By Alagie Manneh
Gambian activiste, Jaha Dukureh, will travel to Liberia this month to add support to the country’s efforts to eliminate FGM, UN Women, the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women announced in a press release yesterday.
The UN women goodwill ambassador is herself a survivor of both FGM and child marriage. In February 2018, she was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for Africa to support regional and global advocacy efforts to end FGM and child marriage, UN Women said.
Alongside women’s organisations, the release added, Ms Dukureh contributed to the Gambia Government’s ban on FGM in 2015 after youth mobilisation and campaigning in the country.
Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Liberia Country representative, said: “Ms Dukureh’s visit will coincide with the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign which will be observed from 25 November to 10 December under the global theme, ‘Unite, Activism to end violence against women and girls” and national theme, ‘With one voice, let us unite to end violence against women, girls and children.’
“The visit follows Liberia’s sign up to the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence in 2021 and is intended to support Liberia’s efforts towards the eradication of FGM through multi-stakeholder engagements and high-level advocacy and social mobilisation.”
According to the release, a major highlight of Ms Dukureh’s visit will include: a public screening of ‘Jaha’s Promise’, a documentary film about the life and advocacy efforts of Jaha Dukureh; engagements with various stakeholders including traditional and religious leaders; a solidarity walk to end gender-based violence in Liberia; the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based violence as well as the launch of a Vocational and Heritage centre in Sonkay Town, Liberia.
The Sonkay Town Heritage centre is one of four vocational and heritage centres established by UN Women under the framework of the European Union and United Nations Spotlight Initiative, the release stated. “The four centers are expected to provide alternative economic livelihood programs to former traditional practitioners of FGM in Liberia.”
It added that Ms Dukureh is expected to engage with various change makers including government officials, diplomatic community, traditional leaders, civil society, women’s organisations and the media. “She will also reinforce public knowledge and increase education on the depth, scale and devastating consequences of FGM.”
UN Women is supporting efforts of the Government of Liberia to eliminate gender-based violence through the Spotlight Initiative, a global programme that aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls including harmful practices such as FGM.