Amref Health Africa Staff Named to TIME 100

Nice Nailantei Leng'ete

Kenyan Nice Nailantei Leng’ete on TIME’s annual list of the world’s most influential people

April 19, 2018
For Immediate Release

New York, USA: Amref Health Africa’s global CEO, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, today congratulated staff member Nice Nailantei Leng’ete on being named to TIME 100, TIME’s annual list of the world’s most influential people. Ms. Leng’ete received the honor for her work with Maasai communities in Kenya to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM, also known as Female Genital Cutting or FGC).

"I have the privilege of knowing Nice and seeing how she is improving the lives of girls every day,” said Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group Chief Executive Officer, who is based at Amref Health Africa’s international headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. “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."

Ms. Leng’ete was only 8-years-old when she ran away from her home to avoid being subjected to FGM/C, 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 FGM/C. She eventually convinced her grandfather, a Maasai elder, to allow her not to have FGM/C so she could continue going to school. In many communities, like Ms. Leng’ete’s, the practice of FGM/C is directly linked to child marriage and lack of education for girls.

In honor of Ms. Leng’ete’s efforts to end FGM/C, and her inclusion in the TIME 100, Amref Health Africa is raising funds to give more girls in Africa an alternative. Donations can be made online at https://donate.amrefusa.org/EndFGM

Ms. Leng’ete will be attending the TIME 100 Gala in New York City on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

"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," says Ms. Leng’ete. "I'll continue to fight until no Maasai girl has to undergo FGM/C. 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."

The World Health Organization defines FGM/C as "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons."

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Nice Nailantei Leng’ete Bio: Nice Nailantei Leng’ete, 27, is a Project Officer with Amref Health Africa in Kenya. A Maasai woman, Ms. Leng’ete challenged the social norms of the male-dominated community in her quest to end the harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM, also known as Female Genital Cutting or FGC). 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, Nice is a respected community advocate and a recognized global youth leader. In February 2018 she 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, Ms. Leng’ete has been singled out as an innovative change maker dedicated to advancing gender equality. Follow Nice Nailantei Leng’ete on Twitter @NiceLengete or on Facebook at Nailantei Leng’ete.

About Amref Health Africa: Amref Health Africa, the largest African-led international organization on the continent, reaches more than 11 million people each year through 150 health-focused projects across 35 countries. Founded more than 60 years ago as the Flying Doctors of East Africa to bring critical health services to remote communities, Amref Health Africa now delivers preventative, community-based health care. With a focus on women and children, Amref Health Africa manages a full range of medical and public health programs tackling the most critical health challenges facing the continent: maternal and child care; HIV, TB and malaria; clean water and sanitation; and, surgical and clinical outreach. www.amref.org; @Amref_Worldwide

For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Jennifer Foulds, Acting Communications Director – Global, Amref Health Africa +1 647-771-5815 (mobile); jfoulds@amrefcanada.org

Robert Kelty, CEO, Amref Health Africa in the USA, +1 917-544-3119 (mobile); kelty@amrefusa.org

Betty Muriuki, Communications Manager, Corporate and Kenya, Amref Health Africa + 254 726 261495 (mobile); betty.muriuki@amref.org