OUR PROJECTS

We believe that transformative change is only possible when people are civically engaged in issues that affect their lives.

On a similar token, the success of community development and participatory governance depends on both a robust state and an active civil society with healthy levels of civic engagement. Our culturally-responsive civic engagement programs provide our communities an opportunity to inform leaders of established institutions about how to engage newcomers, and help influence and develop resources for increasing their active participation.


At the heart of CAIRO’s mission is a value-driven community organizing that awakens the vibrant and potent force within the AIR communities by helping them identify pressing issues, and then building their capacity to solve problems and foster social integration.


CAIRO strongly believes in using activism and grassroots organizing as a foundation for building resilience in our AIR communities. Through our events and forums, our organizing team engages Oregon’s African diverse communities with the issues that affect them and mobilizes them to take action.


Our grassroots organizing is founded on and informed by our endless endeavor to:


Engage: We tap into the rich veins of our diverse communities’ traditions, wisdom, knowledge, and experience to illuminate and consequently eliminate all barriers to social integration.

Educate: We foster community awareness, discourse, and support for issues that enhance the quality of life.

Empower: We build partnerships with African CBO’s and allied organizations to ensure the equitable growth of our society at all levels.

The SPACE Project


Building a SPACE (Schools Parents And Communities Engaged For African Student Success)


Cairo SPACE Agents work closely with African students, parents and schools to build spaces where children feel safe, supported and ready to learn.


We work with African immigrant students in classrooms, within families and in the broader community.


We address barriers related to language and culture by hiring SPACE Agents who speak a variety of African languages and who understand the experience of immigration and diverse African cultural perspectives and values


School-based/linked culturally specific/responsive programs in Washington County and Reynolds School District

SPACE Agents/Cultural Navigators work under this program

The SPACE (Schools, Parents and Communities Engaged) Project provides mentoring and tutoring support for school-aged students, while offering training opportunities to the near-adults (parents and teachers) to ensure students’ success. The diagram below helps our parents and schools visualize CAIRO’s impacts agenda and a bold theory of change, emphasizing the big picture of what it takes to improve outcomes for our African immigrants’ youths in Central Minnesota.

CAIRO’s SPACE Framework

The focus on building the capacity for our theory of change reflects a belief that moving the ‘ small gear’ is critical to achieve a sustainable impact, because that’s the only way to address the current trends in our schools in Central MN. We will employ this framework to emphasize that addressing one outcome (e.g., higher graduation rates) in an attempt to improve outcomes for our youths requires the engagements and thus the support of both parents, schools and the wider communities at large.

CAIRO Academy


The issues we seek to address- academic success, achievement gaps, diversity, equity and social inclusion- are all determined by access and the quality of opportunities we are given in the earliest years of our lives. At the heart of our service advocacy is a community-engaged initiative and action in Early Learning. The CAIRO Academy was launched in early 2016 to close the gaps and services in Early childhood education for African children and families in Multnomah and Washington Counties.

CAIRO strongly believes that our students at the Academy will have improved their social skills prior to graduation, will have less or no need for special education instruction during subsequent school years, and attain better grades with enhanced attention spans. We work with a variety of partner agencies and foundations in ensuring access to quality preschool for all children in the regions we work in and communities we serve. Our Early Learning services and advocacy deeply seeds from the fact that Early Learning gaps emerge early for disadvantaged students. We work with pregnant mothers and children aged up-to 3 years through parenting education and home visiting services where we introduce literacy and parent-child interaction in early stages. We also aim to get students off to a good start in our preschools, so they can have successful transitions through K-12 and college to career. We build pride in heritage and strong foundations through our CAIRO Academy that integrate the African culture, early literacy, and parent training. Bilingual, bicultural African community members welcome families and are integral part of all of our CAIR0 Academy programs and leadership.