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Meet Naisola Likimani, the new head of gender rights organisation SheDecides

Kenyan international policy and development expert Naisola Likimani has joined SheDecides. This is a movement launched in reaction to the Global Gag Rule, which banned all American NGOs active in other countries from receiving US federal funding should they provide any abortion services, information or referrals to women.

Necessity is the mother of invention and, like so many great things, the global organisation SheDecides was born from need. In January 2017, American President Donald Trump signed an executive order to discontinue US federal funding to any overseas NGOs that provide any abortion services, information or referrals to women, thus limiting access to safe abortion services for women around the world.

“We are united by the belief in the right of every girl and every woman, everywhere, to make the decisions only she should make. We are committed to a world where SheDecides. Without question,” states the organisation’s website.

“We see a world where every girl and woman can exercise her right to privacy, gender identity, choosing partners, pleasure, marriage, children – and integrated services. We see a world where forced marriages, child marriages, female genital cutting and mutilation, and all forms of violence against women and girls are things of the past,” the statement continues.

SheDecides operates in 183 countries, with more than 120 000 individuals and organisations having signed up as friends.

Read: Kenya bans Marie Stopes from offering safe reproductive health services

As a dynamic feminist and an activist for women’s and girls’ rights, gender equality and bodily autonomy, Likimani has vast experience across several sectors in the strengthening of social movements that promote equality, inclusion and accountability. Her more prominent roles include working for the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) and the Ipas Africa Alliance for Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights. In her most recent role she oversaw strategic partnerships with civil societies at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kenya.

Robin Gorna, the outgoing Support Lead at SheDecides, said in a statement, “Ms Likimani will now build a dynamic new team — based in the UK — to support the global SheDecides movement as it enters its third year. With over 13 years’ experience in women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality, Ms Likimani has worked in civil society, government and in diverse coalitions at different levels, strengthening social movements that promote equality, inclusion and accountability.”

Likimani is thrilled to be joining SheDecides, saying, “I believe that now, more than ever, we need bold movements and as many voices pressing for a world where She Decides. Every time. Without question. I look forward to the exciting journey ahead.”

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