Jaha Dukureh
Founder & CEO, Safe Hands for Girls

Jaha Dukureh has been described as the lightning rod for change in the Gambia and is one of the youngest Africans ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. After being subjected to the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), Jaha was adamant to use her voice and raise awareness in the Gambia and globally, and has become the leading voice of a new generation of African women rising up to demand equality for women. 

Dukureh is the founder of Safe Hands for Girls, a survivor-led organisation, whose grassroots programmes create awareness of FGM and other forms of violence against women through education, advocacy and youth-led campaigns. Its work led to FGM being officially banned in the Gambia in 2015. Jaha is currently focused on building an African led movement, The Big Sisters Movement, to end FGM and child marriage by 2030.

Jaha leads by example to inspire women and girls to become leaders in creating a better future for their communities and countries. Her leadership, courage, and informed advocacy has been pivotal in engaging religious leaders in the coalition of stakeholders dedicated to ending FGM in Africa. 

Jaha was appointed Regional UN Women Ambassador for Africa in February 2018 and in this role, supports UN Women’s advocacy to end FGM and child marriage in Africa, with a focus on mobilizing youth. She has also been engaged in similar efforts with the World Bank.

Her work has been met by international acclaim, most notably being awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Medal of Honor in 2018, as well as being recognised as among Time magazine’s “100 most influential people in the world” in 2016.