Over two decades, AkiDwA has gained recognition as a leading NGO for highlighting the issues faced by migrant women in Ireland.
AkiDwA has developed the capacity of hundreds of migrant women and communities living in Ireland through our network, resource centre, outreach and training programmes.
All of our projects aim to promote migrants participation in their local communities; in civic and political structures, government consultations and decision-making processes.
AkiDwA consults with migrant women and other key stakeholders, identifies discriminatory practices and develops evidence-based and representative solutions that address key issues like gender-based violence, and discrimination.
AkiDwA Head of Operations & Strategy Salome Mbugua
AkiDwA emerged as an organisation between 1999 and 2001, after a series of regular meetings between migrant women were initiated by Salome Mbugua, who came to Ireland from Kenya in 1994. The very first meeting was in 1999 in Dublin city centre’s Temple Bar.
By 2001, with the support of the Catherine McAuley Centre, Salome had mobilised a group of African women who met regularly to share their experiences of living in Ireland.
In 2002 AkiDwA obtained funding from the Combat Poverty Agency to carry out a pilot needs assessment of African women living in Ireland. The survey elicited responses from over two hundred females from seventeen counties.What emerged from these meetings were feelings of exclusion, isolation, racial abuse and discrimination and issues related to gender-based violence. The group went on to meet regularly with facilitation from outside.
By 2003 some more formal structures were in place. AkiDwA was registered as a company with guarantee but without capital share. However, limited funding meant that most of our work continued to be carried out on a voluntary basis.
Akidwa works to improve the integration of migrant women and indigenous women by developing training modules such as Train the Trainer that explore cultural diversity, racism and its effects on society. Akidwa reviews legislation, proposes changes to existing policy and practice and proposes reforms.
AkiDwA uses key strategies like networking, policy work and individual and organisational development to achieve its objectives.Policy is developed from working with migrant women to identify their needs in key areas like gender discrimination, gender-based violence and employment preparation and skills development.
AkiDwA’s networking strategy is aimed at individuals as well as organisations. AkiDwA develops legislative, policy and practice reforms to address these priority issues with government and sectoral stakeholders, as well as developing capacity-building programmes that deliver on the ground practical support.
AkiDwA has delivered workshops and training programmes aimed at improving access to education and employment, sexual health, integration, leadership and political/civic participation in many regions across Ireland.