Collective work and responsibility
Project Ujima was established in 2011 by community leaders and the residents of Akron’s Buchtel Community, with a three-year, $674,000 start-up grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to pilot an innovative community engagement initiative. Project Ujima is now entering its fifth year serving and being served by the Buchtel Community.
Project Ujima provides a process and a place for residents and other stakeholders to come together to identify, deliberate and take action on issues of shared concern. It fosters the conditions that lead to residents discovering their own efficacy and capacity to work together to strengthen their community. Action planning facilitation and seed money, if needed, is available for work on which common ground is reached and undertaken by residents.
Project Ujima’s Research Action Teams (ReACTeams)and their taskforces coordinated, developed and/or partnered with numerous organizations to deliver the following outcomes (which vary year-to-year) to some 700+ people in the Buchtel Community on an annual basis:
The word Ujima ("oo-JEE-mah") is a Ki ("kee") Swahili* word that means "Collective Work and Responsibility": To build and maintain our community together and to make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together". Ujima is exactly what this project...this movement... is all about.
*Swahili (Kiswahili among its speakers) is a Bantu language spoken in East and Central Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda and Burundi, Somalia, and the Comoro Islands