Safer and Stronger Together: Retreat – March 11 to 13, 2022

A group of members of the African Women’s Alliance of Waterloo Region went on a retreat to Peterborough from March 11 to 13, 2022. The theme of the retreat was gender-based violence and how the community reacts.

It was a chance to reconnect in person after seeing each other over Zoom meetings for two years. It was the first time some saw each other. It was an opportunity to take a break and relax as part of a process to focus on our well-being.

We had a frank discussion on Gender-Based Violence during which we shared experiences and talked about practical solutions to an issue that affects many women. We also talked about resources and what individual women can do to support friends and family members in abusive situations.

But it was not all work for the group. We also made time to play charade and shared lots of laughter. Members caught up with each other one-on-one as well.

The weather was too cold to go for a walk and explore beautiful Peterborough, but perhaps we will return next in warmer weather.

It was a successful retreat, and the African Women’s Alliance of Waterloo would like to thank the Canadian Women’s Foundation for making this possible.

Cooking and Belonging Circle Fall 2021

Week 1: November 13, 2021                       Participants: 7                   Recipe: Rice with spinach stew

As the women arrived, some cleaned up the surfaces and got the utensils needed, while some started with prepping the vegetables needed. The tomatoes and bell peppers were cut into smaller pieces and roasted in the oven for about an hour. Meanwhile, the rest of the vegetables i.e. onions, garlic, ginger were cleaned and set aside. The roasted tomatoes and peppers were then blended with the onion, garlic and ginger to create a thick sauce.

The frozen spinach was defrosted in cold water and drained, this was set aside. The fish was cooked with some spices and set aside. Then, some chopped onions were sautéed in palm oil, after 2-3 minutes, the tomato sauce was added, along with the fish and cooked for some time, covered. The thawed spinach was then added to the cooked tomato sauce and mixed carefully until all the components were evenly distributed. This resulting spinach stew was left to cook uncovered for another 20-30 minutes.

Spinach stew is a common stew in some southern and eastern parts of Nigeria. It is a delicacy on special occasions as some other special ingredients may be added to make it richer and more flavourful. The spinach stew could be eaten with yams, rice, potatoes, cassava meal, corn meal or pasta.

The spinach stew was intended to be dished with rice, but the rice didn’t turn out well. This was a big disaster for the women as they looked forward to a wonderful first session of the cooking program. Everyone was disappointed to see that the rice was unevenly cooked; this was due to brand of the rice used and the quantity used made it even harder. The spinach stew was well appreciated by the community as we encouraged families to make some rice or potatoes to have with it.

We were fortunate to make some coconut macaroons as a desert to make up for the rice. The coconut macaroon recipe was a quick and easy one. There were only five ingredients: coconut flakes, sugar, vanilla, egg whites and salt. The egg whites, vanilla, salt and sugar were whisked until frosty and the coconut was mixed in until all combined. The coconut batter was scooped and placed in a lined baking sheet. This was baked for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

The kitchen talk was about home-made lunches especially for kids. The women focused on certain cultural foods don’t appeal anymore to immigrant kids as they get accustomed to fast food and Canadian foods. Also, other kids react in a way that makes immigrant kids unable to eat comfortably at school. Some of them would bring back their lunches back home just because they felt shy or ashamed to eat at school. The women discussed what works and what did not work for them and what they are hoping to try and incorporate after the discussion. Again, the women appreciated the discussion as it created a learning space and connection among the women. As the women cleaned up, Alan and his wife joined in the end to help us dispose off the rice. It was a good session regardless of the occurrence.

Week 2: November 20, 2021                       Participants: 7                   Recipe: Pasta and tomato sauce

Pasta is a common Somali food due to the heavy influence of Italian culture. This easy recipe was quickly executed as the women started to prep the tomatoes, peppers and onions. They were cut up and roasted and blended with some garlic and ginger. The blended tomato sauce was set aside. An amount of minced meat was cooked with some spices and herbs, and then the tomato sauce was added to this and cooked for about 15-20minutes. The pasta was cooked until el dente, and served with tomato/meat sauce.

