International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

Meet Jaha Dukureh: Africa's Regional Good will Ambassador for UN Women

Date: Monday, February 5, 2018

Jaha during the screening of Jaha's Promise in New York, June 2017. Photo: UN Women/ Ryan Brown
Jaha during the screening of Jaha's Promise at UN Headquarters in New York, June 2017. Photo: UN Women/ Ryan Brown

Jaha was born in Gambia in 1989 and became a US citizen in 2015. She is married with children from her second marriage. Her first, arranged marriage took place at age 15 to a much older man.

She became the founder and CEO of non-profit organization Safe Hands for Girls in 2013.

In 2014, she contributed through a successful Change.org petition to the Obama administration investigating the profile of FGM in the US and the subsequent the Summit to End FGM on December 2, 2016 at the United States Institute of Peace.

Alongside women’s organizations and civil society, Jaha contributed to the Gambian Government announcing a ban on FGM through youth mobilization and campaigning in Gambia.

In 2015, Jaha met (the then) UN Secretary-General  Ban Ki-Moon for International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in February.

In April 2016, aged 25, she was named to the  Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world in the “leaders’ list”.

In March 2017, the feature documentary about her life and work to end FGM “Jaha’s Promise” was released.

In December 2017, New African magazine named her as one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2017, for her work as an activist,  and in the same month she was recognized for her work on ending FGM with the award of “Human rights activist, Humanitarian of the Year” at the seventh annual African Diaspora Awards.

Jaha is currently working on social mobilizing in Gambia across the country’s villages, using a pink bus and screenings of her film to stimulate discussion and change. A major march is expected in Banjul on 6 February 2018 to commemorate Zero Tolerance to FGM Day.