Nice Nailantei Leng’ete, 28, is Amref Health Africa’s End FGM Global Ambassador.
A Maasai woman, Ms. Leng’ete challenged the social norms of the male-dominated community from the age of eight in her quest to end the harmful practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM, also known as Female Genital Cutting or FGC) and child marriage. Through her own efforts, and with the support of Amref Health Africa, Ms. Leng’ete educated elders, boys and the young men (known as Morans) in her community with new messages about sexual and reproductive health and rights. Over time, the Morans accepted her as a leader, which enabled her to work with women, girls, Morans, cultural leaders and elders to eliminate the practice of FGM/C and replace it with alternative rites of passage for girls that maintain the cultural celebration of the transition to womanhood without FGM/C.
Today, Ms. Leng’ete is a respected community advocate and a recognised global youth leader. In April 2018, she was named to the TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. Africa Youth Awards listed her among the 100 Most Influential Young Africans in September 2018 and received the King Mswati III of Eswatini Bravery Award for outstanding service to the community in 2018. In January 2019, she was listed among the 100 most influential young Kenyans.
She was honoured as one of three BBC Outlook Inspirations Award recipients in June 2018. In February 2018 she was chosen as a Women Deliver Young Leader – one of only 300 young people from around the world – and in March 2018 she received the Annemarie Madison Prize. A recipient of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, as well as the 2015 Inspirational Woman of the Year Award from the Kenyan Ministry of Devolution, Ms. Leng’ete has been singled out as an innovative change maker dedicated to advancing gender equality.