Bisharo Ali Hussein is a Kenyan-Somali activist and outspoken champion for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Somalia. She channels her activism through her career as a Protection Officer for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Galkayo, Somalia and also served as an African Youth Activist of Ignite The Youth from 2015 to 2016. As an Ignite The Youth activist she shared on the youth experiences of conflict in her country and “Ensuring Access to Education for all”. Her most spirited campaigns however were part of her Women’s Rights agenda; which focused on demanding an end to Female Genital Mutilation and early marriage, and her advocacy for Gender Equality; arguing for gender-biased inheritance laws to change. Bisharo is currently pursuing her Postgraduate Diploma in ‘International Gender Studies’ at the University of Iceland.
Almost 2 years after serving as a corresponding activist for Ignite The Youth, Bisharo insists that Somali women remain one of the most vulnerable groups in the country. “Although some progress has been made to improve women’s participation in all sectors, there is still a need for more improvement. Women should be given full opportunities to participate in politics, join labor markets to gain skills and experience which will eventually lead to sustainable development and economic growth in Somalia.” Despite attracting mixed reactions for her activism, especially on issues of gender equality and early marriage, Bisharo remains resolute in her advocacy for women and active humanitarian engagement.
Bisharo’s message for girls and young women in Africa:
This is your time, this is your life and you are the only one who can decide what you want out of it. I remember when I was young, I always wondered if I would ever make it to where I am but trust me through my guts and risking it all to pursue my education, I was able to strive and survive against all the odds. I believed in myself and my capabilities, you should also do the same.
Know that the obstacles you are facing now or will face in future are just temporary. Try to overcome them and focus on your goals and ambitions. You can be whoever or whatever you aspire to be. All you need to do is to focus on your education, which may eventually lead you out of the poverty cycle. Education is power and will transform you in ways you may never imagine. Be positive and optimistic about life! Be patient and do your part, the rest will fall into place. Otherwise, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. I believe in you and the world also believes in you!
Your beloved sister .