African Youth and Community Organization (AYCO)

The African Youth and Community Organization (AYCO) is a culturally-specific organization led by and for the East African immigrant and refugee community in Oregon. Many in their local community are former farmers and current climate crisis refugees with an intimate understanding of how the climate crisis disproportionately impacts non-western countries. In Portland itself, community members struggle in the city with education, health, employment, and housing justice due to language barriers, poverty, access to technology, race and religion discrimination, and difficulty transitioning to life in the United States. Most lack access to the outdoors and connection to the land. What was once an essential part of life for many is now largely non-existent. Led by a former AYCO program participant, Nuradin Abdirahman, AYCO now has a thriving UPLIFT Youth Environmental Leadership program that centers environmental education, outdoor recreation, leadership development, and watershed stewardship.

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