Kenyan activist Nice Nailantei Leng’ete has been named among Time Magazine’s world’s 100 most influential people of 2018.
Nailantei received the honor for her work with Maasai communities in Kenya to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
“I personally have seen too many women and girls, too many friends, have their dreams taken away from them. Harmful practices have impacted their lives, and they can never get those days back. And this needs to change. I'll continue to fight until no Maasai girl has to undergo FGM. I will continue to demand that girls can grow into women without being circumcised. Every young girl in Kenya can become the woman of her dreams. I am, for sure,” says the 27-year-old activist.
Miss Leng’ete was just eight years old when she ran away from her home to avoid being subjected to FGM, a practice that was common for young girls in the village of Noomayianat, Kenya where she grew up. She endured beatings but still refused to undergo ‘the cut’.
She eventually convinced her grandfather, a Maasai elder, to allow her not to undergo FGM so she could continue going to school. In many communities, like Ms. Leng’ete’s, the practice is directly linked to child marriage and lack of education for girls.
Amref Health Africa’s global CEO, Dr. Githinji Gitahi congratulated Nailantei, who is also an Amref staff member, saying, “I have the privilege of knowing Nice and seeing how she is improving the lives of girls every day. She is an extraordinary young woman whose passion for the rights of girls is transforming social norms and practices so they can become the women they want to be.”
Nice Leng’ete will be attending the TIME 100 Gala in New York City on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
In February 2018, Nice Nalantei was chosen as a Women Deliver Young Leader – one of only 300 young people from around the world. In March 2018, Nice was awarded 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, Nice Nailantei has been singled out as an innovative change maker dedicated to advancing gender equality.