Akina Dada wa Africa-AkiDwA (Swahili for sisterhood) is a national network of migrant women living in Ireland. AkiDwA’s vision is a just society where there is equal opportunity and equal access to resources in all aspects of society – social, cultural, economic, civic and political. Our Mission is to promote equality and justice for all migrant women living in Ireland.
Over two decades, AkiDwA has gained recognition as a leading NGO for highlighting the issues faced by migrant women in Ireland. The organisation has developed the capacity of thousands of migrant women and communities living in Ireland through our network, outreach, psychosocial support and training programmes.
All of our projects aim to build the capacity of migrant women and promote their 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 health, sexual and gender-based violence, and discrimination.
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 then 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 external facilitator
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 until 2005 when Salome received financial support from Social Entrepreneur Ireland to develop and AkiDwA. By 2007 AkiDwA had achieved tremendous support in terms of funding resources, the organisation also acquired charitable status during this period and developed their first strategic plan.
Evaluation and review undertaken by the organisation in 2018 showed AkiDwA remains highly respected, credible, relevant organisation recognised for unique expertise and longevity in the field. Unique migrant led, national women’s representative organisation.
& Organisational Structure
AkiDwA is a registered charity in Ireland (CHY 17227) and we are also registered with the Charities Regulator as Akina Dada wa Africa (Charity Number 20063641). AkiDwA also operates as a company limited by guarantee without capital share (370089).
The organisation is governed by a Board of Directors from diverse backgrounds and professions. The board meets six times a year. The Annual General assembly is held every year where an annual report which includes a narrative of activities and a financial report are shared and discussed with stakeholders. The work of the organisation is also supported by an advisory committee made up of both migrants and indigenous people from different backgrounds and expertise.
AkiDwA fully Complies with The Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary and Charitable Sector in Ireland, having completed our journey to compliance in April 2019.
Evaluation carried out by the AkiDwA in 2018 indicated the organisation has highly qualified board members and is embedded with resilience governance policies and compliance, has skilful and knowledgeable motivated staff that take pride in their work with members, volunteers and target group loyalty to the important work of the organisation.
AkiDwA is committed to transparency and good governance. Our Annual Reports and Financial Statements can be viewed below, and are archived in our Publications section.
2019: Strategic Plan 2019-2021
Thaís Muniz, a native of Brazil, is an interdisciplinary artist and designer interested in the Afro-diasporic connections, identity, belonging and migration. Her art practices emerge from the need of shattering the status quo when it comes to the representation of Black bodies, to empower, rescue identities & histories, building bridges and opening conversations. Thaís uses textiles, storytelling, interactive performances, audio-visuals, workshops and urban interventions to share narratives from an anti-colonial perspective, connecting people and uplifting histories. Since 2012 she has pioneered research on turbans and headwraps in Afro-Atlantic culture and its place in art, politics and aesthetics, by creating Turbante-se, a movement and platform, which follows the mystery and beauty of turbans and headwraps in the Afro-Atlantic diaspora – its traditions, new meanings and usage, as tool and connection object. This movement has empowered Black communities from all over the world with an array of practices and actions.
Beth Wanjiku Kinyua
Beth Wanjiku Kinyuais involved with community development programmes – work which has motivated her to get a certificate in the same as well as diplomas and certificates in management, leadership and web design. Kinyua also developed skills from her work with the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops in coordinating projects, strategic planning, administrative skills, and giving support to different projects and colleagues.
Cllr. Uruemu Adejinmi
Cllr. Uruemu Adejinmi is the Mayor of Longford and member of Longford County Council. Married with three children, she has an honours degree in Mathematics, a PGDip in Risk and Financial Analysis, an MBA and is a certified Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP). Prior to becoming a Public Representative, Cllr. Uruemu Adejinmi held varied roles in the Private and Public Sectors, from entry level to management level and has expertise in auditing, project & process management, product research & development, policy development, contract negotiation, personal insolvency & debt management as well as human capital development. She is a Community activist, serves as director and executive member on boards and committees, and volunteers in community groups and the Parish Council. She is the founder and Chairperson of the Longford Africans Network.
