Nobel Women’s Initiative and the Coady Institute welcome 15 exceptional young feminist activists and leaders from 11 countries to the Spring session of the 2021 Sister to Sister Mentorship program, working together to create a new vision for inclusive feminist peacebuilding and women’s rights advocacy. In response to pandemic restrictions on travel, the program was offered online for the first time, allowing for a significant expansion of the number of participants.
AISHATU ALHAJI KABU
Expertise: Women’s and girl’s rights, gender-based violence, adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights, free access to the menstrual sanitary pad for women and girls of reproductive age, girl child education.
About: Aishatu’s motivation to be an advocate is based on her experience as a survivor of gender-based violence and the North East Nigeria humanitarian conflict. For her growing up in a highly patriarchal and marginalized society where women and girls’ voices remain underrepresented, Aishatu worked tirelessly to ensure that survivors of gender-based violence are protected and supported to fulfill their potentials. Aside from being a survivor of GBV, Aishatu derives her strength from her experiences as an Internally Displaced Person who was forced to flee from her comfort zone (Damboa Local Government Area of Borno state).
Aishatu Kabu is a founder of a community-based NGO called Zenith of the Girlchild and Women Initiative Support (ZEGCAWIS); working together with Relevant stakeholders, women, young people, supporters and partners, ZEGCAWIS strive for a just world, where women and girls as well children’s rights will be observed and protected, a world where everyone will have equal access to opportunities, economic empowerment and be treated with respect and dignity irrespective of their sex, gender, race and religion differences. Women and Girls being an integral part of the society, Aishatu advocates for their inclusion and full participation in peacebuilding, governance, and decision-making processes.
Areas of Expertise: Gender-based violence, sexual and domestic violence, ARTivism, advocacy, crisis intervention, community gardening.
About: Amy is an actress, survivor, acting teacher for kids, speaker and advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. She is the Director of Advocacy at La Casa Mandarina AC, a Mexican non-profit organization devoted to end sexual violence and heal trauma through ARTivism. She combines her artistic work with activism collaborating with diverse feminist collectives.
Amy is committed to expanding her studies around gender justice and has taken multiple workshops related to working with women with disabilities and survivors of sexual violence. She also regularly attends continuing education opportunities related to navigating gender and culture. Amy works in various art collectives creating plays that highlight discrimination, feminism, and sexual violence as a means to further a dialogue around justice and healing through art.
Amy always believes in victims, and she wants to build a safer world for everyone; a world where survivors feel they are not alone. She loves to travel, dance, eat, meet new people and learn from them.
Areas of expertise: Advocacy, documentation of human rights campaigns, campaigning
About: Manal is an anti-colonial and anti-apartheid Palestinian human rights defender and feminist. She believes that colonialism and heteropatriarchy are the two sides of the same coin; therefore, her decolonial struggle against the settler colonial project of Israel on the land of Palestine is also a feminist one. To liberate Palestine, Manal believes, “we should first free Palestinian women from the chains of indigenous and colonial heteropatriarchy.”
Manal works towards reinforcing Palestinian culture of sumud (steadfastness); she believes thatsumudis an everyday act of resistance and anti-colonial mode of being through which Palestinians emphasize their identity physically, culturally, and socially against Israeli erasure attempts.
She contributes to strengthening sumud by supporting both females’ and males’ right to education in marginalized communities, reinforcing alternative economies through women and youth cooperatives, fighting Israeli environmental destruction, and strengthening ties of solidarity and joint struggle with oppressed/colonized people across continents.
Manal argues, “unlike organized forms of resistance, which are usually controlled by men; sumudis is a space through which both women and men can forge the decolonial present and future of our nation.”
Areas of Expertise: Assistance to victims of ISIS, including victims of SGBV, rights of minorities in Iraq.
About: Vianis currently the coordinator of the Yazidi Survivors Network at Yazda NGO. The Network is a Global Yazidi Network that aims to support survivors of genocide and sexual enslavement committed by ISIS. Prior to this, Vian worked as a coordinator and documenter inYazda’s documentation project, which gathers information on the Islamic State’s crimes against Yazidis in August 2014. In that role, Vian spoke to many ISIS survivors, especially female survivors.
Vianhas extensive knowledge about the Yazidi genocide and received training on interviewing techniques, documentation of SGBV crimes, and documentation of crime scenes by Justice Rapid Response (JRR). In her previous work,Vian worked as a volunteer with different NGOs defending women’s rights, equality, and democracy.
Today, Vian wishes to build her capacity to continue supporting and empowering ISIS survivors, especially in their advocacy work.
NICOLE MUSIMBI MBAMBU
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Areas of expertise: Women economic empowerment, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
About: Nicole is the president of the Young Women Leaders for Peace -Béni(YWL) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a program of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders; the goal of YWL program is to empower young women from conflict-affected countries to be leaders and agents of peace. The YWL members run workshops on implementing the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and Resolution 2250, and work with young women on economic empowerment.
