How has this panel helped Welsh-African Diaspora groups integrate over the last decade?
The Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel (SSAP) was formed in 2009 when African diaspora groups met in Wales to consider how they could collectively support international development. Over the last ten years the Sub-Saharan Advisory Panel has expanded to the point where it now works with 35 Welsh-African diaspora groups and the Welsh government.
“To understand the contribution that SSAP has made to the way we think about development in Wales, its best to understand it as a network”, said Chris Jones, chair of the partnership board at Hub Cymru Africa. “[The SSAP does a] whole range of work from refugee rights to gender equality to culture and arts to education, the environment and health.”
As well as these many issues, the SSAP has worked with Watch-Africa to engage the public through films to issues from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to Sexual Reproductive Health. As well as this, Food Adventure works with the SSAP to provide services through internationally recognised training on issues of food production and food safety.
“[17,000 African Diaspora members] is something like one half of one percent of the Welsh population. For such a tiny group, there’s been one hell of a big influence and I think that impact really needs to be recognised” said Chris.
“Doing [SSAP] training taught me my rights as a woman and where I stand in society.” Said Heba Mohamed, now a young leader at SSAP. After this training she became a young leader and was able to show young women their rights and where they stand in society and how they shouldn’t be afraid of who they are.
“The thing that I treasure about the SSAP is really getting us to think outside the box and looking at partnerships and who we can work with, who we can support, who we can mentor,” said Carol Adams, who works for Food Adventure.
“A small organisation can only go so far but when you network and have really strong partnerships, I really think that’s when we’ll have a global impact and we can start to see that in Cameroon.”
“We are keen to make sure that we live in an inclusive society where everybody feels welcomed and feels supported and feels pleasured. You are all Welsh people in my eyes now and I’m very proud to have you as welsh citizens,” said Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for International relations and the Welsh language.
African diaspora communities make a huge contribution to building a vibrant and inclusive Wales, the kind of nation that we all want and deserve to live in, said Helen Mary Jones, Assembly member for mid and west Wales and key sponsor.