Xavier Project officially unveiled their new face of operations and visions to Cohere on Wednesday 2nd. The International organization founded in 2008 by a UK teacher has been for the last 14 years on the Frontline of championing refugee skills and learning opportunities in rural and urban areas of East and Central Africa.
Edmund Page the founder and a former UK teacher had first come to Africa as a volunteer , It was during the volunteership process at a local community school in Uganda that he founded Xavier Project , Ed later would go back to London to work as teacher for2 years and in 2011 he came back to concentrate more on Xavier Project as the CEO .
Through the able hands of Ed, The organisation has been able to notably support over 13,000 children to access school since 2008 and 21,383 Individuals supported with learning and basic needs provisions in 2020. Indeed Xavier Project has not gone unnoticed with many refugees grateful to the organisation for access to a secondary scholarship which enabled them to continue with their education.
We asked one of the Scholarship Beneficiaries, Nasir Jacob who is also the Nawezaa graphic designer & video editor, and this is what he said about the organisation:
“Xavier Project, now COHERE, has made an impact in my education life since the organisation was able to sponsor me through my Secondary education up to completion.”
“I am indeed grateful for the opportunity that I got and it was life-changing to me since secondary education was a door that opened further opportunities for me in higher learning ”Nasir added.
Transition to supporting refugee led responses , organisations and initiatives ;
Since the emergence of COVID-19 , Refugees have battled the adverse effects of the virus with many organization closing in the early years of the infection , Thousands of refugees had difficult time to access vital services , and while the major organizations were closing their offices , refugee led organizations were opened , they continued to serve the refugees and communities with access to food, personal protective equipment’s as well as access to important information on the virus, the refugees defied the odds and were believing that they had something to offer to change their difficult situations , Xavier Project has been one of the leading organizations supporting refugee organizations by Capacity training through a course known as Capacity Strengthening and Sharing Course (CSSC) , Just in 2022 , The organization has managed to incredibly transfer $ 500,000 as direct funding to refugee-led organizations . This belief and investment to refugees to lead responses as equal partners has been the foundation of the New Xavier Project , Now Cohere .
So what is Cohere and what does it mean to refugees.. The Organization took to social media and emails to officially launch Cohere , According to the CEO , Edmund Page tweeted
“Today(Wednesday 2nd) marks a new chapter for our organization. At Cohere (formerly Xavier Project) we are as committed as ever to working with refugees. We want to see a world in which everyone has control over their own future. Join us on our journey” .
Cohere is a new joint force between Xavier Project & a France based organization called Urban Refugees Organization , both organizations have similar ideas and principles in supporting the growth of refugee-led organizations through coordination; capacity strengthening; direct funding; and advocacy. This New identity was formalized in early 2022 where the two organizations so it fit since they both had similar ambitions on redefining refugees to combine their resources , expertise, skills , experiences , funds and goals to ensuring they break the dependency syndrome in refugees and transform them to people who can be incharge of their futures ,Moreover be able to lead self fulling and reliant lives when they are adequately supported and empowered. In the official organization communication, the organization announced that and I quote
“We have been partnering with refugee-led organisations in East Africa since 2008. We have learnt that refugees should be in control when it comes to decisions that affect their lives. Last year, our 25 RLO partners were able to support over 24,479 refugees and members of the host community with crucial services and access to meaningful opportunities.”
Refugees believe that if the dependency ratio by refugees can be smashed or the perception of refugees being just aid seekers can be changed then they can effectively contribute to the solutions that affect them and the communities and hence be incontrol of their futures.
In Kenya and so the wider East Africa, Organizations led by refugees or people on the move have contributed significantly in helping the humanitarian sector respond to the refugee crisis in the community and they are the right people to be given their power to change the situations as they understand their situations better than anybody else. Youth Voices Community an RLO in Nairobi and partner to Cohere launched a campaign with support from Data4Change called the thefuturewithwakimbizi which embodies the actual hopes and the kind of future refugees indeed want. As far as refugees being able to lead self fulfilling lives in host countries is concerned, their voices must be heard and it is the right thing to do.
Today , 4/3/2022 at 4Pm EAT , The organisation will be having a public Q& A about their rebrand , If interested to learn about Cohere and their plains , Register here
By: Jean Marie Ishimwe
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