Nicole Musimbi is motivated to promote Congolese women’s rights, who have suffered the brunt of conflict. Nicole works to bring visibility to women’s contributions to peacebuilding and sustainable development in her community.
Nicole Musimbi is a peace activist with insightful expertise on young women’s contributions to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Her main area of work is with survivors of sexual violence on economic empowerment. She also leads advocacy, workshops, and campaigns with local authorities and other local actors to raise awareness of WPS in her community, which is affected by armed conflict.
Nicole loves to learn and meet new people to gain from their experiences.
Areas of expertise: Sexual and gender-based violence, minority rights and mental health.
About: Dildar is passionate about advancing sustainable development through promoting mental health, women’s rights, combating sexual and gender-based violence, and promoting minority and human rights. Her social and political interests have led her to work with various organizations such as Oxfam, the German Children and Youth Foundation, the Turkish Human Rights Association, UNICEF, and SEED Foundation.
She is currently working as a Senior Program Officer for the developmental organization SEED Foundation in the KRI on promoting social, educational, and economic developmentand humanitarian assistance. Her current emphasis lies in the recovery and reintegration of ISIS survivors and ensuring adequate access to Mental Health services in the KRI. As part of her work to combat discrimination and promote equality, Dildar implemented a dialogue between the German chancellor Angela Merkel and youth with disabilities and the refugee community. The dialogue caused a worldwide media echo and endorsed German laws to be amended in favour of individuals with disabilities and employment rights for refugees.
Dildar is a One Young World Ambassador and holds a fellowship from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Besides, she is a fellow of the transatlantic program for young minority leaders by the Johns Hopkins Universities American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.
GRACE JOSEPH OJUKWU IKARAK
Areas of expertise: Human rights, constitutional law, international human rights, gender-based violence and conflict management.
About: Grace Ojukwu is a lawyer and an advocate for Women’s rights. Grace works for the Center for Development and Research as Program Officer. She has worked for several international and national organizations as an advocate and policy officer, representing women and victims of gender-based violence rampant in South Sudan. She campaigned to eradicate gender-based violence and girl child compensation from the Eastern Equatoria region’s pastoral communities.
Grace works closely with local authorities, chiefs, and village elders to bring an end to girl child compensation and forced marriage in society. Besides, she offers free legal aid to victims of GBV and forced marriage across South Sudan.
Grace is among the group of young female lawyers who campaigned for increased participation of women in governance and negotiation during the Revitalized Peace Agreement. She engages state authorities to employ more young female politicians and technicians in a key position to strengthen women’s leadership and representation throughout the country. She also campaigned for increased girls’ enrollment in schools. She is flexible, enthusiastic, and a fearless advocate of women’s rights.
OUNAYSA ARABI ABDALLAH
Areas of expertise: Ounaysais an economic and social studies student. Her work scope is to bring the Sudanese LGBTQAI community and women’s voices into the public sphere to be heard and visible and to find their voices within the social, sociopolitical, socioeconomic contexts.
About: Ounaysa’sstrategy opposing and changing the social system is by touching the root cause by initiating conversations and spreading human knowledge among younger women, whether by workshops or conversations.
She believes that it is also important to include the older generations in the process; she has been participated in initiating our local intergenerational dialogue sponsored by UN women Sudan. Along with cooperating with several local organizations working on women’s rights and LGBTQAI.
She is co-founded a movement that aims to radically change the system and also, she is an advisory member at ROYAA for feminist studies organization.
She loves listening to new music, DIYs, travel and MARVEL.
NORWU KOLU HARRIS
Areas of expertise: Gender-based violence, women’s rights.
About: Norwu Kolu Harris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and is currently a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Sector Administration. She is an experienced woman and youth advocate with over ten years of achieving exceptional results. She was part of the few young people that worked tirelessly for the passage of the National Children’s Law of Liberia in 2011.
In 2012, she along with other adolescent girls, drafted a manifesto called “Manifesto for the Development and Empowerment of the Liberian Girl Child”. The manifesto was meant to call the government’s attention to the plights of girls and what they wanted to change.
As a founding member of March for Justice – a social justice network, she was part of the team that leads a three-day national call to action protest that lead the President of Liberia to declare rape a national emergency in August 2020.
Currently, she works at ActionAid Liberia as the Youth Program Officer. She also volunteers as a mentor at several civil society organizations. Norwu has developed a strong interest in finding solutions that will help other women and girls who are suffering from violence, discrimination and inequality in her society.
Areas of expertise: Human rights, peacebuilding, social justice, development, focusing on gender-related issues.
