Nisaa African Family Services is a community-based organization with a mission to end gender-based violence in the African communities in Iowa. Nisaa directly services survivors/victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking from the African refugee and immigrant communities. In addition to direct services, Nisaa provides community services through its community outreach and violence prevention work.
The formal establishment of Nisaa African Family Services (“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, 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. Monsoon provided Ms. Jama with technical assistance and office space for her activities. Her outreach efforts, which continued until 2011, increased 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.
Based on Monsoon’s success as a culturally and linguistically specific program, Nisaa firmly believes that a similar program led by Africans will be the most effective in tackling gender-based violence in African communities in Iowa. Nisaa obtained its non-profit status in 2015.