[Office on African Affairs]

Open Government Report 2014

To institutionalize a culture of transparent and open government, accountability, and to expand
opportunities for resident participation and collaboration, this Report describes how the Mayor’s
Office on African Affairs has and will continue to develop and enhance transparency, public
participation, and collaboration. In accordance with Mayor’s Order 2014-170, this report
addresses the following topics:
The Mayor’s Office on African Affairs is one of 12 agencies house in the Office of Community
Affairs. The mission of the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA) is to ensure that the full
range of health, education, employment, social services, safety, business and economic
development information, services and opportunities are accessible to the District’s African
community. By serving as the liaison between the District’s African community, District
government agencies and the Mayor, OAA aims to (1) Improve the quality of life of the
District’s diverse African born constituencies and their children (2) Increase civic and public
engagement in the District’s African community and (3) Support community development.



Describe the steps your agency has taken or plans to take to be more transparent. Please
include a description of:
How and to what extent your agency shares information with the public, e.g. publication of
information in the District register and on the agency website, press releases, and documents
in the agency’s FOIAXpress reading room.

OAA shares information with the public through its agency website ,
biweekly newsletter, press releases, print – brochures and one-pagers and via District


Among the wealth of information on OAA’s website is:
o A robust overview of OAA’s services under What We Do?
o A central carousel featuring city-wide and OAA programs, initiatives and
o An Upcoming Events section which informs and invites the public to OAA events
and activities.
o An ask the Director link for public comments, feedback and queries
o A direct link to OAA’s FOIA Officer


OAA’s general phone line 202-727-5634 routinely responds to queries from community
members and the general public. Some typical request include:

o Request for access to District government services, programs and resources
o Request for partnership and support for community organizations programs and
o Community organizations and non-profits wanting OAA speakers on issues and
topics related to the District’s African community African community
o Request for demographic information, studies, reports and data on the District’s
African community
o Request for African Community Grant information and deadlines

OAA’s bi-weekly newsletter The African Beat provides news, information and
announcements pertinent to the African community. Readers receive updates on Mayoral
initiatives, employment opportunities, community events, newsworthy happenings and
targeted resources for businesses, community based organizations, faith-based
organizations and youth. The Front Page section of the newsletter provides readers with
information on the OAA’s programs, events, initiatives and upcoming activities.
Distributed through the GovDelivery system, we currently have over 7000 subscribers.


newsroom , The African Beat newsletter, Facebook
and Twitter (@DCMayorOAA), contain information about OAA’s upcoming programs,
initiatives, events and outcomes, newsworthy local, national and international events
pertinent to the District’s African Diaspora community and other stakeholders.


OAA publishes monthly Commission on African Affairs public meetings and our FY14
African Community Grant Notice of Fund Availability (NOFA) in the District register.
The FY14 NOFA was also published in the Office of Partnerships and Grants
clearinghouse and Funding Alert.

How the agency meets its obligations pursuant to the District’s Freedom of Information Act
and Open Meetings Act.

OAA meets its obligations to the District’s Freedom of Information Act by making
required records available to the public via our online website. These include: Public
Salary Information; OAA’s 2014 Budget; Performance Plan and Organizational Budget;
as well as the Commission on African Affairs’ Meeting Minutes.

Steps your agency will take to increase public access to information.
OAA will take the following steps to increase public access to information:


Ensuring timely publication of OAA Annual Reports including OAA’s first Annual Grant
Report for the FY2014 African Community Grant. Make certain that these annual reports
are in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed and searched by
commonly used web applications.
Use website, Facebook, Twitter, Govdelivery and listserves to target key audiences and
publish high value information i.e. demographic data, reports and policy documents for


each of those audiences, in the most accessible forms and formats. Be proactive with
publishing schedule rather than wait for specific requests under FOIA.
Aggressively pursue goal of 10,000 gov delivery subscribers, 3000 likes/followers on
OAA’s official Facebook Page and 1000 followers of OAA’s official Twitter page by
September 30th 2015.

How your agency has taken or plans to take steps to make more of its data available to the


The Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA) is working closely with the Office of the
City Administrator (OCA) and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) to
identify a significant number of datasets that OCA and OCTO expect to publish online
later this year. If no dataset from OAA is selected to be included in this 2014 release, we
will continue to work with OCA and OCTO to identify datasets appropriate to publish in
2015. In the future, requirements for open data reporting will be provided by the Chief
Data Officer.
Public Engagement and Participation

Describe the steps your agency has taken or plans to take to enhance or expand opportunities
for the public to participate in agency decision-making. Please include a description of:
How your agency identifies stakeholders and invites their participation?
How your agency shares information and resources to keep the public properly informed, e.g.
community meetings, public hearings, FAQs, and ways the public can provide input such as
Twitter,, email contacts.

OAA’s core stakeholder groups are as follows:
o African residents and merchants
o Community based organizations and faith based organizations
o Partners and donors
o DC Government agencies and employees
o General public

OAA continues to identify, classify and inform our core stakeholders by:
o Collecting African residents and merchant demographic information during OAA
programs, events and activities via online registration platforms and in-person
registration sheets. This helps identify African residents/merchants, classify them
by program area of interest and allows for recurring outreach in areas of interest.
o Holding regular community meetings and/or periodic briefings to exchange
 In 2014, we held informational sessions for potential community based
organization applicants of OAA’s African Community Grant, which
included a Pre-bidders Orientation meeting and language access training
for grantees.


o Conducting proactive one-on one discussions, exploratory meetings, and
physically attending Africa(n)- related events in and around the city to explore
new partnership opportunities and intersections.
o Conducting cultural competency training targeting service oriented District
government agencies and employees who have heightened public contact with the
District’s African community.
o Providing FAQs on our website (as needed) to inform the public of details on
OAA programs and resources
o Soliciting public input via OAA’s social media outlets – Facebook and Twitter
o Providing print brochures in three languages (Amharic, English and French) and
distribute them at all OAA events. Brochures contain information on OAA
programs and initiatives as well as the agency’s mission and facts about African
residents in the District.
Steps your agency will take to improve public engagement and participation including any
new feedback tools or mechanisms the agency is considering.

