The only vehicle to liberation is building an organisation that can empower the global black nation. Kehinde Andrews

Our origins

Black Thrive Global evolved from the work of the Black Thrive Lambeth partnership, which was established in 2016 to address the inequalities that negatively impact the mental health and wellbeing of Black people in Lambeth. The Black Thrive Partnership brings together individuals, local communities, statutory agencies and voluntary organisations to address the structural barriers that prevent Black people from thriving. Black people’s cumulative exposure to negative experiences and poor outcomes are not unique to Lambeth, as demonstrated by the Race Disparity Audit and global data. Intuitively Black Thrive Global was founded upon the common understanding that wherever Black people of African and Caribbean descent are located, detrimental outcomes persist. We determined that focused Black Leadership which facilitates systems change will transform the Black experience from surviving into thriving.

Our Philosophy & Approach

  • Placing Black communities at the centre
  • Collective Impact
  • Embedding race equity in systemic change
  • Decolonising the evidence landscape

Due to structural inequalities, the experiences and outcomes for Black people in White-majority countries are on average significantly worse than those of their White counterparts in every sphere of life – education, employment, income, social care, housing, policing, criminal justice, wellbeing and health. We believe that the only way forward is to centre the voices, experiences and expertise of the full spectrum of Black communities in creating the change that is needed – of the people, by the people, with the people, for the people!

Collective Impact was first described by Kania and Kramer in 2011; this approach recognises that complex social problems cannot be addressed by individual organisations acting alone, but instead, require cross-sector collaboration.

Our experience of implementing the Collective Impact model has shifted our thinking to explicitly place communities at the centre and include systems change as an intentional result. We adopt an approach that is more in line with Tamarack Institute’s Movement Building, to which we apply a Black community perspective.

From:
- Common Agenda
- Shared Measurement
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities
- Continuous Communication
- Backbone

To:
- Community Aspiration
- Strategic Learning
- High Leverage Activities
- Inclusive Community Engagement
- Containers for Change

“The most dangerous place for black people to live is in white people’s imagination.” - D. L. Hughley

The systems, and the people who work within them, consistently create environments that prevent Black people from thriving. We work with individuals and organisations to challenge the mindsets and imbalances of power which underpin policy development, the allocation of resources, and practices. Many Black people thrive in spite of the odds that are stacked against them. We change the odds by embedding race equity into systemic change and take the learning from these experiences so that thriving is not the exception but becomes the rule.

"The first need of a free people is to define their own terms" - Stokely Carmichael

Society places a strong emphasis on the need for evidence to inform policy and practice. For decades, organisations that have the most significant impact on the lives of citizens in areas such as education, health, and criminal justice have claimed that they use evidence to determine their policies and practices. However, the knowledge that is recognised and valued within western societies is often from a eurocentric perspective, therefore silencing the voices of Black people. As a result, interventions grounded in this knowledge are misguided and fail to deliver positive outcomes for Black communities. We work to disrupt the knowledge production process by critiquing existing research through a Black lens and actively contribute to the knowledge base by undertaking research that is led by Black people with academic backgrounds and/ or lived experience. This provides a foundation that enables systems to understand what can transform the Black experience from surviving to thriving.

Our Team

Directors

All
Director

Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE

Director

Lela Kogbara​

Director

David Weaver

Director

Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE

Jacqui is an independent health and social care consultant, with lived experience, and a background in adult mental health commissioning as well as community and family social work. Jacqui was vice chair of England’s Mental Health Taskforce, which collaboratively developed the 5 Year Forward View for Mental Health (NHSE) and its transformation of mental health service policy and provision. Its focus on reducing mental health inequalities was further strengthened in the NHS Long Term Plan for Mental Health. Jacqui has co-led the Mayoral ‘Thrive London’ since inception. Jacqui is an elected Councillor where she is cabinet member for jobs, skills and community safety having previously jointly held the health and adult social care cabinet portfolio.

 

Director

Lela Kogbara​

Lela was a senior leader in the public sector for 25 years, 16 of which were in Islington where she was Assistant Chief Executive for the Council. She also worked with NHS England and Department for Education to improve employment prospects and access to apprenticeships for people with learning and other disabilities. She is a qualified accountant and her responsibilities have included policy, equalities, performance, arts and culture, employment, and community safety. Lela also follows her passion for social justice as a board member of a number of organisations.

Director

David Weaver

David is a social and political commentator with expertise in the areas of race equality, social justice and human rights. He is senior partner of DWC Consulting – a strategic leadership consulting firm whose clients span large and small organisations, teams and individuals across the private, public, and not for profit sectors. He works across international boundaries and as well as his predominant work in the UK, he has also worked in western Europe, west Africa, the United States and Eastern Caribbean. 

His work has focused on designing, co-creating and delivering interventions that build higher levels of organisational / personal performance to achieve outstanding results. He has a strong track record in the areas of ‘top team’ and senior management development; is an experienced and qualified mediator and leads a small reputable team that focuses on conflict management, consensus building and therapeutic interventions with communities and individuals. 

