The Gambia

Musu Bakoto Sawo (Commonwealth Point of Light 52)

Musu Bakoto Sawo, representing The Gambia, lends her expertise as a law lecturer to organisations advocating against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Musu Bakoto Sawo

In The Gambia, more than 75% of women and girls have undergone FGM and Musu was also subjected to the practice as a young child. In 2015 she began tackling this issue by volunteering as the Programme Manager for ‘Girl Generation’, the largest global collective working to end FGM. Musu utilises her in-depth knowledge of human rights to provide advocacy and support to the initiative’s 700 activists, with a collective reach of over 1.5 million people, which are based across the ten countries in Africa most affected. She is also the National Coordinator for ‘Think Young Women’, a non-profit organisation which promotes women’s rights. Musu draws on her experience of being married at the age of 14 to discuss child marriage. Last year she was awarded the ‘Vera Chirwa Human Rights’ award for making an outstanding contribution to the promotion of human rights in Africa.

The award for Musu Bakoto Sawo will be presented on 13 April at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Cape Point, The Gambia by the UK High Commissioner, Sharon Wardle.

Musu Bakoto Sawo said:

“I am very humbled and delighted to have been selected as a recipient of this award. When I started this journey, even as a child, my mission was to influence change in my community and the world. This remains my focus, especially for girls and women in The Gambia. This award encourages me to keep pushing hard to ensure sustainable results in respecting and fulfilling the rights of women and girls. I wake up every morning looking forward to changing someone’s life for the better. I remain committed to ending the cycle of Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage in my lifetime. I know this is possible because I have already started it. Grateful to the teams I work with at ‘Think Young Women’ and ‘The Girl Generation’ for the support and I look forward to more innovative transformations for girls and women. Thank you for this award.”

Sharon Wardle, UK High Commissioner to The Gambia, said:

“Musu’s dedication is an inspiration and truly deserving of this recognition. She is emblematic of a Gambian sisterhood that is resolute in the fight for women and girl’s empowerment. Together with the continued support of role models in the Government including Vice-President Fatoumata Tambajang and Minister of Trade, Dr Isatou Touray, this is a fight that Gambian women can and will win.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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