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Ulster University BSc Community Development student Jahswill Emmanuel has had his voluntary work recognised through a host of awards.

Jahswill  is originally from Nigeria and moved to Northern Ireland in 2004. He is currently an undergraduate of the BSc Community Development.

On arrival in Northern Ireland, he unfortunately was a victim of racially motivated attacks but has used his experiences to help both himself and others by becoming the founder of registered charity Multi-Ethnic Sports and Cultures NI (MSCNI) in 2016, which promotes cultural diversity and racial harmony by promoting sporting and cultural activities and programmes.

Jahswill has worked towards opening a community hub through MSCNI for BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) youth to encourage them to participate and integrate through sports and cultural activities.

Work undertaken by MSCNI:

MSCNI hosts athletic events and festivals to support youth in enhancing their physical and emotional well-being on a regular basis.

Under the McDonald's Fun Football Project, MSCNI has been working with McDonald's and IFA, and since 2023, has been providing fun football sessions for over 150 local youth from marginalised, ethnic minority and local communities throughout Northern Ireland.

MSCNI collaborated with the Irish Football Association to give refugees, living in Northern Ireland, the chance to travel to Germany and compete in the UEFA Unity Euro Cup 2023.

MSCNI to provide a safe haven for youth from the community who are unable to participate in local leagues because of financial constraints, language barriers, documentation issues, or other reasons, as well as asylum seekers, refugees, and ethnic minorities. In support of this, the largest ethnic minority league in Northern Ireland, the Super League was created by MSCNI, which lasts for 12 weeks, bringing people together to play, and usually draws well over a thousand players.

The organisation has been working with Vodafone UK to implement the Everyone Connected project, which has given over 3000 new and current migrants loaded sim cards with 40GB of data and unlimited calls and texts for six months. This has allowed them to stay in touch with family and friends after fleeing their home country and relocating to Northern Ireland.

With support from Belfast City Council, MSCNI has delivered an annual residential programme (at The Jungle in Moneymore) for seven years, with more than 330 young people participating.

During Good Relations Week 2023, MSCNI alongside governing bodies Sport NI and Ulster GAA offered sport taster sessions to 60 children (aged 12 - 14) of ethnic minorities.

Outside of the organisation, Jahswill also offers support to other voluntary service providers hosting cultural events and performances, which over 3,000 children have benefitted from, to date.

Jahswill’s Recent Awards:

1) Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service MBE (awarded June 2022)

2) British Empire Medal of Honour (awarded January 2023)

3) Platinum Champion Award 2022 (awarded May 2022)

4) UK’s 2194th Point of Light award by The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak (awarded November 2023).

Previous awards:

1. Belfast City Council Sport Award, Volunteer of the Year 2017

2. Individual Diversity Champion (Highly Commended) 2019 by Legal Ireland

3. Highly Commended (Community Relations Council Awards) 2020

4. Sport Maker Awards, Volunteer of the Year 2020 by Sport NI

5. UK Community Network, Community Hero Award 2020

6. Charity Champion Winner, Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards 2021 - by Sunday Life and Belfast Telegraph

7. Regional winner - Volunteer of the Year 2021 by The Irish FA and McDonald Grassroots awards

8. National Winner -Volunteer of the Year 2021 by The Irish FA and McDonalds Grassroots Award 2021

9. Recently recognised by BBC’s The One Show for a One Big Thank You (March 2022)

10. North West Migrant Forum Advancing Race and Equality Award winner of the Advancing Racial Justice & Fairness Award 2022.

Dr Isobel Hawthorne-Steele, Senior Lecturer and Director of Research, Community Development at Ulster University, said:

“Jahswill Emmanuel is making a dynamic contribution as a student on the professionally recognised Community Development degree programme that is underpinned by the values and ethos of promoting social justice and advocating for equality of opportunity through inclusivity empowerment and partnership at grassroots community level.

"As a team, we are delighted with the well-deserved recognition that Jahswill has received and we are in no doubt that he will continue to make a positive impact in the local community and beyond.”

Jahswill Emmanuel speaks about the work he undertakes with MSCNI as well as plans for the future:

“As a volunteer in a divided community like Northern Ireland, fostering understanding and reconciliation is one of my key goals. I hope to continue to develop these skills for young people in local communities through educational programmes, vocational training, and mentorship initiatives which will enhance integration efforts, all whilst continuing my studies at Ulster University.

“Through MSCNI, I am delighted to continue to offer an extensive range of activities to cater for diverse interests within the community, which have been made possible through continued collaboration with local institutions, businesses, and government agencies to strengthen support networks and create sustainable programmes.”

Find out more:

For further information on the work of MSCNI, visit Home - Multi-Ethnic Sports & Cultures NI (MSCNI)