The NILE African Development Organisation - Refugee Council
August 28, 2009

The NILE African Development Organisation

Our latest case study: the NILE African Development Organisation in Bradford has been working with the Basis Project on fundraising, financial management, governance and project development.

Transcript

David Ndiwanyu:

“My name is David Ndiwanyu and I am the director of the Nile African Development Organisation, a charity based in Bradford. It was set up two years ago to help refugees and asylum seekers and international students from Africa arriving in West Yorkshire.

“We help them by signposting to services, offering advice and support and by helping them to access mainstream services.

“Having come into the country as an asylum seeker and gaining refugee status, I knew that there were things other refugees needed to help them. I realised there were many agencies in Bradford to help people, but very few focused on refugees and asylum seekers. That’s why I and other members of the community, who are all refugees, decided to set up the organisation.

“We support people if they have, say, health issues. For example, we have an HIV project whereby we refer people to the relevant services in Bradford for testing and screening. The nurses also come here, working closely with us, bringing in leaflets and fliers and talking to people. Soon we are going to start a testing centre here using the new tests which allow you to know if you are HIV-positive within a few hours.

“We also have the Nile African Community Ambassadors project, whereby we encourage our members to be part of the decision-making bodies of all these large service providers.”

Hussein Mahamed:

“My name is Hussein Mahamed and I’m the Basis Project Organisational Development Officer for Yorkshire and Humberside and the North East.

“The current work I’m doing with the Nile in Bradford is capacity building, looking at the four key Basis Project areas (financial management, fundraising, governance and project development). We’re currently working on the development plan, so I’m looking at the first draft with David and the management committee. I have to make a few changes and then we’ll discuss in the next few weeks how we can actually implement the development plan.

“The work that I do with David varies from week to week. For example, we recently worked together on the African Achievement awards that Nile organised and was very successful. So it’s not straightforward, it’s not a straight line; their development needs vary from week to week. I respond to their emerging issues, as well as working to the development plan and looking to the future.”

David Ndiwanyu:

“Hussein comes here almost on a weekly basis. He comes into the office and supports us in a number of activities. He looks through what we are doing, tells us where we are going wrong and how we can develop and gives us training on management issues. He also advises us on how we can access funds, giving us information about where we can apply.

“The other thing he does for us is to bring in people from different agencies who are able to support us, which is very important. They can tell us what is happening across the region and nationwide.

“All the refugee organisations I’ve spoken to who have worked with Hussein are very impressed and happy with what Hussein is doing, the work they are doing with him and what they have achieved through it. He also goes a long way off the map – he’s on the mobile phone 24/7, people call him up any time!”

Hussein Mahamed:

“One of the things that’s really good about this RCO is that they work in partnership with other RCOs. They look out for other smaller organisations that are emerging and take the time out to support them.”

David Ndiwanyu:

“The Nile African Development Organisation runs a social enterprise which is a small shop selling beauty and hair products to the African communities and anyone who wants to buy them. Also, we sell exotic foods – African foods – and we are thinking of setting up a money transfer system and a shipping agency to help people ship goods back to Africa.

“All that is just a way of generating some income that will come back to the community.”

Hussein Mahamed:

“I think David and this RCO have demonstrated that social enterprise can add value to the organisation. It’s not only about making profit, it adds value in terms of learning business skills, negotiation skills etc”

David Ndiwanyu:“Social enterprise may be something people are talking about now but in Africa, coming from Uganda, people definitely did that a long time ago. I remember my mother and a group of women contributing money and giving it to one person and that person sets up a business and that business supports the whole community. Up to this day people in the grassroots of Africa are doing the same thing. So if we tackle that seriously here also, it will change lives and change a lot of things. So it’s a very serious thing that we have to follow through.”