Mother Africa is concerned with the disconnect between services offered to African immigrant and refugee women and their families in Kent, WA and services accessed by these communities. Today’s event was great! We met a lot of people from other African countries, and learned about their different cultures, their food, their music, etc. I’m looking forward to more of such meetings! – Nimo, Somali Community RepresentativeBefore starting our pilot project, we feared that many of these communities are isolated from the greater community due to barriers such as language, culture, religion, background and education.Through our research conducted during Phase I (baseline service provider data) and Phase II (focus groups) of our pilot project, we saw confirmation that these African communities do not have representation by any known organization (prior to the inception of Mother Africa) and have therefore been unable to or unaware of how to access the services and resources available to them. The pilot project had three phases:
Conducted a baseline assessment of needs/community mapping to identify who the African immigrant and refugee communities are, their country of origin, their language, where they reside in the City of Kent, and identify all resources offered to these communities within the city of Kent.
We identified, trained and supported African women community leaders to conduct seven focus groups to identify: which organizations they currently access resources and services from, what their resettlement experiences have been, what needs are not being met, and what solutions they recommend to these gaps in services.
Combined all findings, compiled and analyzed the data, and networked with other service providers with the aim of helping service providers begin to offer new and tailored services to these communities.
The pilot project allowed the communities to acquire knowledge and be empowered to advocate for themselves with specific needs and desired solutions. This pilot project achieved two key outcomes:
- We gathered data that is now available to service providers and the City of Kent to help them better understand how to work with African communities and better achieve their organizational development goals.
- We worked with African communities to raise the voices of African women, provide a community space for women to engage with one another, and facilitated a venue for women to share their experiences, needs, challenges, ambitions, and goals for their communities. This data now frames all of the projects and activities we do.
For a full report on the data we collected, please contact us.
We had the pleasure of working with four University of Washington Global Health masters student interns on this project: Carolyn Othieno, Carissa Moore, Mohamed Elameen, Babatunde Adewoyin.