Tahereh Fardin Tabrizi
Tahereh Fardin Tabrizi was born in Iran and moved to Zimbabwe with her parents when she was 7 years old. As she started high school, they moved to South Africa whereafter she completed her LLB in Law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and subsequently her LLM in international Law at the university of Johannesburg. She participated as an exchange student at Leiden University in the Netherlands at the faculty of Law for the course of Advanced Air and Space law. In addition to her studies and activities in law, she has been instrumental in the administration and accounting setup of two small start-up companies in South Africa. Tahereh has also provided translation and legal research services to organisations in Iran, South Africa and Iraq. In her career, Tahereh has also served the UN refugee council in Iraq as well as the Afghani refugees in Iran. She has been working as a legal advisor and compliance advisor for a few years now. Academia has always been a huge part of her life, and she is currently busy with the admission requirements for a PhD in law focusing on women’s issues in Human Rights.
Luzia Antonio Berechet
Luzia Antonio Berechet was born in Angola and has been living in Ireland since 1996. She strongly believes in equal rights for women which she believes gives her the right to call herself feminist. Luzia speaks three languages, which help her to navigate many cultures and ways of being. She is dedicated, committed and passionate about communicating the importance of being an instrument of empowerment. Luzia has held a diverse range of roles over the years, lending to a particularly unique expertise: she is the founder of MyT.T.Talk, the chair of AWDI, a patron at Soulsisters UK, the governance officer at Shining Light Galway, an emotional geographer at EMME, and has served as the regional coordinator at Sheroes Global. In addition to this she has volunteered for the Annual Collection Day for the Special Olympics Ireland, has been a speaker for Lideranca no Feminino, the Acting chair of CCAI, and a member of VAD-Angolan Voices in Diaspora. Her expertise is in administration and communication are unparalleled.
Dami Aramide is a motivated financial services professional with over nine years of experience in consulting and financial services (FS) industries with a strong focus on project management, portfolio development, business unit management and risk governance. A PRINCE2 foundation certified professional with an MBA from Trinity College Dublin (TCD), she possesses excellent interpersonal and teamwork skills with the ability to develop relationships with clients, key stakeholders and colleagues to deliver business/project goals. Dami is passionate about project/risk governance, achieving targeted deliverables at record time and going above and beyond client/stakeholder expectations. She has proven communication and influencing skills with a record of delivering high quality results.
Dr Salome Mbugua
Researcher, gender equality activist and human right advocate, Dr Salome Mbugua is the CEO of AkiDwA and has over 20 years of experience working with under-represented groups in particular women, children, and the youth, in Europe, Africa and internationally. Her expertise are in policy development, strategic planning and development, project development and implementation monitoring and review.
Dr Salome has been involved in the development of several policies and strategies in Ireland and at the EU level, engaging with various Irish government departments, agencies and units focusing on economic, social and political development. In 2019 she was appointed by the Tánaiste to chair the working group on the development of Ireland’s 3rd National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. She has engaged and presented at the council of Europe on discussions focusing on refugee women and the role of foreign policy in advancing gender equality. She serves on various advisory committees, expert groups and boards in Ireland and at a European level.
Furthermore, she is the chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion project board with Public Appointment Services in Ireland and the Co-President of European Network of Migrant Women and sits on the EU Expert Group on economic migration with the European Commission. Salome is a prominent public speaker and great motivator; she has delivered over 300 presentations on the topic of gender, development, equality, diversity, racism, migration, women on the move and the refugee crisis, gender-based violence, feminism, and inequality in Ireland, Europe, Africa and America.
Dr Caroline Munyi
As Migrant Women’s Health Coordinator, Caroline has responsibility for ensuring that health issues affecting migrant women in Ireland are addressed effectively and efficiently and in a culturally appropriate manner.
