Jaha Dukureh, a Female Gentital Mutilation (FGM) survivor, and UN Women goodwill ambassador, will arrive in Liberia from November 19 to 27 to help government’s efforts to end the cruel practices against women and girl.
Dukureh will do a public screening of a documentary film, ‘Jaha’s Promise," about the life and advocacy efforts of her work; 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; and the launch of a vocational and heritage center in Sonkay Town, Liberia.
Dukureh, who hails from the Gambia, once experienced child marriage. She was appointed to support regional and global advocacy efforts to end FGM and child marriage in Africa.
“The visit follows Liberia’s signing up for 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 mobilization,” says Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Liberia Country Representative, in a press release.
With the support of women’s organizations and civil society, she contributed to the Gambian government’s ban on FGM in 2015 after massive youth mobilization and campaigning.
“She also contributed to an investigation on FGM in the USA by former President Obama’s administration, and the subsequent Summit to End FGM at the United States Institute of Peace.”
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 Sonkay Town Heritage centre is one of four vocational and heritage centers established by UN Women under the framework of the European Union and United Nations Spotlight Initiative. The four centers are expected to provide alternative economic livelihood programs to former traditional practitioners of FGM in Liberia.
The FGM survivor is expected to engage with various changemakers, including government officials, the diplomatic community, traditional leaders, civil society, women’s organizations, and the media. She will also reinforce public knowledge and increase education on the depth, scale, and devastating consequences of FGM.
In February 2022, the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia in collaboration with the Government of Liberia proclaimed a three-year ban on the practice of FGM from 2022 to 2025. Nonetheless, Liberia remains one of the three West African countries that do not have a law criminalizing FGM despite having signed and ratified regional and international human rights instruments condemning the practice as a human rights violation, including the Maputo Protocol that seeks to outlaw FGM.
UN Women is supporting the efforts of the Government of Liberia to eliminate gender-based violence through the Spotlight Initiative, a global program that aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, including harmful practices such as FGM.