DC Mayor’s Commission on African Affairs: The Commission on African Affairs was
created in 2006 along with the OAA as mandated by DC Law 16-313. The commission
is composed of fifteen (15) members appointed by the Mayor with consent of the
Council. Members of the Commission on African Affairs who have shown dedication
to, and knowledge of the African community, are appointed with due consideration for
representation from established public, nonprofit and volunteer community organizations
concerned with the African community, and members of the public. The commission
meets on the 2nd Wednesday of every month and there is a standing section on the agenda
for members of the public to share their concerns and needs. In FY 15, OAA will work
with the Office of Boards and Commissions (OBC) to fill 3 vacant seats on the


E-Integrated Management System: OAA has begun work with OCTO to improve public
engagement through an Integrated Management System that will have internal and
outward-facing components. This will improve the accessibility of OAA’s existing
database and streamline our efforts to collect new data. The project is slated to be
complete in FY15.


Interactive African Business Directory: OAA had a successful soft launch of its firstever African Business Directory at its 5th Annual DC Africa Festival on 3 August 2014.
We introduced a limited number of paper copies of this Directory and have an online
version available for download. OAA will work with OCTO to create an interactive
online version of the Directory that will better serve the African business community,
researchers, and District agencies interested in conducting targeted outreach to the
District’s African business community.


OAA’s Internship & Volunteering Program: District residents have ongoing
opportunities to get involved and join OAA in serving people in need in our community.
OAA’s internship and volunteer program offers hands-on experience and learning

opportunities to members of the public, of all ages, seeking to engage in public service,
while primarily serving the District’s African community. OAA interns are actively
involved in many aspects of the agency’s day-to-day work, participate in the
implementation of program activities, and provide support to the staff, while learning
about the District’s African community. In FY 15, OAA looks forward to welcoming at
least 5 interns per quarter and recruit sufficient volunteers to support OAA’s recurring
programmatic activities.


Describe the steps your agency has taken or plans to take to enhance or expand cooperation
among departments, other governmental agencies, the public, and non-profit and private
entities in fulfilling its obligations. Please include a description of? How does your agency
currently collaborates these parties. Please list links to specific websites if appropriate.

Office of Human Rights Language Access Program: OAA works in collaboration with
the Office of Human Rights, the Mayor's Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
(OAPIA), the Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs (OLA), and DC Language Access
Coalition to carry out the mission and goals on the city’s Language Access Program – to
ensure District residents who are limited or non-English proficient are afforded equal
access to information and services provided by the District. Residents who speak little
English must be offered interpretation services and/or translated documents when
obtaining government services, as required by the Language Access Act of 2004.


2nd Annual DC to Africa Growing Local Going Global Business Symposium: On
Monday, November 25, 2013, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and OAA hosted a highly
successful and well-received 2nd Annual DC to Africa: ‘Growing Local, Going Global’
Business Symposium. This all-day symposium brought together over 300 local business
owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in direct contact with more than 20 business resource
providers from District, federal and nonprofit agencies. Coordinated in partnership
with the US Department of Commerce, Department of Small and Local Business
Development (DSLBD), the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA),
the and the Office of Community Affairs, the DC to Africa business symposium aimed,
first and foremost, to advance the Mayor’s top priority of growing and diversifying the
District’s economy as a vehicle for expanding the tax base and employment opportunities
for District residents.


5th Annual DC Africa Festival: On Sunday, August 3, 2014, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and
his Office on African Affairs (OAA) held its 5th Annual DC Africa Festival at the Ronald
Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The event coincided with President Barack
Obama’s historic US-Africa Leaders Summit and served as a welcome to the 50 African
leaders being hosted in our nation’s capital. Over 1,000 attendees joined Mayor Gray and
OAA for the festivities, held outdoors in the Reagan Building’s adjoining Moynihan and
Woodrow Wilson Plazas. Major partners: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade
Center, DC Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, DC Commission on the Arts and

Humanities, DC Office of the Secretary, DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory
Affairs, DC Office of Human Rights, the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian
Institute, and AmeriHealth. Corporate donors: Capital Petroleum Group, LLC, Ethiopian
Airlines, and Safeway. Incredible team of 50+ volunteers!

Other ways that OAA collaborates with District agencies, Federal agencies, faith-based and
community-based organizations as well as private organizations to in fulfilling its obligations

OAA consults with and advises these entities on targeted outreach strategies
OAA directly supports their outreach efforts by disseminating information through our
networks and social media platforms
OAA supports District agencies by providing quality control on translated documents in
compliance with the District’s Language Access Act of 2004.
As needed, OAA partners with organizations by facilitating discussions, providing advice
on program content and structure and support in securing venues for program activities.

OAA is committed to strengthening the African community, through partnerships and
meaningful collaborations, which increase community access to District agency services and