In its efforts to bring African associations as well as Christian and Muslim organisations together, The African Network of Germany (TANG) convened its first network meeting on Sunday 20 November 2022.
The event, attended by 22 participants who represented 15 groups, took place in the expansive office of TANG in the federal capital.
In his welcome address, Femi Awoniyi, the head of TANG office in Berlin, said the unity of African groups in Berlin would profit all of them as there’s synergy in unity. He introduced TANG and its goals and activities and emphasised that the purpose of convening the network was to create a platform for the organised African community to work closely together for the benefit of their people.
“TANG wants to work more closely with the associations and churches as well as Muslim groups to highlight the needs of the community and tackle them together,” Awoniyi, who is also the president of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Germany, explained.
“Furthermore, TANG wants to support the associations in their work and especially open up the project world to them,” he added.
Hervé Tcheumeleu, chairman of the Berlin-Brandenburg regional network of TANG, spoke about the beginning of TANG and its work over the last nine years. He emphasised the advantages of African associations working together.
The participants talked about their work and issues concerning Africans in Berlin that deserves attention.
Pastor Alimamy Sesay of the United Brethren in Christ Church spoke about the situation of elderly Africans, many of whom live alone and rarely go out. Pastor Sesay talked about several instances of some elderly Africans dying unnoticed in their apartments only for their remains to be discovered days or weeks after their demise.
Pastor Sesay therefore called for an African community initiative to create opportunities for elderly Africans to meet each other and other members of the community regularly.
Another participant, Kerstin Njoya of Bruder Hilfe Social Development Initiative, spoke on the increasing number of Africans sleeping rough in the city due to homelessness and she called for a community initiative to tackle the problem.
The chairman of Ghana Council Berlin, Mr Kwadwo Agyei, emphasised the need to clearly define the focus of the TANG network in Berlin and ensure that its work is broad-based and not driven by individual interests.
Femi Awoniyi repeatedly assured the participants that TANG worked in a result-oriented way and had amply demonstrated this in the last nine years.
Dr Sylvie Nantcha, the Chairperson of TANG who joined the meeting via zoom, said Christian and Muslim communities were important in integration work due to their frequent contact with the community. For example, church members meet weekly and membership is intergenerational.
She talked about the work of TANG and that last year the network cooperated with more than 250 African associations, most of which are based in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Among other things, Dr Nantcha invited the participating groups to use the seminar rooms of the Berlin office free of charge and to present themselves on TANG’s Facebook page.
To keep the exchange among the participants active, Awoniyi said a WhatsApp group and a monthly e-newsletter will be launched shortly. The next meeting of the network is planned for early next year.
Among others who participated in the meeting are Daphne Hora-Decker of the Sierra Leone Community, Mazi Obiora Nweke, who represented the Jesus Miracle Harvest Church, Tiranke Diallo of Mama Afrika, Mary Bruder of Bruder Hilfe, Dr Peter Agwi and Elder Kingsley Ogbebor of CFT Church and Fred Nowacki of Ghana Council Berlin.
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