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.