The discussion was about the best brand of tomato sauce in the market. Everyone agreed the best sauce was to start from the scratch like we did, but then there was a diverse selection of the best tomato sauce. One participant mentioned how she used a particular tomato sauce as a pizza sauce for her homemade pizza. This was very interesting as some women did not know that could be done.

The essence of belonging was portrayed when a participant shared with the rest of the group a needed kitchen utensil she had bought on sale. Everyone was thankful. Today’s session was a quick and easy one and everyone cooperated and cleaned up and dispersed just in time for a special church service.

Week 3: November 27, 2021                       Participants: 7                   Recipe: Rice with lentils and meat sauce with flatbread.

The recipe for today’s session was all about a special Kenyan meal. Rice and lentils with meat sauce is a very common food in Kenya and can sometimes, occasionally be combined with flatbread. It is usually eaten for supper which worked out perfectly as the packages of food were delivered right in time for supper.

One surprising fact that was discussed was that flatbread was not eaten in the western parts of Africa but a very common staple in the eastern/northern parts of Africa. Just like lentils, this was pretty new for some participants. The different ways of incorporating lentils into meals was discussed as well as its benefits.

As the women gathered, they prepped and cooked the lentils separately until soft. Some diced tomatoes and onions were sautéed in oil for a few minutes and the lentils was poured into the sautéed vegetables and cooked for about 10-15 minutes.  The meat was seasoned with some spices and herbs and onions and cooked until soft. Some diced tomatoes, green peas and carrots were added to the meat and cooked for some time. The rice was then cooked separately with salt and oil. After everything was cooked, the rice, lentil sauce and meat sauce was the dished and packaged for delivery.

Again, the community members were very appreciative of the gesture. Some people who received the food said Saturday was a special day for them as they looked forward to something different for dinner.

Also, one of the ladies who received a food package recommended her neighbour to also get a food package.  She thanked and prayed for everyone involved in the project.

Week 4: December 1, 2021                          Participants: 7                   Recipe: Lentil Kofta/Lentil ball and Semolina dessert

Today’s dish is a vegetarian meal from Turkey. We had some Turkish ladies take the lead in the preparation of this meal. This is a popular dish that is loved by everyone and mostly made for visitors and could be eaten as lunch or dinner. The main ingredients were lentils and bulgur wheat. The lentils was washed and cooked over medium heat for about an hour until very soft. The cooked lentils was then drained and left on the stovetop to set for about 15 minutes. Some onions and garlic were sautéed for a few minutes, then a few cans of tomato paste were added and then a variety of spices and herbs were added to the cooked lentils. A few lemons were squeezed and added as well. The contents in the pot were mixed together thoroughly to get all ingredients properly mixed into the lentil/bulgur mixture. The mixture was then scooped and rolled into balls like meatballs.

Some fresh vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, parsley and tomatoes may be added. Lettuce could be used as a wrap with the lentil ball and eaten as is. It may also be eaten with any other salads.

For dessert, semolina sweet was made with some semolina flour and butter mixed with vegetable oil and cooked until brown. Some pine nuts were added as garnish

Although most volunteers were unable to come as it was a weekday, but the ladies who showed up worked as a team and everyone collaborated efficiently. The guest cooks were very helpful and cooperative. The ladies were very happy to come and meet with the host volunteers, engaging and connecting. Learning about each other’s culture, even though they had similar ways of doing certain things, but then the cultures are strikingly different.

Week 5: December 4, 2021                          Participants: 8                   Recipes: Rice and Chicken Suqaar/stew

This food is a Somali food and it is very popular. The main ingredients are rice and any kind of meat, chicken or beef. Our recipe today called for boneless chicken legs that were cut up into small pieces and sautéed with onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro and special spices and herbs. This food is very common that it is usually cooked when there is a party or other big gatherings. This is also the number one menu in most Somali restaurants. It is commonly eaten as lunch and rarely for dinner. One cool fact is that most people will eat this food with bananas on the side, and then with any other kind of salads.