David is a former political advisor to Home Office government ministers including the Rt Hon Alun Michael Deputy Home Secretary in the late 1990s. A key part of his remit was development of the government’s strategy for working with the Voluntary Sector, community cohesion and on creating the rationale for, and eventual establishment of the Macpherson Inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence.  He has also led large scale change investigations and inquiries on equalities for public sector bodies – his most recent being the management and publication of Bristol City Councils ‘Transforming Race and Equality’ programme which was agreed by the Council in July 2020.

David is the current and first black President of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) having previously served as a Governor / Trustee (2012 to 2016) and Vice President (from 2004 to 2009). He is a co-founder of Operation Black Vote (OBV) and is currently Independent Chair of the National Coalition of Race Equality organisations (CORE).

He holds an MSc in Human Resources Management and qualifications and specialist training relating to mediation, international conflict management, counselling, coaching, and occupational psychology. 

CEO

CEO

Dr Souci Frissa

CEO

Dr Souci Frissa

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Souci Frissa has been contributing to local and global knowledge production in mental health research. She has coordinated a large epidemiological cohort study in South East London (SELCoH) and has led MSc programmes at King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN): MSc in Global Mental Health and MSc in Applied Mental Health Research programmes. She has also coordinated a large complex multilateral programme delivered in partnership with different institutions at the global level and served as a member of the central management team of a multilateral global programme, Global Health Research Unit on Health System Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa (ASSET).

She has a passion to tackle social and health inequities and has influenced and communicated a call-to-action and has authored and co-authored over 25 published articles. She has worked with people from different background and also mentors young enthusiasts.

She has a PhD in Psychiatric epidemiology from King’s College London and has obtained her Doctor of Medicine degree and MSc in Public Health from Addis Ababa University and served as a physician and in the management of public health in Ethiopia. She is an affiliate to Centre for Global Mental Health and ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health.

Location Directors

Staff

Communications Manager

Omolara Olusola

Quantitative Research Fellow

Jolyon Joseph Miles-Wilson

Research Lead

Celestin Okoroji

Qualitative Research Fellow

Tamanda Walker

Communications Manager

Omolara Olusola

Omolara is the Communications Manager at Black Thrive Global. She is also the Founder and Editor of editorial services provider Deciphering Solutions UK. She is a communications and events specialist with significant experience working in the non-profit, arts and culture sector. Omolara has worked across media campaigns such as the reopening of the renowned Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall, royal visits from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and book tours from former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. Prior to joining Black Thrive Global Omolara worked for Europe’s largest art centre the Southbank Centre and innovation foundation Nesta.  

Omolara has keen understanding of campaigning, policy, and advocacy work, with skills in speechwriting, policy briefings and government consultations. She is passionate about putting people first and at the centre of policy, programmes, and community transformation. She believes in working toward race equity and equality, systemic change through her personal philosophy of intellectual curiosity, empathy, creativity, and open-handedness. 

Outside of her professional roles Omolara is an avid theatregoer and a Theatre Peckham Ambassador. She is also a writer and a poet, and the semi-finalist of the 2018 LIT UP competition by Waterloo Press, alumni of New Writing South’s Poets’ Place. Her writing has been featured by the curators of Medium under the themes of race and equality and she has worked with the award-winning AZ Mag. 

Omolara holds a joint first-class honours degree in English Literature and English Language & Linguistics.  

 

 

Quantitative Research Fellow

Jolyon Joseph Miles-Wilson

Jolyon completed his PhD at the University of Sussex in 2021 and is Black Thrive Lambeth’s Quantitative Research Fellow. His doctoral research focused on decision-making in unequal social systems and combined methods from social psychology and behavioral economics.

Jolyon focuses on developing and analysing race equality metrics to contribute to an improved understanding of the life trajectories of Black people in Britain.

 

Research Lead

Celestin Okoroji

Celestin is the Research Lead at Black Thrive.

He is a social and cultural psychologist who completed his PhD at the London School of Economics in 2020. His research focuses on how stigmatisation impedes relations between individuals and groups, particularly in unemployment. At Black Thrive Celestin is building Black-led research capacity to fill some of the glaring holes in the empirical evidence related to interventions and outcomes for Black people.

Celestin is interested in data driven and research led approaches to improving outcomes for marginalised groups. Alongside his work at Black Thrive, Celestin is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the London School of Economics and teaches on the MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology.

Celestin’s most recent publication explores how stigmatising discourses used by political elites and media relate, longitudinally, to public attitudes towards the unemployed. The paper is openly accessible here.

Qualitative Research Fellow

Tamanda Walker

Tamanda is Qualitative Research Fellow at BlackThrive Global. Her role focusses on illuminating and centring the perspectives and lived experiences of service users in order to decolonise the evidence landscape connected with Black mental health. 

Tamanda is in the final stages of completing her PhD at the University of Leeds. Her research builds out of her practice within Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and is a decolonial, auto-ethnographic account of the dynamics of race, religion and worldviews within ‘modern’, ‘secular’ British institutional life. Her personal research focusses on race, religion and worldviews – especially on African indigenous knowledges – within talking therapies.

Tamanda’s most recent publication explores responses to religion and worldviews within leftist political movements, and the impacts of these engagements on political participation. The paper is openly accessible here: https://journals.lwbooks.co.uk/soundings/vol-2019-issue-73/abstract-7628/

 

 

 

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