The formal establishment of Nisaa: African Women’s Project (“Nisaa”) in 2011 came as a response to the recognition that African immigrant and refugee communities in Iowa required culturally and linguistically specific services that matched their unique experiences and needs. In 2009, Hibo Jama, who is of Somali descent, was hired as a consultant for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) to organize community outreach events in the African refugee communities and Monsoon provided Ms. Jama technical assistance and office space for her activities. Her outreach efforts, which continued until 2011, resulted in an increase in the number of African immigrants requesting assistance from Monsoon. In October 2011, Monsoon helped form Nisaa and hired Ms. Jama to provide services to African immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Des Moines, Iowa, as a part-time advocate. A year later, an advocate from the Sudanese refugee community joined Nisaa under the AmeriCorps program. Ms. Jama subsequently became the Project Director of Nisaa after receiving funding from CVAD that began in July 2012.
Nisaa strongly believes that a program led by Africans will be the most efficient, in tackling gender-based violence in African communities in Iowa. Nisaa has obtained its 501c3 status and is now a stand-alone organization.