The rice was cooked separately with some seasoning. First we sautéed some onions in oil and added a proportional amount of water to cook the rice. The salad was prepared with lettuce, cucumber, onions, carrots and tomatoes. A homemade salad dressing was prepared and served in small dressing container, along with the salad. The rice was dished in a separate food container and paired with a salad container and packed into plastic bags for delivery.

The discussion was about the different kinds of rice and the different ways of cooking rice. It would be recalled that the first session recipe was a dish of rice which turned out to be a disaster. It was not that the recipe was not followed, but rather the kind of rice used was the problem and turned out half cooked and soggy. The rice was perfectly cooked today despite the amount. Everyone agreed basmati rice was one of the best rice to cook. The ladies shared how they cooked it and what they preferred to eat it with. It was noted that even with the basmati rice, there were grades and some when cooked maintained a balanced flavour and texture, while others may be a little off but still maintaining the basmati flavour.

Week 6: December 18, 2021                        Participants: 7                   Recipe: Nigerian Meat Pie and Persian Kibbeh

Today was all about baking. Meat pie is a popular street food in Nigeria. It is usually eaten as a snack but can be filling enough for a light lunch or dinner. Meat pie is made with fine flour dough and stuffed with cooked minced meat with vegetables, spices and herbs.

First some chopped onions and garlic were sautéed for a few minutes in a little oil that barely covered the bottom of the pan. The minced meat was added along with some spices and herbs and then stirred continuously until browned and cooked. Some boiled diced potatoes and diced carrots were added at the end to add some flavour without getting mushy or soggy.

The dough was prepared by adding some measured butter, eggs, milk, sugar and salt to a measured amount of flour and kneaded until the desired consistency. The dough was then cut up into smaller pieces and then each piece was flattened with a rolling pin. The flat dough was stuffed with some cooked minced meat and covered at the edges. The stuffed pie was then brushed with whipped eggs and baked for about 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the Persian Kibbeh, some rice was cooked until soft and set aside. Some potatoes were peeled, diced and cooked until soft. The potatoes was mashed until soft and mixed with the rice. The rice-potato mixture was then moulded into a ball and stuffed with some of the cooked minced meat and then fried until brown. This dish was a variation to the classic meat pie and turned out to be very delicious as well.

The ladies talked about the time spent together over the past six sessions and were grateful for the connection and friendship made. Some ladies expressed that they would feel bored over the next couple of months not going anywhere despite the fact they needed the break. It was a great belonging program and the ladies shared very personal stories that were painful and made them feel sad but they felt relieved to share. The purpose of the project was fulfilled yet again, bringing women of different backgrounds and cultures for a unique cause of cooking for the community and breaking isolation and creating a sense of belonging.

Rihanat El-Alawa

December 29, 2021.

Cooking and Belonging Circle Summer 2021

Week 1

Recipe: Fried rice with vegetables, Oven Baked Chicken, Garden Salad

Participants: 7

Theme: Stories of coming to Canada

Participants arrived at around 10.30am. As everyone gathered, there was a brief introduction and everyone got to chat a little and have some breakfast. There was a food safety talk and teachable moments as participants got a tour around the kitchen. Everyone washed their hands, got the different utensils that was needed, washed, trimmed and cut the vegetables. Someone was appointed the team lead and was not necessarily a chef but someone who enjoyed cooking.

Rice is a staple in most parts of Africa and Asia. There are different ways of cooking it depending on the culture. A measured amount of rice was washed and soaked for some time. Vegetables that were used included: bell peppers (red, green, yellow); carrots, peas, onions. After about thirty minutes, the rice was cooked along with some spices, when it was almost done; the vegetables were sautéed and mixed with the rice. The rice was left to cook on low heat until it was evenly cooked.

The chicken legs were marinated with some blended onions, garlic, green peppers, and some spices and salt. After an hour, the chicken was baked in the oven for about 40-50 minutes until crispy yet juicy.

