AkiDwA Annual Report 2012

Strengthening the Voices of Migrant Women
through Policy and Advocacy.


2012 was a historic year for AkiDwA with significant achievements on a few critical areas of
work. After campaigning for over a decade for the implementation of a law that prohibits
Female Genital Mutilation in Ireland, The Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act
2012 was signed into law on 2nd April. This law has been effective since 20th September. It
is now a criminal offence for someone resident in Ireland to perform FGM. The maximum
penalty under all sections of this new law is a fine or imprisonment for up to 14 years or both.
While the principle of extraterritoriality is not included in the Act in order to conform to
Constitutional and International Law requirements, Section 3 provides an innovative offence
for the removal of a girl from the State for the purpose of FGM.
Another key achievement was the acceptance and consideration by the Reception and
Integration Agency (RIA) of AkiDwA recommendations on three areas from the report NO
PLACE TO CALL HOME Safety and Security Issues of Women Seeking Asylum in Ireland.
The organisation also saw progress on the area of domestic violence and migrant women: the
Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service published Guidelines for Immigrants
experiencing Domestic Violence. The CEO of AkiDwA was selected for the second time as
the vice chair of the National Women’s Council of Ireland at their AGM in June. AkiDwA
Staff Handbook and employment contracts were reviewed and updated.
After consultation with members, funders, stake holders, staff and board, the Organisation
launched the new Strategic plan for 2012-2015.
Review of work of AkiDwA in 2012 and targets for 2013 was undertaken in December. The
session was attended by staff, volunteers and board members. The half-day session was
facilitated by Adrienne Boyle of Boyle & Associates. Among many other things the group
looked into successes and challenges, which are identified as follows:

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About AkiDwA

AkiDwA as an organisation emerged from regular meetings held amongst fellow migrant women, from 1999 to 2001, initiated by Salome Mbugua, a Kenyan migrant woman who had arrived in Ireland in 1994. The first meeting was held in city centre Dublin, in Temple Bar, in 1999. In 2001, through the support of the Catherine McAuley Centre, Salome mobilised a group of African women to come together to SHARE their experiences of living in Ireland. What emerged from this meeting were feelings of exclusion, isolation, racial abuse and discrimination, issues related to gender based violence were also raised. The group went on to meet regularly and were supported and offered facilitation from outside. AkiDwA sought and obtained funding from the Combat Poverty Agency in 2002 to carry out a pilot needs assessment with African women living in Ireland. The survey elicited over two hundred female participants from seventeen counties. Formal structures were put into place when AkiDwa was registered as a company with guarantee but without capital SHARE in 2003. However, limited funding meant that most work continued to be carried out on a voluntary basis. With a view towards enhancing the integration of migrant women and indigenous women, training modules were developed including programmes on capacity building, cultural diversity, racism and its effects on society. In addition, ‘Train the trainers modules were also developed’. Over the years, the organisation has gained recognition as a leading NGO in Ireland, reviewing key legislation, policy and practice as well as proposing reforms specifically to do with the issues faced by migrant women. AkiDwA consulted with migrant women and other key stakeholders, identifying gender and racially discriminatory practices, to develop evidence based and representative solutions for migrant women in the key identified areas of gender-based violence, gender discrimination. AkiDwA employs the following key strategies to achieve its objectives: networking, policy work and individual and organisational capacity building/development. AkiDwA’s networking strategy is aimed at individual and organisational levels. Policy work is developed from migrant women, identifying their needs in the areas of gender discrimination, gender-based violence and employment. AkiDwA develops legislative, policy and practice reforms to address these priority issues with government and sectoral stakeholders, as well as capacity-building programmes to deliver the on the ground practical support that women require. AkiDwA has developed the capacity of hundreds of migrant women and their communities living in Ireland over the course of its lifetime. Their capacity building was supported through our network, resource centre, outreach and training programmes aimed at promoting participation in their local communities, in civic and political structures and in sectoral and government consultations and decision making processes. Training programmes delivered over the years including targeted capacity building in multiple regions, sexual health workshops, access to education and employment, integration, leadership and political/civic participation sessions.