The photograph was taken in July 1998, in the Saharawi refugee camp of Samara. The place was a room in a small infirmary in the village, where the women shown were being given a training course on how to take care of themselves when pregnant. Afterwards, their mission would be to inform the rest of the women there.
The course was also preparing them to be able to assist as midwives in a birth of extreme necessity, since it is not always feasible to transfer a patient to a hospital in time.
The day was very hot – it would probably be over 50°C – hence the women are shown fanning themselves with small pieces of paper.