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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Fatuma Jarso has recently become a mum. She gave birth in her house, as nearly every other woman in the project has. The baby is okay but she is hospitalized because the labour got complicated, and she is undergoing a strong haemorrhage. From the heart, we truly hope there is not any other complications and for her to get the discharge.

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In the bed next to Fatuma’s, there is a woman that has just given birth to twins, and one of them has unfortunately not been able to make it through the labour. The girl in bed on the other side has to be operated due to a vagina deformation after the complications in her last labour.

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The fact of being a woman means having an added risk in the developing countries, and Kenya is not an exception. It is estimated that, in 2015, over 300.000 women died both during pregnancy and while they were giving birth or after it all over the world. Moreover, for every woman dying when giving birth, a dozen undergo either an injury, or infection, or illness.

Most of maternal deaths are either caused by haemorrhages, infections, dangerous abortions, and preeclampsia (serious hypertension with convulsions), or due to complications because of pre-existing illnesses that get worse during pregnancy. It is quite obvious that both the lack of a suitable medical assistance and the high cost of the services are key factors which determine the woman’s and baby’s survival.

When a mother dies during labour, the child left orphaned is much more likely to die in the next two years after her/his mother’s death.

Maternal mortality rate in Kenya is very high, for the figures collected by the WHO (360 deaths out of every 100.000 births) only take into account the births in hospitals, being Kenya a country where only 44% of the births is assisted by suitable nurse staff. Lamu is one of Kenya’s districts with the highest mortality rate in the whole country (676 women die for every 100.000 births). The difficult access women have to sources and healthcare services, as well as the lack of suitable infrastructures, are the origin of this situation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has committed to support the fast reduction of maternal mortality by 2030 as a part of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

From Afrikable, we want to contribute to this goal by launching a Reproductive and Maternal Health Centre in order to be able to provide women with a quality assistance service that is accessible and suitable for all the women who need it.

The great majority of maternal deaths would be prevented if women had access to quality family planning health services, appropriate assistance during pregnancy, birth, and the first month after delivery or assistance after abortions. This is the reason why, in Afrikable, we have started a first stage of training and awareness, through family planning, health, first aid, and HIV workshops, as well as other topics related to sexual, reproductive, and maternal health, for both women in general and midwives.

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In future stages, we will cover gynaecological needs, support during pregnancy, and in the last stage we will assist in labour in order to be able to stand behind women’s rights in regards to reproductive and maternal health, thus providing women with a complete assistance and empowering them in every aspect of their lives.


Author: Lola Serra | Translator: Sara Vivarelli

Monday, 07 March 2016
Published in PROMOTION

They arrive early in the morning, at eight, and say good morning to the rest of their colleagues with a smile on their faces. Work starts and they chat cheerfully, but they are also focused and quiet when the tasks require it —cutting the fabric, sewing bracelets, making sandals… That’s the daily life of Afrikable’s women, work days without trouble or fanfare but which have become a driving force to provide for their families.

A job in Lamu means a great boost to face some of the problems suffered by the island’s women, many of them resultant from the widespread situation of extreme poverty (that is to say, incomes of less than 1 dollar a day to survive.) Added to this are hair-raising situations: women victims of maltreatement or household heads in charge of taking care of all their children and their homes. How would their reality be without Afrikable? Like that of hundred of women who live in that same city, under those same conditions, and who go out into the streets to fight for the dignity of their families.

Since 2009, Afrikable has helped in the fight against poverty by employing more than 80 women en cuatro grupos productores diferentes. in four different producer groups. Thanks to your contributions, the visit of volunteers through the Volunteer Holidays program and the shoes company Alma en Pena, we make a change.

You have helped to change the economic situation of Afrikable’s women but, moreover, you have believed in them and made them visible. I still remember Lola’s word, president of the association, telling us that she and Merche, vice president, had even asked for permission to the husbands of some maasais women so that they could work as part of Afrikable’s Fair Trade projects (in some countries such situation would scandalize us.) They accepted, as they realized it would be a source of economic incomes, so this is how it happened but, beyond that, they are women who gained freedom… Aren’t those enough reasons to bet on these invisible heroines?.

Author: Carmen García | Translator: Ara Calavia

Saturday, 05 September 2015
Published in PROMOTION

If talking about balancing family life and work is still a challenge left to conquer in many countries of the so-called First World, in the developing countries this balance becomes a real utopia, especially in the most rural surroundings with the biggest poverty rates. And that is because the sexism that is installed in the different areas of daily life in those societies is the main obstacle that the rights and freedom of women have to overcome, together with the absence of a legal and institutional framework that encourages and promotes a balance between family responsibilities and the carrying out of any work activity with certain measures, like maternity and breastfeeding leave, reduction of working hours, unpaid leave for taking care of youngsters and family members, and working hours flexibility.

