#16 Days of Activism: Gambian Female Gender Advocates To Hail

Activism is a noble cause but comes with endless challenges especially in societies deeply rooted in religion and tradition. In the Gambia, a woman taking up activism means giving away her religion and belief, leading to many trolls, especially social media. 

As we orange the world these days, we celebrate some exceptional female Gambian activists- who have risked it all for a better world for women and girls.

Jaha Dukureh

Nobody talks about Gambian activism without thinking of Jaha! A Nobel prize nominee, Jaha is one of the country’s brightest activists with a proven track of her work and the impact on girls and women in The Gambia.

Married off at an early age to an older man, Jaha fought through all odds to influence a life-changing law in the Gambia–the child marriage ban. This came after several campaigns in communities and influenced policymakers through her outstanding Safe Hands for Girls.

The UN regional women ambassador who survived two painful forms of gender-based violence–FGM and forced marriage found no reason to be under the shadow for other girls across Africa to survive. Thus, she took up activities to change lives and influence policy marker decisions.

Musu Bakoto Sawo

Also a victim of child marriage, Musu is a lawyer and women’s rights activist passionate about informing communities about harmful practices like FGM and child marriage. She has worked with numerous women and girls’ organizations like Think Young Women and gotten recognized by women groups in The Gambia and beyond.

Experiencing marriage and raising a child while schooling, Musu knows very well the consequences of early marriage, especially its emotional toll on oneself. Musu’s “desire is to have a generation of enlightened and strong young women.”

Isatu Bokum

Isatu Bokum is one of Gambia’s most promising young women with a clear vision of what the future holds for her in activism. 

Isatu is a filmmaker, a girl’s and women’s rights activities, and Girls Talk Organization founder. Her determination to make the world a better place for youths, especially girls, has landed her the first-ever Gambian to be Rhodes scholar in 2022 and a Mandela Rhodes scholar in 2021.

Through her Non-profitable organization, Bokum has reached more than 10,000 girls and young women online and offline. Her strategy of community work involves mentorship and sensitization programs, career development programs, capacity-building programs, media campaigns, and advocacy outreaches.

Salimatou Fatty 

 Salimatou is a Gambian educator and gender advocate. Fatty grew up in an “economic disadvantage home”, which led to countless struggles to achieve the education she enjoys today. But maybe she was just one of the lucky ones among her friends who were married off to become drops outs of the school.

Her foundation–Salimatou Foundation for Education (SaFE)– wants to ensure every child’s right to education is “respected, promoted and fulfilled”. The 27 years old educator has been named 100 list of the most influential young Africans for her efforts in promoting education for young girls.

 

The world commemorates from November 25 to December 10 every year to observe 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence–to fight all forms of sexual violence against women and girls. Starting in 1991, this year’s celebration marks the 30th anniversary of this global campaign. One in every three women experiences a form of violence, making taking action urgent. 

 

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