The vegetables for the salad included lettuce, field cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Participants cut them and mixed them up.

As participants prepped and cooked, there was a discussion about what brought them to Canada and their journey coming here. Everyone had a unique story to share. Some stories were emotional and some were fierce, some had easy entrance while some had to issues during the process. The struggles a lot of immigrants go through cannot be underestimated. Speaking out made some women feel relieved that they made it and were looking forward to making the best use of their time in Canada.

The foods were packed and some volunteers dropped off the food to neighbours and different community members. As cultural people, it is believed and well known that food connects us, not that we are hungry but that we share together and feel we belong. The thought of just dropping food at the door of a neighbour makes both parties feel good, feel connected and feel belonged. The food and belonging project hopes to have an impact on the women who have volunteered to put their time in this project and to give back to the community while learning from others as they meet to cook.

Week 2

Recipe: Spaghetti with roasted peppers and tomato sauce, Pan fried meat, Black bean salad with feta cheese

Participants: 8

Theme: Job readiness and highlighting one’s skills; a meeting of intellectuals

Participants arrived and started to sort out the vegetables. The vegetables were washed, trimmed and cut up into small pieces. Some red peppers and tomatoes were then oven roasted till browned and blended with some onions, garlic and ginger.  Some chopped onions and green peppers where sautéed in some oil and the resulting sauce was cooked slowly with some sole fillets.

Then some spaghetti pasta was cooked till el dente, drained and a few tablespoons of oil was added and seasoned. Spaghetti is very common in certain parts of Africa that had Italian presence, especially in Somalia. It is enjoyed with a rich blend of tomato sauce and meat. It is also an easy dish to make when all the ingredients are available.

About 10 cans of black beans were wiped and cut open, the contents of it i.e. black beans was drained and rinsed. Some cut up cucumbers, onions and green peppers were added to the beans. A pack of feta cheese was crumbled and added to the mixture. Fresh vinaigrette was prepared and poured into the mixture. The beans and vegetables and cheese was tossed and carefully mixed.

As the ladies cooked, there was a discussion about job search and it was amazing to know that all of the women were university graduates from their home countries. We had a doctor, a financial specialist, some scientists and IT experts. Some had actually completed their master’s degree. It was a battle of the sciences and the arts. Everyone was glad to know that they were not alone and that it is only a matter of time and settling in, things would work out fine. The women also lamented on the lengthy process of immigration and how the nominations were actually based on the level of education of the adults in the family.

It should be noted that these families who have chosen to immigrate to Canada fund themselves 100%. They have to pay for their rent, utilities and other bills. Although they get some grants and subsidies like other Canadians, yet it is very difficult to keep up with the system after arrival. Most immigrants struggle to find a well-paying job that befits their educational backgrounds and work experiences. They have put in a lot of money to come to Canada and settle here. The Canadian economy sees more growth as Canada welcomes new immigrants every year.

The meeting soon ended after the food was packed, and the kitchen was cleaned. The gathering is always a joyful one as everyone heads out with a pack or two to share with their neighbours and community members.

Week 3

Recipe: Moi-Moi (Bean pudding) with grilled plantain

Participants: 10

Theme: Personal connections after isolation

As participants arrived, things were put together as the chosen recipe takes a lot of time to cook. It is worthy to note that most African foods are cooked from the scratch and so it takes a lot of time to prepare. The beans used had already been peeled; a measured amount was washed and soaked for some time. Some red bell peppers, onions and Jalapeno peppers were washed and kept aside.  The peppers and soaked beans were blended until smooth. Some seasoned and cooked sole fish fillets, along with some quartered boiled eggs were added to the blended beans and peppers mix. This mixture was then scooped into aluminum foil moulds and cooked for about 35-45 minutes.

On the side, some ripe plantains were sliced and oven roasted till brown.

