Research Project puts Spotlight on Cooperative Economics: Organizers Prepare for 2nd Phase of the African Centered Cooperative Research Project

family sitting on grass near building

PITTSBURGH /PRNewswire/ — This past July, The African Centered Cooperative Research Project was announced as a new initiative to identify 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. The project will soon be entering its second phase, which includes hosting Sankofa Circles over the next few months. These Sankofa Circles will be held via Zoom and will be focused on different topics found in the survey responses. (It will provide an opportunity for dialogue on topics related to Cooperative Economics.) The African Centered Cooperative Research Project is a cooperative effort between Ujamaa Collective, Cocoapreneur LLC and Sankofa Research Institute.

“There has been a legacy of cooperative efforts between Black businesses here in Pittsburgh. The value of ‘we are who we seek to serve’, has shown up in the efforts of our collective ancestor Ella Baker, who contributed to the Young Negro’s Cooperative League (they held their first meeting in Pittsburgh) along with several other organizations, and is present in Ujamaa Collective’s value system today, says LaKeisha Wolf, Executive Director of Ujamaa Collective.

“Black cooperation is about protecting the Black community and its future,” says Assata Richards, Director of Sankofa Research Institute. “We want to engage Black people who are already participating in Black cooperation, keep the conversation going, and awaken others to this concept.”

As the organizers move into the Focus Group Phase of the project, the Survey Links will continue to be open to gather as much input from the community as possible.

Survey participants will be included in a raffle for gift certificates to various local Black businesses, with a grand prize of a $250 gift certificate from Ujamaa Collective in each survey pool. The deadline for the next raffle is Saturday, October 1st, 2022.

Black and Africana-centered organizations and individuals can select the appropriate survey link below:

Survey for Groups – businesses & organizations who can inform on state of cooperation and join a focus group:

Survey for Individuals – to inform community Sankofa conversations to build knowledge and context for cooperation:

The African-centered Cooperative Research Project has been made possible through support from The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.

About Ujamaa Collective

Ujamaa Collective is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded with a social mission to act as a catalyst to advance Africana Women by providing a fair-trade marketplace for cultural, artistic and entrepreneurial exchange through cooperative economics in the Historic Hill District and beyond. “We lift as we climb.” The concept of Ujamaa has roots in Tanzania and is borrowed from the fourth principle of the holiday Kwanzaa, meaning “cooperative economics: to build and maintain our own shops, stores and other businesses and to profit from them together.” In 2008, the founders of Ujamaa Collective used this concept to put forth a call to action for Black women to come to the table and share ideas about business and community development, which heavily included Africana examples of financial exchange.

About Cocoaprenuer Pgh, LLC

Cocoaprenuer Pgh, LLC was founded in February 2018. The mission of Cocoapreneur is to foster an environment of economic prosperity to ensure more sustainable neighborhoods for the historically African American communities and neighborhoods around Pittsburgh, PA. Through support to businesses via advertising, marketing and consulting, Cocoapreneur aims to normalize the idea of entrepreneurship. We want to make becoming a business owner a more feasible and attainable goal for African Americans in the greater Pittsburgh area.

Sankofa Research Institute

Using Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR), Sankofa Research Institute unites professional researchers, local community stakeholders and leaders in their goals. Through Training, Mentoring and Collaborative Dialogues, SRI prepares community members to partner in research with academics and stakeholders. We work as a partner and catalyst within the community during the research development and implementation process. The resulting evidence-based research establishes credibility for the community in their search for resources to mobilize the changes that will provide residents with dignity and opportunities to live more meaningful lives.

SOURCE The African Centered Cooperative Research Project