My name is Asmaa James, a broadcast journalist with over 18 years of experience in Sierra Leone. I am passionate about women and girl’s issues. In recent times, violations of women and child rights have been worrisome, with gender-based violence, inherent structural and cultural issues of representation facing women and girls. This urged me to take action and I founded The ASMAA JAMES FOUNDATION (AJF).
The AJF promotes teenage sexual reproductive health and rights, with the objective of raising awareness, mobilizing women and girls to advocate and influence policies of gender-based violence, sexual reproductive health and highlight the growing incidence of rape and find possible care for victims in Sierra Leone.
As our movement became stronger, we realised that we cannot succeed if we do not include men/boys in the fight against abuse of our girls and women folk. My experience over the years is that having boys and girls in the same room changes the conversation entirely: with girls mostly shy to contribute and boys take the advantage to dominate in conversations. Looking back at this scenario, I have today, launched Girls+ to help change this.
Girls Plus (Girls+) a non-profit organization driven by community level interventions aimed at providing reproductive health education and services to adolescent boys and girls in Sierra Leone. It will deliver programmes to help mitigate risks and incidences of sexual abuse and violence against adolescents in Sierra Leone. I will also primarily provide a platform for engagement of boys and girls on key sexual reproductive health issues to bridge communication gaps and break stereotypes.
The AJ foundation will be the major fundraising platform to support projects and activities of Girls+.
I want to thank my Husband Ambrose for believing in my ideas and for all his support. I would like to thank my boys, Mukeh and Muvah, for pushing and challenging me to be not only a girl advocate, but also a boy advocate.
To my numerous partners, mentors and supporters; thank you. I want to thank my small team of dedicated members for making Girls+ a reality. To my board of directors I am truly grateful for accepting this role and challenge. When you see Girls+, please give your support.