“Women’s health in women’s hands”



Since 2008, the City of Bilbao has carried out an intercultural programme called «WOMEN, HEALTH AND VIOLENCE » focused on Communitarian PREVENTION THROUGH THE EMPOWERMENT of migrant women, by a) health self-management, b) sexual and reproductive health promotion and c) gender violence prevention.  The programme is jointly funded by the Department of Immigration of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and the European Fund for Integration of the European Union.

The Programme carries out 4 implementation processes:


  • Training of Officers for Empowerment

The training sessions brings up issues such as the role of women in societies, the concepts of love and gender, self-esteem, conflict-resolution, women’s rights, family planning and gender based violence. After having completed the training, the “Officers for Empowerment” transfer the knowledge to other women in their communities by the snowball effect.  


  • Information and awareness-raising of stakeholders

The workshops are organised with different stakeholders such as associations, foundations and NGOs to raise-awareness on these issues, disseminate information material that can support them in their work and bring the knowledge for the effective use of public services network.


  • Pilot intervention on Female Gender Mutilation (MGF)

To prevent and raise awareness on Female Gender Mutilation, special information is provided on the patterns and behaviours related to this issue. Workshops have also been established with mothers from minorities where this practice is still in use, to allow for discussions, trainings and learning from them.


Since it was launched in 2008, the programme has gradually been consolidated, reaching a larger number of women each year. The trainings offered to women from minorities have created a domino effect and they have, in turn, organised workshops with associations in their own communities. Campaigns on gender based violence have also been held and over 5.000 guides on Women,Health and Violence have been distributed in 8 different languages.


“Women, Health and Violence” has also got international recognition and has been selected as an example of good practice in the following events:


  • EU-MIA (European Integration Migrant Academy) – TURIN 2014
  • Recognized for having improved social cohesion in the integration of immigrants – Cities of Migration – 2012 
  • Selected Case Studies from the European Network OPENCities – 2011
  • Selected as a Success Practice by the Department of Immigration of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security – 2010