LAKEISHA WOLF, with Ujamaa Collective.
A new initiative is being launched to identify the ways in which African-centered organizations are practicing collectivism and to find ways to enhance the practices of shared wealth and shared assets in the City of Pittsburgh. This endeavor, entitled, “The African-centered Cooperative Research Project,” is spearheaded by Ujamaa Collective, Cocoapreneur Pgh LLC, and Sankofa Research Institute. Ujamaa Collective serves as the project leader.
Although individuals of African descent may have some history of being cooperative, based on their African roots, in some ways the community has moved away from the concept of cooperation. There is a need to encourage individuals and organizations to work together and overcome the barriers to cooperation that may be exasperated by separation of African-centered individuals, organizations and businesses based on location, education levels, income levels, and social status. The goal of The African-Centered Cooperative Research Project is to build greater awareness of cooperative practices and encourage intentional cooperation.
“This research project will be used as a starting point to create greater awareness and to get our communities focused on advancing as a collective,” said LaKeisha Wolf, executive director of Ujamaa Collective, in a statement. “We expect this study to unveil areas in which our communities are strong as well as areas that we need to improve upon in terms of cooperation.”
Khamil Bailey, founder of Cocoaprenuer Pgh LLC, added: “As Black people globally start to learn more about our collective history, we learn more about the practices that made us successful in our own terms. Every time we have grown in America, it was under cooperative economics. It was important for Cocoapreneur to be part of this work because the work of this project serves to guide us more clearly into a future of collective growth and power!”
The African-centered Cooperative Research Project will be executed through a series of focus groups and an online survey. Just a few of the questions that the study will seek to answer include: Which organizations in Pittsburgh are practicing cooperation? What
is needed to better serve Black and Africana communities? What are the biggest challenges faced by nonprofits?
Black and Africana-centered organizations can access the survey through the following link:
The African-centered Cooperative Research Project has been made possible through support from The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.