Here, in Lamu, the place of women is usually limited to the house, meaning taking care of the house, of the kids and the family, and also the development of some activities oriented to getting an income to the household (picking up and selling firewood or vegetables, fruits and other products in small stalls).

But, what happens when maternity comes? The answer is simple: women still carry out their work as usual, but now they do it with a very small baby hanging from their backs. And that is because they do not have any other chance, they do not have the possibility to stop working and care for the baby without an effect in their household economy. So both options have consequences that are very far from what we understand as balance between family life and work: on one hand, stopping work to care for the newborn means affecting his life and the lives of the other members of the family, because the reduction of income translates into, among other things, a diminishing on the quality of feeding, with all the risks this implies in terms of malnutrition and other sicknesses related with the poor quality of food and water. On the other hand, carrying out the work, in most cases outdoors, with a baby hanging from their backs is not even close to the optimal situation for the recovery of the mother and the upbringing and caring of the son.

Maternidad Esha

 Esha with little Mahmoud


From Afrikable, where women’s empowering is the main goal and the unifying thread of our interventions, the balance between family life and work is a necessity and a priority to take care of. So, women work in a flexible environment regarding the care of their smaller children, because they attend their workplaces with their babies, who are taken care of during the whole work day by a woman who is in charge of this task. In this way, women can work knowing that their kids are taken care of and having them very close in case they need to attend to them themselves, which includes breastfeeding.

This flexibility also translates into the possibility to have their salaries unaffected if they have to stay at home because they’re not fine to go to work, if they have to take care of their children or relatives or go with them to the doctor’s, or if they have to attend any school or community meeting: the same applies if they need to leave the workplace for this reasons.

In respect of maternity itself, mother’s recovery after labour and the adequate care for newborns in their first months are a priority, that is why maternity leave is a right granted to every woman working for Afrikable. In this way, they can choose to extend the maternity leave period for 3 or 4 months, receiving 12,000 or 9,000 shillings each month respectively during this period. With this, the rights of both the mother and the newborn are granted, and also it is ensured that the domestic economy is not affected by lack of income, with all the risks this may imply.

In the past weeks, two Afrikable workers, Esha and Maimouna, have become mothers and both already enjoy maternity leave. They and the other women that have already enjoyed it are delighted with it because they can take care of their children and enjoy them in the first months of their lives at the same time that they get a salary, which allows them to see that their domestic economy will not be affected merely because of the fact that they became mothers, thus avoiding any kind of harm or discrimination because of their gender.

Those measures mean a step ahead towards women’s empowering and the exercise of their rights, as balance of family life and work is a more than achievable goal for this women in an environment that is full of hindrances to do it.

Authors: Marta Heredia and Lidia Jimeno | Translator: Rocío Catalano

Saturday, 05 September 2015
Published in PROJECTS

There is international consensus on the importance and need of protecting women's human rights. This position recognises their intrinsic value and the links between their rights and prosperity in general. As Xabier Aldekoa writes in his book Africa Ocean: “African women are the forgotten heroes of Africa because they are not only, though invisible, the engine of the continent but also its more reliable piece: African women never miss an opportunity to ensure their families well-being”.


Despite this recognition, the position of women, not only in Africa but worldwide, continues to be very disadvantageous because the establishment of a legislative framework in defense of gender equality is insufficient. At this point, comes into play the endless discussion between the adoption of policies that treat men and women the same way and the substantive equality, the one that is reflected in society and the one that requires transforming the economic and social institutions in a fundamental way, including the beliefs, norms and attitudes, that shape them.


Within this context of inequality and lack of protection, African women are in a situation of increased vulnerability. Proof of this is that a woman in Sierra Leone is a hundred times more likely to die during childbirth than a woman living in Canada, as noted in the report Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016, recently published by UN Women.


Mujeres TrabajandoOne of the fundamental pillars to put an end to gender inequality and to boost the empowerment of women is paid work which is the supporting pillar of Afrikable activity. We create opportunities for women by creating paid work posts with a wage basis that doubles Kenya´s minimum wage. This adds up to the training and capacity-building that we give to women to break with a patriarchal system in which the role of women is restricted to home duties and childcare.


Afrikable is a collective action centre, a crucial element because women affected by this reality need to share it, to recognize their rights and to learn how to fight for them, something that only happens when we act as a group. One of this rights is the fight to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights, which is far from being achieved. This is why the maternity leave enjoyed by Afrikable women makes more sense now than ever.


Fight, strength, commitment, significant advances and a long journey. A journey in which we would like you to be with us and in which we will play music of the one that works as a vehicle to create awareness. Music like the one made by the Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, who made her debut in 2011 with the album Fatou in which she includes the song Makoun Oumou that pays tribute to her compatriots, African women.


Author: Estefanía Vera | Translator: Estefanía Rodríguez

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Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.


In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.


  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
  • +34 605 722 162