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From Activist to Politician, The Gambia

By Ruth Harley,

Jaha Dukureh has been an activist against Gender-based violence for over ten years. As an FGM survivor, Jaha used her voice through the media to make sure other women don’t face the same pain and challenges she has had to face. Now she is using that voice to run for vice president in The Gambia.


Through vigorous campaigning, Jaha has accomplished many achievements including helping to ban FGM in The Gambia, Advising Barack Obama, and being nominated for a Noble Peace Prize. Now Jaha is running for vice president with the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) party in The Gambia. 

Joining the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

Alongside her political campaigns, she will be hosting 15 radio shows about ending gender-based violence in each region. This is part of the 16 days of activism that is taking place across 8 other African countries from mostly beginning on 25th November to – 10th December. 

There will be media engagements around the country using the community radio stations to pass out the messages. Using the official campaign calendar, the activities and radio shows will be scheduled around the campaign timetable. Radio spots will be booked on every community radio station, Jaha with a selected co-panelist will make a stop at the radio stations to speak about the role that politicians can and should play in the fight against violence against women. She will also make a public call for politicians to publicly commit to adding their voices to the campaign against violence against women.

 As a long-time campaigner, Jaha understands the Gender-Based Violence issues that each region faces and therefore will leave a very powerful and direct message behind in each region. 

A Quote from Lisa Camara, Long time FGM activist who has been fighting gender-based violence with Jaha

"I have high expectations. She is one of us. She is not only an activist but an FGM survivor. If she takes the leadership role she will be sure to shape change in a big way. She has a bright future ahead and she will do the right thing"… Share on X

The 16 Day Annual Campaign: 

The 16 Days of Activism is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

Gender-based violence remains a deeply painful and infuriating societal issue. The impact on human well-being – as well as on families, communities, and economies – is crippling. No nation is untouched. The United Nations describes it as a pandemic – an epidemic that has reached all corners of the globe. Gender-based violence is used as a weapon in war but it is also used as a weapon in daily life. It is based on a complex and toxic set of beliefs around power and control. It takes many forms and doesn’t always show up as a physical act but, as the rise of digital GBV has illustrated, can involve public shaming, coercive control, and economic violence. Moving away from these behaviors requires a lot of questioning and reflection around relationships in our societies and how we want to live together. Peace is not simply the absence of war – it is far more than that.

Ruth Harley

Ruth Harley is working with GMC as a Website News Editor, compiling stories written by End FGM campaigners working with the Global Media Campaign to End FGM across Africa. Alongside this work, she is running The Women’s Vinyl Project which empowers women and girls through singing and music and is helping to end FGM.