In remembrance of
Efua Dorkenoo, OBE (1949-2014)

Equality Now celebrates the life of our remarkable friend, colleague and pioneer in the global movement to end female genital mutilation (FGM), Efua Dorkenoo, who passed away on 18 October, 2014. For more than three decades, “Mama Efua” was an outstanding champion for women and girls around the world. We are heartbroken by her passing, but are thankful that Efua got to see her amazing work gain momentum over the years; we celebrate the milestones she helped to achieve in our 2014 annual report.

Efua’s groundbreaking work contributed to international recognition of FGM as a public health and a human rights abuse issue. She was the first technical expert on FGM at the World Health Organization (WHO), and she founded the NGO, Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development (FORWARD), for which she was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In 2000, we awarded Efua the Equality Now International Human Rights Award for her lifelong activism on the issue of women’s rights.

Her efforts as Advocacy Director and, later, Senior Advisor to Equality Now’s FGM program helped transform efforts to end FGM, particularly in the UK: in 2014, the UK hosted the international Girl Summit: a Future free from FGM and Child and Forced Marriage, dedicated significant resources to eliminating FGM and announced its first-ever prosecution of the crime. An activist until the end, she headed The Girl Generation: Together to End FGM, the Africa-led campaign to end FGM within a generation, which launched in 2014. None of this progress would have been possible without Efua’s steadfast leadership, passion and her ability to inspire others.

It was our deepest privilege to have known and worked with Efua. May she rest in peace and take comfort that her work continues to evolve for the benefit of women and girls.

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