Roegchanda Pascoe faced death threats while attempting to reduce gang violence in the Cape Flats community, which is located just outside of Cape Town, South Africa.
While working for women’s rights and protections against sexual violence in Liberia, Facia Boyenoh Harris was harassed.
Najla Mangoush accepted the position of foreign minister in Libya’s UN-backed transitional government a year ago, in a country torn apart by a decade of civil war.
According to a press release, these three African women are among a dozen women who will receive the US State Department’s 2022 International Women of Courage Awards for demonstrating “exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equity, and equality, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.”
They will be honoured on Monday at a ceremony in Washington that will bring them together online rather than in person due to the pandemic. First lady Jill Biden will deliver remarks, which will be presided over by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Roegchanda Pascoe: Pascoe, 47, works as a crime prevention campaigner on the Cape Flats, a disadvantaged town west of Cape Town where mixed-race people were forcibly moved during South Africa’s apartheid government in the 1960s.
She co-founded the volunteer Manenberg Safety Forum in 2013, when a youngster was slain while playing outside while caught in gang gunfire. The forum, which is named after the township in which it is located, educates the public about the criminal justice system, trains community activists, and provides counselling and other services to victims of abuse, particularly women and children.
Facia Boyenoh Harris: In 2005, Harris was a freshman at African Methodist Episcopal University in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, when she and a group of classmates founded the Paramount Young Women Initiative.
They raised funds for scholarships to assist other students who are facing financial hardships, family obligations, academic challenges, and other challenges.
Harris co-founded the Liberian Feminist Forum and has advocated for increased political involvement and greater sanitation as a community organizer. She fights rape and female genital mutilation, as well as other forms of gender-based violence.
Najla Mangoush of Libya: Mangoush was named Libya’s foreign minister on March 15, 2021, making her the first woman to hold the role in the 7-million-strong North African country.
She is a PhD candidate at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, just outside of Washington, and is a lawyer and human rights champion. Mangoush, who graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia with a master’s degree in conflict transformation, put her research on hold to take the Cabinet job.
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