“If the city is connected to the community members, it will understand the issue firsthand, instead of just assuming what the problem is. If the community is constantly communicating with the city management, we can find solutions faster.” 

Muktar came to Arizona as a refugee from Somalia with his mother and siblings as a child. He has been helping other refugees for many years and is now the program coordinator for Somali Association of Arizona, which helped his family after they immigrated. “I wanted to give back because I understood that these families have limited resources,” he says. “They don’t understand the culture, the process, the system.”

He participated in Phoenix’s resilience workshops to help prepare low-income communities for extreme weather and other challenges. The workshops were part of the Cities of Service Resilience AmeriCorps program. Familiar with the needs of the local community, Muktar helped workshop leaders develop a booklet that could be used by community leaders as a guide to facilitating resilience work.

“The reason I invest a lot of time on the project is I believe the best way to communicate is by connection,” he says. Muktar continues to work on a number of initiatives with the city. He believes that much more can be accomplished when all stakeholders, including citizens, have a seat at the table.