Serving the needs of the African and Caribbean heritage community in Watford

ImageThere was a time when there were only a few primarily Caribbean people settled in Watford.  However, over the past 20 years the population of people of African heritage has greatly increased. 

37 years ago in 1976, when the Watford African Caribbean Association (WACA) was formed, there were barely 500 African and Caribbean people in Watford and the outlying areas; then its concern was more about gathering people around and fostering particularly the Caribbean identity and projecting their culture.  Now the community has changed dramatically and with it also the opportunity to cater for the needs of all the enlarged community as well as members of the wider community.

The Watford African Caribbean Association now provides services that remains relevant to the needs of the growing community and wishes to continue to do so.

It runs several services including an elderly persons project which provides a luncheon club and a carers befriending scheme; there is a sickle cell and thalassemia support group as well as the supplementary school.  It also provides numerous opportunities for volunteering for African heritage residents and there are several cultural and social activities that engage with everyone and encourage the involvement of all for the betterment of the community.

But while the organisation has maintained its focus on meeting the educational, health, social care, cultural and social care needs of the community, the African and Caribbean heritage population has grown in an astronomical way, it is no longer just less than 500 people, it is now over 6600 people representing nearly 7.50% of the population.  In that time, the needs may have changed and become more complex, there are first generation, second generation and even third generation people of African and Caribbean heritage.  There are now more African people than Caribbean people in Watford.

The organisation is now at the crossroads. With a higher population demanding its services and with funding cuts eminent, WACA is seeking to make the changes necessary to ensure that it remains relevant particularly to the needs of the enlarged African and Caribbean heritage community in Watford and the surrounding areas.

Clive Saunders Chair of the organisation says “it is critical that we continue to serve the needs of the established African Caribbean community, but we are conscious that we also need to look at the needs of the newly arrived and also to look at people living and working in and around the Watford area.  We need the survey information to help us improve on the delivery of our services. For us this is big opportunity to outreach into the communities and if we are to continue to satisfy their needs then their engagement and response is critical

A survey of community views has been commissioned and they are inviting all persons to be involved.Image

Please contact Noel Ackers at WACA because you should be involved in this exciting survey on 01923 216957 or email him at

Or alternatively please contact Maxine James of Equinox Consulting who have been commissioned to run this survey on or on 02086805678 or go to their website at for more information and download a questionnaire to fill and return.

You can also fill in the survey at

Equinox are working with the Trustees of WACA to determine the needs of the community, especially the African Caribbean community and develop services to meet the needs identified.  We are gathering information on the community by consulting widely with stakeholders including:

  • Existing and potential members of WACA
  • Management committee members and staff
  • Councillors and Council officers
  • Community organisations and community leaders
  • Funders and statutory sector organisations

Nigerian government prioritises health and education as it reaches out to Diaspora professionals in the UK

Nigerian government prioritises health and education as it reaches out to Diaspora professionals in the UK


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is supporting the Federal Government of Nigeria’s efforts to engage with Nigerian Diaspora professionals in the UK.  The IOM has launched a national survey to identify Nigerian health and education professionals working in the UK and who might be willing to contribute to the development Nigeria’s health and education sectors.

Clarissa Azkoul, Chief of Mission of IOM UK stated:

‘The Nigerian Government has recognised the importance and positive role that Nigerians professionals in the Diaspora can play in the socio-economic development of the country.  Health and education have been identified as the main priorities for improvement and the government is keen to engage with diaspora professionals in these sectors because it believes that they can make an invaluable difference to the lives of their fellow Nigerians back home.’

It is estimated that the UK is home to over 15,000 Nigerian doctors, nurses and midwives, teachers, lecturers and professors.  Many possess dual Nigerian and UK qualifications in their respective fields of expertise.

Health and education are the foundations upon which the social and economic development of any country are built.  Nigeria’s health care and education systems – characterised by inefficiency, poor standards and a lack of investment – are in desperate need of reform.  These challenges have played a key role in determining the health and poverty status  of the country. Over the last two decades, Nigeria’s public health care system has deteriorated in large part because of a lack of resources and the “brain drain”  syndrome of Nigerian doctors as well as skilled health workers to other countries.  Poor infrastructure, inadequate classrooms, low wages, a lack of standards and the paucity of quality teachers are also seen as the main challenges facing the country’s education sector.

IOM has appointed Equinox Consulting to carry out the national survey and conduct a range of interviews and focus groups with key individuals and organisations.  The initiative will result in the development of a database that will help the Nigerian government to engage more effectively with Diaspora professionals and in turn, make it easier for these professionals to contribute to the government’s development efforts in a sustainable and positive way.

Nigerian health and educational professionals who are interested in participating in the mapping exercise can access the national survey via the following link:


Further information can be obtained by contacting Equinox Consulting on +44 (0) 20 8680 5678/ email: or visit



Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries, please contact:

(a)         Carlos Pozo, IOM (email: / phone: +44 (0) 20 7811 6002)

(b)         Maxine James, Equinox Consulting (email: / phone: +44 (0) 20 8680 5678)

  1. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is the world’s leading international migration agency. Since its foundation in 1951 it has helped over 13 million migrants, in the belief that migration – if dignified, orderly and voluntary – is of benefit to the individuals concerned and society as a whole.

With 151 member states, a further 12 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants. The IOM Constitution recognizes the link between migration and economic, social and cultural development, as well as to the right of freedom of movement.

  1. According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2012, the UK was home to 180,000 Nigerian-born residents.[1]

[1] Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom by Country of Birth January 2012 to December 2012 (Table A), released on 29August 2013.