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On Friday the 3rd of September 2021, the Anti-Tribalism Movement hosted a one-day summit at Hilton London Kensington.  This summit was the first face-to-face event ATM has organised since March 2020. The summit brought together 40 participants across the UK ranging from key drivers of change, in the fields of government, practitioners, academia, policy makers and community leaders.

This summit focused on four thematic areas: Mental Health, Unemployment, Housing and Education. The summit was guided by presentations and workshops which enabled us to discuss how COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Somali community with specific reference to the above thematic priorities given greater scope on what the community can do to mitigate this impact while at the same building the framework to influence any future national COVID-19 recovery plan.

Through presentations and workshops, the Summit participants discussed and worked together to find lasting  transformative solutions on policy areas including mental health, employment, education and housing. Mohamed Ibrahim, ATM’s senior policy officer presented the key highlights and recommendations of ATM’s policy briefings. These reports captured the needs and challenges of the community during the height of the pandemic and are part of our drive to have evidence-based dialogue with decision makers to best inform policy approaches and ensure community priorities and concerns are heard in key government policy decisions. 

Labour Councillor Awale Olad, chair of London Borough of Camden’s COVID-19 oversight committee which has been tasked with monitoring the local response to the pandemic has addressed the participants to share his grassroots experience on COVID-19 and the importance of engaging with stakeholders on post-COVID-19 impact and recovery.

The summit also heard from Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, London’s Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice who provided a word of encouragement for all communities and added  “Working alongside the ATM has meant ensuring the needs of the Somali Londoners are understood and the support that is offered is effective”. 

The feedback sessions concluded the outcome of the workshops.  The summit was also addressed  by Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham who applauded the front line response to COVIDv-19 by communities and how crucial it proved to deliver vital service despite all the strains and stress from the pandemic. He further acknowledged the devastating impact  COVID-19 has had on the community, and the need for increased collaboration to counter the impact of the pandemic. 

Furthermore, Hilary Patel, Head Tackling Poverty and In Work Progression Strategy at Department for Work and Pensions addressed the summit discussing the importance of communities working with the civil service to achieve lasting change. 

The summit was concluded with Dr Yusuf Sheikh Omar, ATM Trustee who reflected on the success of the Summit and thanked all speakers and participants.

If this, in any way, enhances our individual and collective contributions and solution to mitigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 to our communities, then the summit can truly be judged as a success”.