Caroline has more than 15 years experience of working on Integrated health programs for women in rural Kenya and Uganda.
She has worked with AkiDwA since 2009 on a variety of health related projects.
Caroline’s has a Masters Degree in Philosophy and a Ph.D in International Peace Studies from Trinity College, Dublin.
She has a BA in Development Studies from Kimmage Development Studies Centre, which is now part of Maynooth University.
Leina Ibnouf is the the International Development and Education Officer at AkiDwA. She has a BSc Psychology from the Open University and a MSc of Management from Smurfit Business School, UCD. Originally from Sudan Leina is a human rights activist and advocate against DSGBV. Her current project Women Together for a Better World, addresses how gender equality can be achieved by exploring equality and human rights through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals. Alongside her work with AkiDwA, Leina is also a volunteer translator and women’s support worker.
Mary Patricia Acom is a part time Women’s Support Officer alongside Hope and her roles include coordinating and
facilitating meetings and trainings on reproductive health rights, identifying and linking migrant
women in Ireland with service providers, and maintaining key contacts at Direct Provision centres
and with stakeholders.
Patricia holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Makerere University Kampala, a post graduate
Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre Kampala and Master of Laws (Global
Legal Studies) from the National University of Ireland Maynooth.
She has over five years’ experience in advocacy and promotion of human rights especially for
vulnerable and marginalised individuals and communities, and has coordinated and implemented
various projects including Legal Aid and pro bono, anti sexual- and gender based-violence, and the
International Decade for People of African Descent in Ireland, where she supports projects and
thematic sub committees like Health and Wellbeing.
Hope Turner is a Women’s Support Officer alongside Patricia, specialising in sexual and reproductive health trainings at Direct Provision sites. She is a recent graduate from University College Dublin with a Master’s of Public Health, focusing on International Health. Hope has a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Promotion and Behaviour from the University of Georgia, USA, where she concentrated on women’s health education! Hope is passionate about sexual empowerment, contraception education, and sexually transmitted infection epidemiology.
Niamh Cooney is a Domestic Violence Support Worker at AkiDwA, specializing in sexual and gender-based violence. Her role focuses on supporting migrant women in Ireland who have been victimized by domestic abuse and other crimes, to access the supports and services available to meet their needs.
Niamh graduated from NUI Galway in 2010 with a degree in Human Rights and has worked on multiple projects related to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in both Africa and Asia. She is passionate about gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Cynthia Karanja is a community health ambassador (CHA) in Ireland.
Her roles at AkiDwA involve planning and developing interactive activities as well as hosting community conferences, where she provides information in relation to complex issues affecting migrant women.
Through collaborations with educational institutions, she has created awareness on topical issues affecting migrant women as well as educated youth on how they can be actively involved in eradicating harmful practices.
Her objective is to live in a world where all girls have a right over their bodies and are free from the shackles of harmful practices.
Shaakya Anand-Vembar is the office administrator at AkiDwA. Her role focuses on communications, liaising, organisational activities, and event planning, among other things. She has been involved in grassroots organising and social justice/migrant justice activism since her undergraduate studies at Columbia University, New York, where she majored in psychology.
