Ethiopian Community, Talpiot, March 12, 2009

Ethiopian Community, Talpiot, March 12, 2009

We continue with our efforts, together with Mosaica, to create better dialogue between the Ethiopian community in Talpiyot and the many agencies that serve them. Although some achievements were made (reported in previous posts), the  main difficulty of lack of trust and understanding still persists.

Today we (Mosaica and the JICC) had a meeting with most of the establishment agencies, community council, welfare department, absorption authority etc., were we presented our analysis of the situation, including three major challenges. According to our analysis the main problem is the proliferation of agencies that work with the residents concurrently and with no coordination between them. This can be harmful in any place, but it is worse when serving the Ethiopian community, which finds it hard to navigate the Israeli system. The second challenge is the cross-cultural communication, which is not working well due to the different value systems of the cultures involved. The last pressing issue is the tendency of the Ethiopian community to attribute the behavior of the agencies to racism. The fact that almost all professional staff members are not Ethiopian, and that they have never learnt how to work with the Ethiopian community, does not make the situation easier.

Our suggestion was to provide cultural competence trainings to the agencies that work with the Ethiopian community, as well as train the community leaders to deal with the agencies who serve them. We are pleased to report that the agencies accepted our proposal and a few dates were secured for trainings. In parallel, we will meet with the leaders of the Ethiopian community to talk with them about this new proposal.

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