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Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL)
 

Cover Story 

 

Push Back! Move Forward! A Report on the APCOL/TCDI October 2013 Conference

cover of newsletter #7

by Katheryne Schulz and Peter Sawchuk

For the past five years, Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL) researchers from Toronto universities, colleges and local neighbour-hoods have been talking to hundreds of people across Toronto about the nature of activism learning. We paid special attention to anti-poverty initiatives revolving around housing, education, employment and health/food security. From the start, we put “learning” at the centre of our concerns, by asking some difficult questions: 

  • How do some people learn to become involved in neighbourhood activism?
  • How do some learn to become involved but later learn to drop-out?
  • How do others learn to remain un-involved?
 
 


Easier Said Than Done: Collaborative Data Analysis

It made such good sense. Once we had taken the big step of having residents take the lead in conducting interviews, it made sense that the next steps of building a community-university partnership should follow the same pattern. On that logic, we gathered the initial results of more than 400 interviews and engaged residents directly in making sense from the data. Here are some impressions of that experience, from people who lived it.

Fulfilling the Promise of Particpatory Action Research by Ruth Marie Wilson
Embracing Diversity in Data Analysis by Israt Ahmed
Analysing Data Together in Steeles-L'Amoreaux by Cathy Zhao


City's Pulse

by Ritalin

Greg Franson debuted his Ritallin persona at an Ottawa spoken word event in summer 2003. Since then he has developed a reputation for delivering powerful poetry in a way that is lyrically appealing, widely accessible and unapologetically provocative in its socially conscious message. Greg has always written about issues that matter, including social justice, racism, the plight of Afrikans across the Diaspora, and empowerment of the disenfranchised. He composed and delivered this poem at a Community Food Action Gathering at FoodShare, April 21, 2012.

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Striving to Walk the Talk: the First APCOL Conference

by Peter H. Sawchuk

Among the principles of the Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL) project are commitments to Participatory Action Research (PAR) and Popular Education. But what exactly is the part played by these principles in the project? What are their purposes? And, what do these principles look like in action? In this article I discuss these questions in terms of a key focus of our activity in 2011: the APCOL Learning from Each Other Conference.

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In from the Cold: Survey Outreach in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park

Community researchers Irvin Japa and Kaleem Ishaque map out their communities while Muhammad Kaleem Ishaque, Ashleigh Dalton and Julie Chamberlain look on. Photo Courtesy of Joseph Sawan

by Shabnam Meraj and Julie Chamberlain

Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park are neighbouring communities in the central-east part of Toronto in Ward 26 Don Valley West. Connected to each other by the main thoroughfare Overlea Boulevard, a walk across the bridge brings you from one to the other – a cold and windy walk in the middle of winter. Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park were paired together as one site for the APCOL survey to reflect how the neighbouring communities are interconnected. 

 

 


Weston - Mount Dennis: A Resident’s Perspective

The intersection of Weston Road and Lawrence Ave. West  Photo Courtesy of G. de  Montmollin

by Zannalyn Robest

I first heard about the APCOL research project through my involvement with the Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) as a resident representative. The research was an opportunity to see how people of the area felt about issues in the neighbourhood. I was also hopeful about the possibility of the research findings serving as a quantitative document with which to organize and seek change.

 
 
 
 

Not Another Survey! Conducting the APCOL Questionnaire in KGO

by Joseph E. Sawan
 

On the heels of two APCOL case studies; the housing case study in Kingston Galloway – Orton Park (KGO) and the food security community leadership development case study with FoodShare the APCOL survey began with the support and direction of a team of animators and organizers who have led antipoverty campaigns in their communities. After a year of survey committee meetings, the survey was finalized and we were ready to conduct our first interviewer training. Rather than rely solely on graduate student researchers, it was clear that our plans to incorporate the energy coming from the case studies could help organize and design a unique approach to survey research. 
 

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It’s Where We Live: Housing and Anti-poverty Organizing in Scarborough

by Joseph E. Sawan

Israt Ahmed leads a discussion during an APCOL training session
Anti-poverty organizing takes on many forms, but I believe that successful movements share some key qualities: hope, perseverance and enthusiasm. The residents in East Scarborough, specifically in the Kingston Galloway – Orton park (KGO) neighbourhood, go above and beyond in their organizing efforts. From the Market to Community Speaks to its busy East Scarborough Storefront office on Lawrence Ave., this is a place where it seems an increasing number of residents are working to engage more people in their work and encourage social change in their community.
 

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FoodShare Toronto: Building Community From the Ground Up

by Phung Lam

photograph of a woman holding produce in a community garden

It was a rainy Friday afternoon when I set foot in the FoodShare building located on 90 Croatia St. in the heart of downtown Toronto. Coming to the interview at the end of a work week, I was not expecting to see many people or much momentum around the building. To my surprise, there were several FoodShare members and kitchen staff working hard at their stations. A young intern greeted mewith a friendly smile at the reception desk. As I waited for Ravenna in the office, the intern expressed her enthusiasm and love for working at this organization. After a few minutes of waiting, the intern walked me to Ravenna’s office to begin our interview.

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