Jaha Dukureh

Jaha Dukureh is the founder and CEO of Safe Hands for Girls, an NGO that works in The Gambia, Sierra Leone and the USA. Since 2013, Safe Hands for Girls has advocated for an end of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage (CEFM). She works at grassroots level to change attitudes, mobilize opposition to both practices and provide support to survivors. 

The work Jaha led with Safe Hands for Girls was instrumental in convincing President Obama’s administration to investigate the prevalence and profile of FGM in the USA, and the subsequent Summit to End FGM at the United States Institute of Peace. Safe Hands for Girls’ advocacy was also a key contributing factor in the Gambian government’s decision to outlaw FGM in 2016.

In April 2016, at aged 25, she was named to the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In December 2017, she received the award of “Human rights activist - Humanitarian of the Year” at the seventh annual African Diaspora Awards and was named one of the 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine. She has been named as one of the top 100 gender global policy influencers by Apolitical, and one of the top 10 Africa Changemakers by YouthHubAfrica. She was appointed UN Women Ambassador for Africa in February 2018 and nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian Politician Jette F. Christensen

Jaha is the subject of the film Jaha’s Promise, a documentary that covers her life and work. Her story, in her own words, can be read here.

Jaha was born in The Gambia in 1989, the daughter of a prominent Imam. She was subjected to FGM when she was just one week old. At the age of 15, Jaha was sent to New York, and forced to marry a man who was much older than she was. Having fled this marriage, she later remarried and moved to Atlanta, before returning home to The Gambia in 2018, where she now lives with her three children.

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