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Efua Dorkenoo

Efua Dorkenoo.jpg
Efua Dorkenoo, January 2014
Born (1949-09-06)6 September 1949
Cape Coast, Ghana
Died 18 October 2014(2014-10-18) (aged 65)
Other names Stella Efua Graham
Education Wesley Girls' High School
Alma mater London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
City University London
Occupation Activist, campaigner against female ... ...
Known for Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development (FORWARD)
Spouse(s) Freddie Green, Bernard Dotse Dorkenoo
Children 2 sons

Efua Dorkenoo, OBE (6 September 1949 – 18 October 2014), affectionately known as "Mama Efua", was a Ghanaian-British campaigner against female ... ... (FGM) who pioneered the global movement to end the practice and worked internationally for more than 30 years to see the campaign "move from a problem lacking in recognition to a key issue for governments around the world."

Early years

She was born in Cape Coast, Ghana, where she attended Wesley Girls' High School. She moved to London at the age of 19 to study nursing, and eventually earned a master's degree at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a research fellowship at City University London. She was a staff nurse at various hospitals, including the Royal Free, and it was while training as a midwife that she became aware of the impact of FGM on women's lives.

Campaigning work

She joined the Minority Rights Group and travelled to various parts of Africa to gather information for what was one of the earliest reports published on FGM in 1980. In 1983 she founded the Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development (FORWARD), a British NGO that supports women who have experienced FGM and tries to eliminate the practice. She began working with the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1995 and was the acting director for women’s health there until 2001. She was Advocacy Director and, subsequently, Senior FGM Advisor for Equality Now (an international human rights organization). .....

Honours and recognition

In 1994, Dorkenoo was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. In 2000, she and Gloria Steinem received Equality Now's international human rights award. In 2012, she was made honorary senior research fellow in the School of Health Sciences at City University London, and in 2013 she was named one of the BBC's 100 Women.


Dorkenoo died of cancer in London at the age of 65 on 18 October 2014, survived by her husband Freddie Green, her sons Kobina and Ebow, and her stepchildren.

Selected publications

  • Tradition! .....
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