The Ubele Intiative #WeNeedAnswers Campaign for ethnic minorities during COVID-19

Written by ADEPT

10 September 2020

The Ubele Intiative #WeNeedAnswers Campaign for ethnic minorities during COVID-19


Owing to the major role played by African diaspora organisations and individuals in the African continent’s development, ADEPT, the Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform, is keen to highlight initiatives of the African diaspora based in the EU but also in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Norway. ADEPT works towards achieving a main goal: improving and strengthening the capacity and impact of African diaspora organizations involved in Africa’s development activities.

The Ubele Initiative (TUI), founded in 2014, is an African Diaspora-led intergenerational social enterprise. Their mission is to contribute to the sustainability of the Diaspora communities in the UK and build a better future. TUI supports a wide range of communities, social actions, community enterprise development and next generation leadership initiatives.

Actually, the COVID-19 is severely affecting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic “BAME”. In regards to that, Ubele launched #WeNeedAnswers campaign. It is led by young people within the Ubele network who wish to know why COVID-19 dispropotionately affects BAME.

The #WeNeedAnswers campaign and “Emerging Leaders Advocacy” project are the fruit of a conversation organized by the Director of Ubele, Michael Hamilton, through assembling the young emerging leaders. The “Emerging Leaders Advocacy” project has conceived videos by pointing out the difference between a review and an independent public enquiry and why the latter should be carried out as regards COVID-19 impact on BAME. Besides, the group jointly wrote two letters to Prime Minister Boris Johnson explaining the necessity for a public enquiry.

The first one underlines the need in general. The second restates the need considering the Public Health England report on ‘Disparities in the Risks and Outcomes of COVID-19 into the impact of COVID-19’ on BAME communities. The first letter has attracted 85 high profile signatures before to be sent to the Prime Minister and has also captured considerable national media attention and an increase in signatures daily.

Furthermore, the “Emerging Leaders Advocacy” project has organized three “Emergency Community Conversation” that debated the impact of COVID-19 on many BAME community sectors. These community Conversations notably aim to research and recruit panelists, organize programs and schedules for events, and assure smooth delivery of events. Besides, they are hosted on zoom and are live-streamed on YouTube. The first two conversations gathered more than 3000 views.

In order to ensure the success of this campaign, the emerging leaders benefitted from different training sessions such as: “How to make an effective campaign documentary”, “How to run a successful campaign on social media and how to navigate your campaign through press”, “How to organize and galvanize successful movements”, “How to plan for uncertainty in a campaign”, “History of BAME led campaigns”, and “How enquiry process work”.

The “Emerging Leaders Advocacy” Project aims to reinforce and develop the capacity and competence of young Black Minority Ethnics “BAME” changemakers. In fact, this project was implemented by eight BAME young emerging Leaders. As mentioned previously, the main motivation behind the creation of this project was the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities particularly, as it became clear that COVID-19 is having an impact out of balance on them and is worsening pre-existing inequalities. Moreover, BAME communities did not take into consideration the lived experience and historical inequalities faced by BAME people, and this according to the collected data led by the government on the impact of COVID-19.

As a result, the group decided to spotlight the project on #WeNeedAnswers Campaign. As a matter of fact, the campaign underlines the main target areas such as demystifying the understandings of BAME health, the impact of COVID-19 on BAME health, the impact of COVID-19 on migrants, and the impact of COVID-19 on BAME young people. 

As for the expected result of the “Emergency Leaders Advocacy” project, it is full independent public enquiry into how and why BAME people are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Started in March 2020, the project will be implemented until March 2021 in London. The estimated number of beneficiaries is about 10,000.

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