Press Release by Salome Mbugua. (outgoing) AkiDwA CEO


Press release from AkiDwA for immediate release jpg



click image




Equality of treatment for Migrant in Ireland is far from been Achieved”

After fourteen years of relentless activism on migrant women’s right, Salome Mbugua, the founder and CEO of AkiDwA- the only migrant women led national organisation in Ireland, has decided to step down.

Speaking at their Annual General Meeting in Dublin on Saturday 15th November, Ms Mbugua gave a moving speech, outlining challenges and opportunities that she has faced as a leader of AkiDwA over the decade “Today I am stepping down from the day to day running of AkiDwA but I am most certainly not stepping down from the fight for women’s rights and in particular migrant women as equality of treatment for Migrant in Ireland is far from being achieved” said Ms Mbugua

AkiDwA has achieved much on behalf of, and with migrant women living in Ireland over the past decade.  Gender Based Violence, in particular, has been core to the organisation’s work. It contributed for example to the improvement of access to maternity health for migrant women who have suffered female genital mutilation and after years of campaigning and lobbying, FGM has been explicitly banned by the Irish Law through the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation Act 2012). Following the 2013 statistics it appears clearly that the number of women living in Ireland who have undergone FGM has increased to 3780 and that there is a danger of children been taken out of the country to be submitted to the procedure. Such legal framework was necessary as a preventative measure. Other areas such as women seeking asylum have not changed even after the organisation voicing on serious issues of concern on sexual harassment and gender based violence directed to women living in accommodation centres. “Over the years I have heard many cries from women living in these accommodation centres, many of them living in fear and others struggling with their health needs; women seeking asylum and living  in Mosney for example have no access to a female doctor, a request that they have made over the years, it’s disheartening”. Said, Ms Mbugua

Migrants in Ireland continue to make very positive contribution, however the future of migrant sector in Ireland that provide supports to many looks very uncertain: discrimination, racism, lack of representation and participation of migrants in Ireland remain a huge challenge. “Failure to address these issues has poorly impacted on migrants, thus affecting their psychological and health wellbeing; lack of diversity inclusion at all levels of society is a huge miss for Ireland”. Said Ms Mbugua

Based on a recent feasibility study conducted by Brian Harvey on behalf of AkiDwA, the organisation is unique and very relevant. AkiDwA provides migrant women voice, platform and perspective. However since end of 2012 the organisation has suffered with reduced funding, leading to a reduction of 75% and therefore the reduction of support offered to women as well as representation and participation of the organisation in other important activities.

AkiDwA calls on the Irish government to take strong measures on diversity inclusion and emphasizes that the diversity of people in Ireland should be reflected at all levels, failure to this will continue to create gaps and further isolation of migrants. “I call upon the Irish government to give financial support to migrant led organisations since they are playing a huge role in the Irish society but their role is still undermined”. Ms Mbugua Concluded.

For further Information Contact Spaqz Nkaku, Communication officer, Phone: 01 8349851(O) 0857033434 (M)

For further information on AkiDwA see:

Categories: Uncategorized

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.