Ambassador: Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph , Nigeria
Kennedy founded the Calabar Youth Council for Women’s Rights to advocate against female genital mutilation (FGM) and genderbased violence in Nigeria. To date, Calabar Youth Council for Women’s Rights has directly impacted 2,000 people, educating them about the dangers of FGM and the harm that it can cause victims.
Despite being outlawed, FGM continues to take place in southern parts of Nigeria, with 24.8% of women in Nigeria having undergone the practice. Calabar is the main city in Cross River State, where the rate of FGM is higher at 32%. The Calabar Youth Council for Women’s Rights works with communities to dispel myths around the practice, and to better inform them about the health implications and social effects of FGM for victims. The Council deploys strategic social change communication to help turn perpetrators and future practitioners of FGM away from the practice. Women and men are educated about gender-based violence and the harm it causes wider society, with the aim of creating a positive cultural shift.
Kennedy attended One Young World 2017 Bogotá, where he was awarded a Resolution Project Fellowship for his work with the Calabar Youth Council for Women’s Rights. The Fellowship came with $2,000 to support Kennedy’s work, plus specialised mentorship and support. Kennedy has plans to set up a new initiative to help support 5,000 displaced people in Calabar over the coming year.