Shaakya is currently a PhD candidate at Trinity College Dublin, where she researches shame in adult survivors of child sexual abuse, and is a committee member of the Postgraduate Workers’ Rights Alliance. She recently completed a training in community organisation with the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
2014: The first family planning clinic for FGM survivors opens in May
- AkiDwa’s pioneering work on research into FGM led to the opening of Ireland’s first specialised family planning clinic for women who have undergone FGM. Following meetings with stakeholders throughout 2013, the Irish Family Planning Associationand the HSE open the clinic in May
- In March AkiDwA CEO Salome Mbugua made a presentation to Members of the European Parliament in Brussels on Bringing Life to Plural Europe, at the invitation of Younous OMARJEE and Jean-Jacob BICEP. Her talk led to the EU parliament discussing xenophobia and racism as causes of inequalities and injustice
- AkiDwA’s campaigning and lobbying and working in collaboration with other stakeholders produced positive results when the Reception and Integration Agency developed and published a policy on sexual and gender based violence for managers, staff and residents of all accommodation centres for asylum seekers in Ireland
- Following a feasibility study for AkiDwA, a new strategic plan was developed for the organisation
2013: AkiDwA publishes Between Two Cultures, a book of inspirational stories based on the experiences of young migrant women
- AkiDwA CEO delivered a presentation to the European Parliament in Brussels on the impact of the financial and economic crisis on women. She contributed to a policy paper on the role of migrant women in diaspora for international development that was published by Friends of Europe a European organisation
- Akidwa undertook a survey of Young migrant women
- Between Two Cultures, A book featuring inspirational stories of the experiences of young migrant women in Ireland was launched by AkiDwA to celebrate International Women’s Day
2012: FGM is outlawed in Ireland
- After more than a decade of campaigning by AkiDwA in Ireland, the Criminal Justice Act 2012 (Female Genital Mutilation) was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins on 2nd April, making FGM illegal.
- The law became effective on 20th September, making it a criminal offence for anyone resident in Ireland to perform FGM. The maximum penalty under the new law is a fine, imprisonment for up to 14 years or both
- AkiDwA launched the No Place to Call Home Report which highlighted Issues of Safety and Security for Women Seeking Asylum in Ireland
- After years of campaigning we saw progress in the area of domestic violence for migrant women, when The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) published Guidelines for Immigrants experiencing Domestic Violence
- AkiDwA’s new strategic plan was launched.
2011: AkiDwA makes a Dáil presentation on behalf of women living in direct provision
- AkiDwA partnered with the Equality Authority to produce a report on The Multiple Discrimination against Migrant Women in Education and Employment in Ireland
- In July AkiDwA and Amnesty International met with the Commissioner of Refugee Applications and a senior member of their policy unit to discuss a European initiative called Engendering the European Asylum Support Office (EASO)
- AkiDwA gave a presentation at the Dáil to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality which focused on the barriers faced by women who are living in direct provision when they seek remedies for domestic violence
- AkiDwA celebrated a decade of work with migrant women and key stakeholders across Ireland
- AkiDwA completed a ten year organisational review and evaluation
- AkiDwA launched the publication, ‘Home and Away: Migrant Women Transforming Ireland’. An exhibition based on the report was shown in libraries and local authorities across Ireland.
2010: AkiDwA CEO Salome Mbugua is elected to the National Women’s Council of Ireland
- AkiDwA published Am Only Saying it Now, research into the Experiences of Women Seeking Asylum in Ireland
- AkiDwA was invited to the Dáil twice to give presentations to the Committee on Health and Children and to the Committee on Women, Equality and Justice
- AkiDwA Launched an Information Booklet on Access to Employment and Education for Migrants
- AkiDwA CEO Salome Mbugua was elected as Deputy Chair of the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
- AkiDwA CEO is selected to represent Ireland on the Eisenhower Women’s Leadership Programme in the USA
2009: Handbook on FGM: Information for Health Care Professionals Working in Ireland
- AkiDwA and the Royal College of Surgeons launch the first Irish Handbook on FGM: Female Genital Mutilation: Information for Health Care Professionals Working in Ireland
- first data on FGM in Ireland
- One migrant woman was elected as a Councillor in County Monaghan after AkiDwA organized a national conference entitled African and Migrant Women: Creating and Shaping Changes in support of migrant women running in local elections
- AkiDwA gave a presentation on FGM to the Joint Oireachteas Committee on Health and Children
- The Minister for Health Mary Harney announced her intention to prohibit FGM in Ireland
- AkiDwA established the Brain Gain Project, a networking platform for migrant professionals and business people operating in Ireland
2008: AkiDwA establishes National Steering Committee to end Female Genital Mutilation
- AkiDwA and IFPA establish the National Steering Committee to work together to end Female Genital Mutilation.
