized by Sylvania Gerlich in collaboration with IMIC in the Afternoon at Wandsbeck Markt and one by me in collaboration with ACFin the Evening at Le Royal Hamburg, where the cross section of Who is Who in the community and the political establishment attended to inaugurate the ACF and pay tribute to Africans /African Day 2012). Two very wonderful events for a big continent, to use the words of Dr. Bernard Doku.
The way Forward:
It should be noted that there are constitutional limitations to what we could do as members of the intergrationsbeirat, and our resolve to pursue a full recognition of the input of Africans in the decision making of the city of Hamburg can only be possible when there is a commensurate partnership with all stakeholders which in this case includes every African in Hamburg. Instead of waiting for us to fail, please join us to make it work.
The roles of the Pastors and the Churches in the life of our community both as spiritual and moral guidance are undisputable facts. We therefore enjoin our Pastors to assume their traditional role of being custodians of the community. They should include to their primary task of spiritual guidance other all-important packages like; encouraging educational pursuit and guidance on social-economic and political development. It is my view that only an educated, social-economically and politically healthy community is capable of advancing Gods given potentials leading to the fulfilment of Gods purpose for us in Germany and on earth.
The unity of the churches, the pastors, families and associations are fundamental for our collective progress in Hamburg.
In all honesty we as representatives at the Council are only a mouthpiece for the interest and concern of the community. If we fail to get involved in our various organizations be it Ghana Union, Nigeria Union, Mail, Togolese or Kenyan Union we will at the end have a not so strong community irrespective of the work of both of us at the integrationbeirate.
Let it be known that Hamburg is already the city other Africans in Germany like to envy and we cannot afford not to keep the pace. While we lay no claim to the monopoly of knowledge, we would welcome constructive criticisms that would be followed with options on better ways and means of reaching the set goals. The Media and the community leaders should particularly see that they highlight more on the things that unite us rather than things that divide us. Yes a lot of work needs to be done but we can all agree that the community is better off than we were two years ago. With joint commitment, we will get there!!!
Hon. Kenneth Gbandi (Bsc, M.P.S)
African Representative Hamburg Senate Intergration Council
CEO HiBC/Editor in Chief African Heritage print and Online Magazine
Producer Afrika Outlook TV segument (TIDE Hamburg)