What is the DPAD Coalition?

The Coalition is an open group representing organizations that serve African Nova Scotian people, communities, interests and needs. The Coalition began to organize in response to an opportunity to present to the United Nations Working Group of Experts for People of African Descent (WGEPAD) in Halifax on Oct. 19, 2016. The group’s members recognize that the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) provides a unique opportunity to build provincial, national and international momentum for change that will benefit people of African descent in Nova Scotia and beyond.
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We value a respectful, transparent approach to working together that honours the diversity of opinions and experiences within African Nova Scotian communities and encourages broad engagement and collaboration. We also value the integral role of faith and spirituality in African Nova Scotian communities.


We have confidence in each other’s capabilities and intentions to uphold the shared interest of the Coalition.


We work as a team to ensure the success of the whole Coalition while respecting the autonomy of individual organizations.


Recognizing that everyone has pre-existing relationships, we undertake to be open, honest and accountable with everyone we work with, and with each other.


We strive to treat all people with dignity and respect.

Our Mission

Recognizing that African Nova Scotians are a distinct founding people in Nova Scotia who have been a key part of the province’s culture and history since 1605, the DPAD Coalition’s mission is twofold: to build strength and health across African Nova Scotian communities, and to forge a renewed working relationship with government(s) that creates conditions for all African-descended people in Nova Scotia to thrive.

While acknowledging that much work remains to address the legacy of enslavement, segregation and generational effects of systemic anti-Black racism in Nova Scotia, we strive to call governments out of past attitudes and behaviours—doing to or for African Nova Scotian communities, instead of with—and into a meaningful engagement that respects people as agents in their own solutions. We seek a relationship where African Nova Scotians are engaged, included and listened to at all levels of policy- shaping and decision-making. We also seek to strengthen relationships amongst ourselves to equip communities and organizations to work collectively and holistically across sectors, in an accountable and mutually supportive way.

African Nova Scotian people and communities are recognized and supported as an integral part of Nova Scotia’s past, present and future.


What is

The UN International Decade for People of African Descent?

The United Nations has a tradition of drawing attention to important global issues that demand long-term attention. On December 10, 2014, the UN General Assembly officially declared 2015–2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent for these reasons: The UN has identified three main objectives for the decade:

  • Ensure the rights of people of African descent, and their full and equal participation in all aspects of society;
  • Promote greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage, culture, and contribution to the development of societies;
  • Adopt and strengthen legal frameworks to eliminate racial discrimination.

The United Nations Fellowship Program for People of African Descent

The Fellowship programme for people of African descent is a three-week intensive learning opportunity for people of African descent from the diaspora, who are engaged in promoting the rights of people of African descent.

Taking place, once a year at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, the program aims to strengthen participants’ skills to contribute to the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of people of African descent in their respective countries.

The participants are equipped with the tools necessary to enhance the development of legislation, policies and programmes; to strengthen collaboration of civil society with governments; and to undertake local awareness-raising activities.

View the Voices of the Decade PDF belowVoices of the Decade
For application information visitFellowship Programme


Community Services Working Group

  • Racial disparity and disproportionality in the Child Welfare system – African Nova Scotians make up 2.3% of the general population but represent more than 10% of Child Welfare cases
  • Unequal availability of social services for African Nova Scotian children, youth, and families, especially in rural communities
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Health Strategy Working Group

  • The need for health data (empirical or quantitative) that is reflective of the ANS population
  • Health system has yet to reflect culturally competent planning and practice.
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Justice Strategy Working Group

  • Access to justice
  • The roots of over-policing and surveillance (racial profiling)
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