- AkiDwA developed and launched the Irish National Action Plan to address FGM in the country
- AkiDwA organised a Conference and exhibition on Integration and Embracing Diversity
- AkiDwA provided support to theWomen’s Enterprise Association of Rakai, Uganda
- Implemented the women health project on Ending FGM
2007: AkiDwA helps HSE to develop National Intercultural Strategy
- AkiDwA CEO is appointed to the Board of Ireland’s Equality Authority in order to represent the interests of migrants
- AkiDwA makes a presentation on migrant issues to the Anti-Poverty Network in Brussels
- AkiDwA published our research on Black Irish Women in the Labour Market
- AkiDwA gave a presentation on Race and Immigration in the New Ireland at the University of Notre Dame, USA, alongside former President Mary Robinson
- AkiDwA makes a Submission to the Health Services Executive to help it develop Ireland’s National Intercultural Strategy
- An AkiDwA project on domestic violence is funded by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (DJELR) resulting in a workshop, and the publication of our research
2006: AkiDwA becomes a registered charity
- AkiDwA publishes a short book entitled Her Story: Migration Stories of African Women
- AkiDwA organises a Conference entitled: Challenging the Invisibility of Black and Ethnic Minority Women in Ireland
- AkiDwA partners with Business in the Community (BiTC) and SPIRASI, to organise the Employment for the Parents of Irish Citizens (EPIC) project
2005: working on the National Action Plan against Racism
- AkiDwA receives its first substantial funding from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland
- AkiDwA’s first organisational structures, and policiesand strategic plan are developed
- AkiDwA secures its very first office at the Dublin Central Mission
- AkiDwA National Director Salome Mbugua presented a key note speech on Racism in the 21st Century: Implementing the National Action Plan against Racism at the landmark Croke Park Conference, which was organised by the NCCRI and many other groups
- Focus group discussions are held in Athlone with migrant women from FGM practising communities in order to gauge their understanding of FGM and to begin assessing the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation in Ireland
2004: AkiDwA lobbies against deportation of migrant parents of Irish Children
- AkiDwA visits women in Mountjoy Prison on International Women’s Day
- AkiDwA initiates the ‘Coalition against the Deportation of Irish Children’ (CADIC) with Dr Ronit Lentin.
- AkiDwA delivered training on capacity building to300 women in six counties
- AkiDwA makes a submission to the NGO alliance against racism
- AkiDwA contributes to the Second report of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racism
2003: AkiDwA is officially launched by Minister of State Tom Kitt
- AkiDwA delivered training on the representation and participation to 374 migrant women.
- AkiDwA begins Outreach to migrant women in seventeen counties and conducts needs assessments with them
- AkiDwA makes a presentation to the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights on the Immigration Bill 2002 and on the implications of the Supreme Court judgement concerning the residency rights of migrant parents of Irish Citizens
2002: AkiDwA develops our first training package on racism
- AkiDwA’s first training package Understanding Racism and its Effect in Society was developed and delivered to community groups and schools
- AkiDwA makes a submission to the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform (DJELR) asking for a National Action Plan for Women
- AkiDwA contributed to the National Women’s Council of Ireland’s anti-racism and women’s project, In from the Margin and delivered the keynote address at the NWCI conference
- AkiDwA produced our second training package on Race, Women and Cultural Diversity and delivered it to indigenous and migrant women, in association with the Catherine McAuley Centre
- AkiDwA makes a submission to the DJELR on the need for Ireland to develop a National Action Plan against Racism together with the Catherine McAuley Centre and the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland.
2001: AkiDwA helps to establish a networking platform for African Women in Dublin
- Three open door meetings were held at Catherine McAuley Centre to develop support networks for migrant women
- AkiDwA’s First social intercultural event was held at the Irish Film Centre