New York, NY; March 8, 2010—AJWS is proud to announce that two of its grantees, Ann Njogu and Sonia Pierre, will receive the “International Women of Courage Award” – an award given by the U.S. Department of State for outstanding women leaders around the world who have demonstrated courage in their struggles for social justice and human rights. The honor will be presented by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on March 10 at the Department of State.
“The pioneering vision and leadership that Ann and Sonia bring to their work is precisely what the world needs more of,” AJWS president Ruth Messinger said. “We are extraordinarily proud of both of these women and know that they will continue to help us build a safe and just future for women and girls worldwide.”
Njogu, the executive director of Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) has been instrumental in building CREAW as an organizational leader in eradicating sexual and gender-based violence to help Kenya become a country that actualizes women’s rights, increases women’s access to legal education and trauma counseling, and sustains a national peace-building process.
With AJWS’s support, CREAW began its Adolescent Reproductive Health Rights Project to educate adolescent girls about their sexual and reproductive health rights and to increase their access to legal redress. Part of the Nike Foundation’s grassroots girls’ initiative, the Girl Effect, CREAW is one of 16 AJWS grantees in Ethiopia, Kenya and India that are creating safe spaces for adolescent girls to become change-makers in their communities.
As the director of the Movement of Haitian and Dominican-Haitian Women (MUDHA) and the 2006 winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, Pierre has worked tirelessly to advance the quality of life for Haitian nationals in the Dominican Republic who are routinely denied basic human rights.
Pierre founded MUDHA in 1983 to address the needs of the impoverished Haitian immigrant and Haitian-descended communities in the Dominican Republic. Based in bateyes (the slums of the sugarcane workers), MUDHA’s program areas include legal defense for the rights of Haitian nationals, particularly women and children; preschool education and parent organizing; community health education and services; and trainings for health promoters and religious leaders in sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
MUDHA was one of the first responders to the earthquake in Haiti and, in an astounding grassroots organizing effort, coordinated relief caravans with medical and personal hygiene supplies to Haiti, focusing primarily on the needs of women neglected by large-scale relief operations.
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David L. Marcus