Jaha Dukureh is the founder of Safe Hands for Girls, a nonprofit organization working to protect young women and girls who are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). For her outstanding work on women's rights and advocating against FGM, she was named TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People for 2016, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, and called one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2017 by New African magazine. Herself a survivor of FGM and forced into child marriage at age 15, Jaha successfully contributed to President Obama’s administration investigating the profile of FGM in the USA and the subsequent Summit to End FGM at the United States Institute of Peace. Alongside women’s organizations and civil society, Jaha has also contributed to the Gambian Government announcing a ban on FGM through youth mobilization and campaigning in Gambia.
Her work has been featured the New York Times, the Guardian, Cosmopolitan magazine and other media outlets. Jaha’s advocacy work has a global reach where she founded an organization in the Gambia to mobilize youth around engaging religious leaders and other key stakeholders to combat FGM. She says: “These issues are personal to me, they’re part of my life history. We won’t have equality until girls can grow up with control over their own bodies and futures. I want to see the day when no parent makes a decision that will change and limit their daughters’ lives. The girls of Africa and worldwide need to know that their future is bigger than they imagine.”
Jaha holds a Bachelor's degree in business administration management from Georgia Southwestern State University and a Master's degree in Non-Profit Management from The University of Central Florida, both in the USA.