Moi-moi is a very delicious staple in the Western parts of Nigeria. It is also a very popular street food that is enjoyed by all. Some people love it spicy, some love it when cooked with dried shrimps or dried fish. As the ladies cooked, there was a discussion of how people enjoyed moi-moi. Someone said she loved it with a cold garri (soaked cassava flakes), some enjoyed it with fresh bread, and some enjoyed it with rice. The discussion also included if our kids still enjoyed African dishes or preferred Western food. It could be seen that as families settle in Canada for years, they become to drift away slowly from African foods, not because they don’t like them but because it takes time, it may be spicy or may have certain herbs and spices that have become less pleasant.

In these very strange times, there is very little connection especially among immigrants who are new, reaching out to them and inviting them to join the circle has really helped them to feel more welcomed and feel at home. Participants feel good knowing that there are other folks with same or similar cultural background to talk to and ask questions, increasing one’s self-esteem which in turn builds stronger relationships and a stronger community. The goal is to create a sense of belonging, while breaking isolation and boredom. Participants looked forward to meeting again and learning from each other. Every week had a different theme that may be planned or unplanned. But in the end, there is always a rewarding discussion.

Week 4

Recipe: Geema (Fried diced potatoes with ground beef sauce)

Participants: 9

Theme: Helping women understand financial ‘health’

Participants gathered to prep the items and ingredients for the meal of the day. The potatoes were washed and diced and soaked in salty water for some time. The ground beef was seasoned and spiced and cooked with some blended tomato and bell peppers and onions and garlic. The soaked diced potatoes was fried and then mixed with the ground beef sauce.  Geema is a Sudanese dish somewhat similar to shepherd’s pie but using diced potatoes instead of mashed

The discussion was about financial management. One of the ladies, who is a financial analyst at Sunlife Financial explained to the rest of the group how to save money for future use, especially RRSP and high-interest saving accounts. It was a great discussion and some questions were raised and addressed. Most newcomers are not aware of the RRSP benefit that is available to all eligible residents of Canada. Setting aside some monthly deductible will be topped up and the beneficiary can take the money for use at the right time. It was noted that parents can save for their kids’ future higher education.

Week 5

Recipe: Moroccan stuffed Msemen

Participants: 17

Theme: Showcasing the power of core members in team work.

Today’s dish was a Moroccan street food, a very common food that could be eaten at any time of the day. Msemen is a flat square-shaped bread or pancake that is made from fermented dough. The dough was kneaded from a mixture of white flour and semolina flour with warm water.  The participants gathered and all hands were on deck with the preparation of the meal. There was a group of ladies working on the veggie and meat filling, different colours of bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, onions and garlic were diced. The vegetables were sautéed and mixed with the cooked meat. Another group of women mixed the dough and let it sit for some time before cutting up into small balls. The small balls of dough was then flattened and stuffed with the meat and veggies mix before folding and placing in the baking pans. These were cooked in the oven for about 30 minutes until brown and then taken out to cool before packing.

It was a lot of work making the dish but the power of coming together as dedicated team worked. The women worked collaboratively, splitting up into teams and working on different tasks. The women had brief moments of discussion about the food. The lead cooked brought some Jam for the women to try the Msemen with. She said it could be pan fried for better flavour and if there were just a few to be made.

The food was packed along with some vegetable rice on the side. The women all had some food for their families, neighbours and other members of the community that would need some extra love. One volunteers noted that a community member would call her “my food angel” as she looked forward to some food for her and her family. One volunteer mentioned that one new immigrant who just had a baby was thankful for the food as she didn’t have to worry about cooking that day and would rest instead. The project has helped ease the negative consequences of the pandemic.

Week 6

Recipe: Beans with stewed beef (Chilli) and fried plantains

Participants: 9

Theme: Volunteerism, the power that drives community service

Today’s dish is a common West-African dish that is especially enjoyed in Ghana when it is cooked with pure palm oil. The beans was washed and boiled uncovered for about an hour to remove the excess indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. Alternatively, the beans could be soaked overnight.

