Pastoralist Girls Initiative
Mrs Abbas leads the Pastoralist Girls Initiative (PGI), a Kenyan group which works with Somali girls and women living in the Garissa county of Kenya. Since the beginning of its activities in 2001, PGI, under the leadership of Mrs Abbas, has been organizing and empowering Somali girls and women to become visible, confront and stop violence against women and girls, and challenge traditions that relegate them at the margins of their communities.
Women and girls living in the Garissa county experience discrimination in accessing education and are excluded from decision-making structures, both traditional and formal. Girls are particularly exposed to violations of their rights, including early marriages, female genital mutilation, and sexual violence.
It is in this context that PGI, under the inspiring leadership of Mrs Abbas, has supported girls in taking their own lives in their hands and claiming their rights. Mrs Abbas’ work has been so successful that in 2012 some of the girls who took part in PGI’s activities decided to create a girls-led organization, the INUA Association, the first and only girls-led organization in the Somali area of Kenya. Mrs Abbas’ has also been able to mobilize women in Garissa, getting them organized to access and take active part in local decision-making structures, and facilitating their political exchange with traditional and local leaders, as well as the intergenerational exchange with the girls reached through PGI’s work in schools. Mrs Abbas is an outstanding and experienced activist who has dedicated her life to advancing girls and women’s rights in Garissa.