United African Organization

UAO aims to serve as the African Community Resource Clearinghouse wherein constituents gather, access information, share experiences, exchange views, and coordinate organizational capacity development. UAO's hub of resources on this website is intended to assist community members in navigating services, programs and resources that are available to help them cope better in the United States.

UAO Announces New Executive Director

September 11, 2018NancyBlog, Editorial Nook

The Board of Directors of United African Organization (UAO) writes to you to announce a leadership transition in United African Organization’s executive director. As you may know, Alie Kabba, our longtime staff leader, has been appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the new government of Sierra Leone. There could be no better reason for a transition, and we are so proud of him and thank him for his years of dynamic leadership in Chicago.

On behalf of the United African Organization Board of Directors, it is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Nancy Asirifi-Otchere, to the UAO executive director position.  We are delighted that she has accepted the promotion and look forward to her execution of UAO’s new three-year strategic plan and to her taking a higher profile role in the African diaspora community. As we worked to develop our new strategic plan, it became clear to us all that Nancy’s knowledge of the UAO and insight into what community members need and want from UAO is very strong. We look to her to take the organization to the next level of development, and are committed to helping her achieve thatNancy holds an MBA from the University of Southern Denmark and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Management, and is a DOJ-accredited immigration representative. For the past nine years, she has represented the UAO in various capacities including most recently, as UAO’s program director. Her promotion is effective immediately.

The UAO is a federation of many of the local African community-based organizations as well of individuals. Over the past decade, UAO has been a vehicle for African leadership development through community organizing, policy advocacy, and community research; provided a range of family support and immigration services to community members; and helped other organizations build their capacity. It hosts annual conferences including the African Youth Forum for immigrant Africans, native-born African Americans, and other immigrant young people.

Over the past 10 months the UAO completed a new strategic plan and succession plan with generous grant support from the Polk Bros. Foundation, the Field Foundation of Illinois and the Woods Fund of Chicago. The strategic plan zeroed onto six action priority areas:

  1. A community-wide assessment;
  2. The engagement of more second-generation Africans;
  3. Development of the organization’s advocacy and organizing initiatives.
  4. Organizational development prioritizing the staff leadership succession
  5. Board strengthening
  6. Increasing communications and fundraising activities.

If you have questions or comments, you can reach UAO Board Chair, Godfrey Chinomona  at godfrey.chinomona@uniteafricans.org.


Statement on Alie Kabba

Statement of UAO Board President on Dr. Alie Kabba:

It is with dismay that we learn of United African Organization (UAO) Executive Director, Dr. Alie Kabba’s arrest and detention by the Sierra Leone government for the third time in under 30 days.

Dr. Kabba, on a visit to Sierra Leone, was arrested a day after he gave an interview to the local Radio Democracy 98.1 FM station, during which he criticized the ruling government for corruption and nepotism.
We, as the largest African coalition in the United States, unequivocally condemn his arrest and call for his immediate unconditional release, acquittal and return back to the U.S.
“We call on President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone to end the politically motivated persecution of Alie Kabba whose only crime is that he is an outspoken and fearless opposition leader with an unblemished record of fighting for democracy, rule of law, human rights and social justice”, says UAO Board Chair Godfrey Chinomona. “We demand his unconditional release and return of his seized U.S. passport.” Read more →


The phone rang…..

It was the security man downstairs saying there was a delivery.

It was this delightful tray of fresh baked pastries and bite-size cookies from www.bakeforme.com .

who is our secret admirer?

Thank you for making our day!

Please, learn my name

I am Misturat Ganiyu. Disregard my age, occupation, gender, race, and other details that define a person. Concentrate, instead, on the beginning sentence in this blog. This is where people trip and stumble. At a young age, I realize the difficulty of my name. During that time, I would recite it to other elementary school kids and confusion followed. My name is pronounced as incorrectly as a first grader who utters a challenging word for the first time. A child may split the word into syllables or skip the word altogether, but it will return. The same concept applies to strangers meeting other strangers at a commonplace. Names are introduced and they part ways, but encounters happen.