The boiled beans was rinsed and drained and then cooked until soft in a pressure cooker. The sauce to be used was prepared on the side as the beans cooked by blending some roasted peppers, tomatoes and onions and then cooked with some palm oil. Some cooked and flaked basa fillets were added to the tomato sauce for flavour. The stewed beef was prepared by first frying the meat and cooking in some blended tomato sauce until it was thickened.

Some ripe plantains were sliced and fried. Fresh garden salad was also prepared on the side. The food was then packed and volunteers took what was needed for distribution in the community. As the ladies prepared the food, it was noted that it was the last week of the project for the season. There was a reflection on how women can help their community, giving back to the community through labour and time. The different program’s that the African Women Alliance ran was highlighted. The women were encouraged to stay connected to the community by taking part in different community projects, trainings and events.

The food and belonging project did bring members of the community together through food, increasing their sense of belonging and creating an environment of togetherness in the pandemic. There were proper COVID protocols and women were socially distanced as they cooked, wearing their masks and taking turns to use the kitchen in the allowed numbers. The project was a success s there was always enough to go around. The women learnt to cook together, sharing ideas and information amongst each other. A big thank you to the organizers and volunteers.

Say “Yes” Covid-19 Vaccine

African Women Alliance of Waterloo Region (Afrowomen) actively supporting the Covid-19 vaccination initiative organized by the province and as implement by the Region of Waterloo

Our Covid-19 vaccination initiative includes:

  1. Identifying neighborhoods where people of African-origin are clustered in the Region
  2. Calling residents in these communities on the phone, providing information and then understanding what their views or on the Province’s vaccination program
  3. For the resident that say ‘yes’ AWAWR adds their names to a list. These residents are then provided with assistance on how to register on Region of Waterloo covid-19 vaccine website
  4. For those that say ‘no’ schedule in-person visit (with masks and social distancing protocols) so that an AWAWR volunteer can explain the need for vaccination in their native language.

AWAWR strongly encourages everyone in the community to get their covid-19 vaccination by following guidelines provided by Region of Waterloo Public Health. To register for an appointment, click here:

University of Waterloo Health Sciences
Building- Vaccination Location

The following Covid-19 Vaccination Centers are open and accepting people by appointment only:

  • Cambridge North Dumfries Ontario Health Team Vaccination Clinic, Cambridge at Langs

Address: 1145 Concession Road, Cambridge, ON N3H 4L5

  • Cambridge Pinebush Vaccination Clinic, Cambridge

Address: SmartCentres, 66 Pinebush Road, Cambridge, ON N1R 8K5

  • Health Sciences Campus Vaccination Clinic, Kitchener

Address: 10 Victoria Street South, Kitchener, ON N2G 1C5

  • New Vision Family Health Team Vaccination Clinic, Kitchener

Address: 421 Greenbrook Drive, Kitchener, N2M 4K1

  • The Boardwalk Vaccination Clinic, Waterloo

Address: 435 The Boardwalk, Medical Centre 2, Suite 106, Waterloo, ON N2T 0C2

  • Wellesley Vaccination Clinic, Wellesley

Address: 3710 Nafziger Drive, Unit A, Wellesley, ON N0B 2T0

COVID-19 Information

African Women Alliance (AfroWomen) is part of the larger Region of Waterloo (and indeed, the rest of the world) impacted by COVID-19. As individuals primarily and as a community, we need to emphasis that our individual choices make an impact in reducing the spread of the virus and reducing the rate of person-to-person transmission, i.e. “flatten the curve”. Our families, our friends, our community, and our workplaces have all been impacted. As members of (AfroWomen), we all must do everything in our power,   like all Canadian organizations and associations, to supports our federal, provincial and municipal authorities in their efforts to bring this pandemic under control. As individuals and as a community, we must head the advice from medical experts on social distancing, quarantines, cleaning and disinfecting, self-monitoring for symptoms and other recommendations. We need to do our part to keep our neighbourhoods and families healthy.