About: Ilaf Nasreldin is a 25 year-old women’s rights advocate. She is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of AMNA, an organization that advocates against violence against women (VAW) in Sudan. She’s an activist for human rights, peacebuilding, social justice and development with a special focus on gender-related issues. Currently, she also works at the Sudanese Organization For Research and Development (SORD), as a Research Assistant and Projects Coordinator for the project (Supporting Feminist transformative Peace and Democracy in Sudan).
Ilaf puts a special focus on empowering young women in peacebuilding in the current ongoing transitional period in Sudan. She does this through coordinating, supervising and facilitating projects and programs aimed specifically at increasing the participation of young women in peacebuilding and politics.
MUSU DIAMOND KAMARA
Areas of expertise: Women’s political and democratic participation, sexual and gender-based violence and advocacy for women’s rights.
About: Musu D. Kamara is a young women’s rights activist, a social change campaigner, a stern feminist and an environmentalist by training working in Liberia to engender a society free from all forms of violence against women and girls. She has over five years of experience working with women and girls through advocacy campaigns. Musu is a vibrant member of many campaigns in Liberia (Enough Excuses Campaign- a campaign to transform social norms that justify sexual violence through victim-blaming), (#weareunprotectedcampaign – which rose as a response to the “More Than Me” “Unprotected” report released by October 11, 2018, which detailed the rape and horrific sexual abuse that occurred at More Than Me Academy in Monrovia, Liberia). As a peer motivator, Musu believes in human dignity and independence, respects diversity in that ‘people are different, and those differences must be acknowledged and respected- giving every person equal opportunity and space to exist’, out of the intergenerational partnership.
Musu envisages a future where women are not caged in society’s box of do’s and don’ts but a future where they are nurtured and supported to become proactive citizens leading the change in different safe spaces. She cherishes her time eating and listening to music.
MICHELLE CARBAJAL MEJIA
Areas of expertise: Gender violence, sexual and reproductive rights as well as rights of LGBTTI + populations.
As an activist, she is part of the We Are Many Platform (for freedom and the lives of women), which is the platform that fights for the decriminalization of abortion in Honduras and is part of the I Do not Want to be Violated Movement, which is a space that addresses sexual violence, impunity and feminist political training as tools for organizing, training and defending the bodies of young women and women in the country.
Michelle seeks to empower women and young people in her country from feminism, from empathy and sisterhood, without forgetting the importance of political alliances with other organizations, movements and collectives. Michelle is active from joy and dignified anger, from enjoying meeting and learning from other women who vindicate their struggles for women’s rights. Art, music and nature are an important part of their personal and political lives.
Areas of expertise: Gender-based violence, women human rights defenders.
About: Gehad has been working for several years as an activist. Through her work in non-governmental organizations, to support women’s rights and i
mprove their conditions, especially with regard to issues of violence against women and the rights and status of women human rights defenders in Egypt and MENA region.
Gehad believes that women in the MENA are struggling in similar circumstances and for the same rights, and that dialogue and cooperation between them strengthen the struggle of the feminist movement, supports the improvement of women’s conditions, achieves the exchange of experiences and the development of tools and capabilities of activists and WHRDs.
Gehad has good experience in documentation, training, campaigning, project management, research, and advocacy. She uses these experiences to work in a team or with several groups to achieve goals that support women’s issues and rights.
Areas of expertise: Political participation of women and youth. Human rights.
About: Alejandra has five years’ experience in the public and non-profit sector and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala. She has been working in political training for women and youth around the country with Oxlajuj Noj’ Foundation. As a coordinator in YHRI Guatemala, she has contributed to teaching youth about human rights, thus helping them become advocates for promoting tolerance and peace.
During her time working with the local government, she elaborated a policy for women, as well as coordinated productivity projects with indigenous women. While studying a semester abroad, she interned with CAIR Coalition, an organization dedicated to serve detained immigrant population in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. Also, she volunteered two years with a non-profit organization that, through education, brings opportunities to children living out their lives around the Guatemala City landfill.
Through these experiences, she developed strong project management and organizational skills. She enjoys focusing on human rights and women and youth political participation. Alejandra is a committed woman, looking forward to improving people’s lives not just in Guatemala but in Latin America because she identifies herself as Latin American more than Guatemalan.
ROI JA ZAHKUNG
Areas of expertise: Social justice education, human rights issues affecting women and girls from ethnic communities in conflict areas
About: Roi Ja is an ethnic Kachin teacher who works with young activists from different backgrounds and ethnicities from her native Shan State, Burma, where there is a long-running civil war. She aims to empower and prepare youth to take on meaningful leadership roles to actively participate in the struggle for social and political change in Burma.
Roi Ja has also worked as a youth organizer in her own Kachin community, as an interpreter, and as a health volunteer in northern Burma’s internally displaced person camps. She believes education is critical in promoting human rights, equality and justice towards genuine peace in her country.