Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph NIGERIA, 18
project: The Calabar Youth Council for Women Rights
basic human NEEDS: EDUCATION
Theme Song: “Superhuman” by M.I Abaga ft HHP
Kennedy was horrified to learn that in his home country of Nigeria, more than 8,000 women are victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) each year. He created Calabar Youth Council for Women Rights (CYCWR) to take action against FGM and the multiple other forms of oppression women face. CYCWR leads conferences and weekly workshops to educate girls on their rights, the importance of education and the dangers of FGM and child marriage. He understands shaping youth’s perspective of gender is particularly important in Nigeria where justifications for female violation are engrained in society.
CYCWR’s nationwide campaigns advocate for women’s rights at large, as well as specific political issues. During the 2015 election, the CYCWR organized a campaign to inform the illiterate population about the candidates’ policies. In partnership with the government’s Ministry of Health, CYCWR helps run safe houses to rescue victims of abandonment, forced marriage, genital mutilation and unwanted pregnancies, and provides training and education programs. This year, Kennedy plans to expand CYCWR into all 36 states of Nigeria, with the vision of establishing branches all over Africa to advocate for the liberation of women.