Meet Dorah Mafabi. Dorah works for Law and Advocacy for Women in Uganda on issues relating to Gender-Based Violence (“GBV”), including Human Trafficking and Female Genital Mutilation (“FGM”). She Since Dorah and I met on my first trip to Uganda in February of 2014 to work on a Human Trafficking program together, we have seen each other a few times. Most recently, I met with her in California and had the opportunity to talk to her about what makes her a leader.
- Dorah is a driving force. Working with LAW Uganda is not enough for Dorah. She is always hungry for new opportunities to learn and develop. She spent the past 4 months as a community solutions fellow with the League of Women Voters of California. She is committed to promoting women and girls rights around the globe through championing community led civic engagement and a reduction in GBV.
- Dorah has bold ideas. With LAW Uganda, Dorah is committed to ending FGM through training community human rights volunteers to understand FGM from a GBV lens. LAW Uganda makes sure to work with men, not just women because, as Dorah put it, “if you are addressing this strong cultural issue, you need just as much input from men as you need from women.” LAW Uganda seeks to strengthen the referral network for victims of FGM and those at risk of being subjected to this practice.
- Dorah has strong roots in her community. Uganda has undergone serious armed conflicts, primarily in the Northern and Western regions. Dorah acknowledges that being mindful of a region’s history is essential to understanding the context and nature of GBV occurring there. Issues that prevail in post-conflict areas will be different compared to those facing other more stable regions. Post-conflict regions in Uganda have experienced an increase in violence resulting from trauma; violence that arises from changed family circumstances due to internal displacement or changing gender norms; and family violence fueled by the higher level of alcohol abuse that prevails in these regions as a result of past conflicts. Other parts of Uganda still see GBV as a problem, but the causes there are more frequently poverty, cultural practices or traditional biases that perpetuate violence against women or basic discrimination against women because of perceived inferiority.
- Dorah is connecting across lines that divide. She is working on getting people and organizations to work together to increase access to justice for victims of gender-based violence. She models cross-organizational collaboration and partnership, by engaging unlikely allies and bringing people together as she takes on tough issues.
- Dorah pays it forward. She is committed to investing in others and sharing her experience to get more people involved in women’s rights.