Repeating a name accurately exemplifies kindness. If you say it wrong and apologize for it, that is alright as long as you try again. Practice helps. Don’t ask for a shortcut such as the person’s nickname. Sometimes, one is absent.  Read more →

African Youth Forum on March 28th

March 25, 2015AdminBlog, Editorial Nook
Under the theme Black Lives  Matter!, our 2015 African Youth Forum creates opportunities for cross-issue dialogue around topics like “Police Brutality and Racial Profiling”, “Know Your Rights”, “Hip-Hop Music & Culture”, “What is Africa to me?” and “What does it mean to be Young and Black in Chicago?”.

Governor Rauner’s Budget Eliminates Immigrant Integration Service Line Item

Gov. Bruce Rauner

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed $31.5 billion budget for the state’s next fiscal year includes devastating cuts on the backs of our vulnerable and most disadvantaged residents. The governor proposed cuts include $82 Million reduction in community mental health services, increase in required co-pays for childcare services, in addition to the elimination of state funding for entire programs such as Immigrant Integration Services.
The Immigrant Services Line Item helps Illinois’ immigrants apply to become U.S. citizens, provide health and nutrition outreach/access to low-income immigrants, helps refugees start new lives in Illinois, and support the integration of vulnerable members of immigrant communities.
Read more →

Diversity Visa Program – 2016

October 8, 2014NancyBlog, Editorial Nook

Online registration for the DV 2016 Program will begin on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 noon, (EDT) and will conclude on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 12:00 noon, (EDT).

For fiscal year 2016, 50,000 diversity visas (DVs) will be available. There is no cost to register. Entries will NOT be accepted through the U.S. Postal Service.

Apply online: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/

Documents needed to complete your E-DV entry:

  • Name – last/family name, first name, middle name – exactly as on your passport.
  • Birth date – day, month, year.
  • Gender – male or female.
  • City where you were born.
  • Country where you were born
  • Country of eligibility for the DV Program – Your country of eligibility will normally be the same as your country of birth. Your country of eligibility is not related to where you live. If you were born in a country that is not eligible, please review the Frequently Asked Questions to see if there is another way you may be eligible.
  • Entrant photograph(s) – Recent photographs of yourself, your spouse, and all your children listed on your entry. See Submitting a Digital Photograph for compositional and technical specifications.
  1. You do not need to include a photograph for a spouse or child who is already a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, but you will not be penalized if you do.
  2. Group photographs will not be accepted; you must submit a photograph for each individual. Your entry may be disqualified or visa refused if the photographs are not recent, have been manipulated in any way, or do not meet the specifications explained below. See Submitting a Digital Photograph for more information.
  • Mailing Address –
  • Phone number (optional).
  • Email Address
  • Highest level of education you have achieved, as of today
  • Current marital status
  • Number of children – List the Name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, and country of birth for all living unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of whether or not they are living with you or intend to accompany or follow to join you should you immigrate to the United States. Submit individual photographs of each of your children using the same technical specifications as your own photograph.
For DV-2016, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible

Tackling Illiteracy

October 7, 2014NancyBlog, Editorial Nook

“What is your favorite thing about living in the United States”, I asked one student, trying to get him to form his own thoughts instead of only wanting to read pre-written sentences. “Basketball” he said without pause. “And why is that?” I urged him. “No English”, he said. We both laughed.

Literacy can open doors—a larger job market, access to better education and health services—but it is also required for many permanent residents applying for U.S. citizenship (some people, such as permanent residents 55 years of age or older who have been in the U.S. for 15 years or more). A basic level of reading and writing in English often stands in the way of permanent residents as they go through the Naturalization process, and the Untied African Organization provides support and resources to these members of the community.

As a part of my one month internship with the UAO, I worked one-on-one with clients to develop literacy in English. During my time here, I worked with four different students, some recently arrived high school students, some adults who had already been living in the States for more than 20 years.

The United African Organization serves a diverse community of clients, so my students’ levels varied greatly, from more advanced students who wanted to review citizenship interview questions like separation of powers and the Bill of Rights, to clients who were not even literate in their native language and had to start with learning the ABCs.

It was incredible to see the tenacity of some of these people, unfazed by the daunting task ahead, and the progress they are able to make in such short periods, especially considering the responsibilities that demand their attention outside of our short one to two hour lessons.

If you know someone in need of literacy support or who needs to review for the naturalization interview questions, please send them to our offices.

Volunteers interested in helping to develop literacy in the African immigrant community can contact the Nancy at volunteer@uniteafricans.org.

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