As part of social distance guidelines on public safety, AfroWomen has postponed and/or cancelled a number of planned events for July, including Afrofest. Once the authorities provide the “all-clear”, we will resume our events programming.

In the meantime, here are some thoughts we wish to share with you:

If you are desiring local news on the situation, here are some links you might find useful:

If you are missing your usual social outings, many organizations are creating community events online. You can participate in online workout classes, yoga sessions, religious services and other community events using social media and/or conferencing tools. A few examples:

  • https:/

If you need assistance with applying for benefits, speaking to a health professional, etc. check out these links:

Federal Benefits and Assistance

COVID-19 Self-Assessment

Mental Health Resources in Ontario (Kids Help Phone for youth, Good2Talk for post-secondary students, Connex Ontario for adults)

Support our local businesses and their employees. These organizations are an important part of our community and would appreciate your patronage during these challenging times. Here is a partial list of businesses in the area run by African, Caribbean or Black citizens: You can order takeout from a restaurant or show your support in other tangible ways, like purchasing a gift card.

AfroWomen is in the process of updating its website, which can be used as a platform for sharing thoughts and perspectives on the current situation on social media channels. Feel free to contribute your stories and ideas with the African Community on social media and email!

We need to stay positive, stay busy and continue to inspire ourselves.  Below is some works of encouragement from the Letter to the Community of the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region:

“While these are uncertain times, it may be possible for you to find silver linings during this crisis. Perhaps you have extra time to spend with your family, catch up on your reading, work on personal goals, or a home project? “The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty“. We will make it through this crisis, so let’s be positive, stay connected, support each other and do our part to lessen the impact of this pandemic.”

AfroWomen is committed to serving our immediate community and the larger community during this challenging time. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions and stay safe.

In Harmony,

African Women Alliance of Waterloo Region

My Community Table

My community table is an ongoing weekly cooking program offered by the African Women Alliance of Waterloo region in partnership with City of Kitchener, Mill – Courtland Association, St Stephen Lutheran Church and sponsored by the Government of Canada. It brings women together weekly into a common space to explore cuisines and cultures from Africa and other parts of the world.

The Village Pot

The Village Pot (TVP) was a joint 6-week summer cooking program carried out by the African Women’s Alliance (AWA). AWA partnered with the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre (KDCHC), who provided the community room with kitchen, child care, and guest speakers, and the Manulife Centre for Community Health Research (MCCHR), who provided funding and administrative resources. TVP ran from August 15th – September 30th, 2019. It was a community based cooking program that focused on recipe sharing and collaborative cooking of modified African cuisine to show-case some of African culture and food.

It opened up channels to discuss various societal and health issues that were inspired by talks from local wellness advocates from KDCHC and Carizon. It was also designed in such a way to remove barriers to social inclusion and mental wellness in the community through shared cooking. It brought women from all backgrounds into a safe common space to socialize and build friendships across cultures. It also encouraged open discussions on stereotypes and stigmas associated with issues of ageing and menopause in women following the focus group interview by the research team from MCCHR.  

Brunch and Chat

Brunch and Chat is a community sensitisation forum that took place on ” Mar 05, 2019: the forum focuses on the issues of gender based violence in the immigrant population in Waterloo region.

The event brought together active female leaders / volunteers across diverse community groups into a common space to discuss GBV and its presentation in the immigrant community, factors that aide the occurrence, barriers to ending it and most importantly the roles neighbors, friends and families in either promoting it or ending it. It was a close discussion forum that was by invitation only and was attended by 14 participants. The event is hopefully one in the series of more to come with a possible training of locally based peer champions that would work with families in the various ethnic communities.

This was a collaborative project between the African women alliance of Waterloo Region and OCASI-NFF campaign that was made possible by Dr Ginette and her team at the Manulife Centre for Community Health Research. Additional support was provided by the Worldwide Opportunities for Women.

AfroFestival 2019

African festival or Afrofestival takes place every summer at Waterloo Park. The festival of 2019 took place on July 20, 2019.