Somalia: Somali Women’s Rights Activist Wins Roger Baldwin Award
“Hawa Aden Mohamed has provided education and other assistance to tens of thousands of women and girls in a country ruptured by violence and chaos,” said Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director of Human Rights First. “The world may have forgotten about the crisis in Somalia, but Ms. Mohamed has never stopped working to assist the most vulnerable.”
Through GECPD, Mohamed mobilizes women to defend and advocate for their rights in society, beginning at home. The center serves over 500 women and children in many towns and villages with medical care, vocational and income-generating trainings, support for more than 50 orphans, and the only public school for girls in the area. Over 3,000 women participate in the organization’s innovative literacy and awareness learning circles that address issues such as family relations, health, education for girls and women, women’s work load, and natural resources management. GECPD has also been at the forefront of the peace and reconciliation movement in Galkayo, working to ensure that the town is not redivided along clan lines. The center has touched tens of thousands of women since it was founded in 1999.
Mohamed will be presented with the award in New York later this spring. She will also meet with international organizations and policymakers in Washington and New York.
Human Rights First received nominations for extraordinary human rights activists from all over the world. An international selection committee judged that Mohamed should be given the award considering the distinctiveness of her work, the effectiveness with which she has advanced human rights in Somalia and the considerable risks she faces as a result of her work.
The Award is named in honor of Roger Baldwin, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the International League for Human Rights. The award is presented by Human Rights First every other year to a human rights organization or activist outside of the United States that has made a distinguished contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights. In alternate years the ACLU selects a U.S.-based winner.
8 April 2008