On December 9, 2015, The Carter Center held its first International Human Rights Defenders Forum. The theme was Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls in West Africa. The Center convened a diverse group of human rights defenders, faith-based service and advocacy organizations, religious and traditional leaders, and policymakers in Accra, Ghana to highlight the disastrous effect of oppression and violence against women and girls on sustainable development and to encourage religious and traditional leaders to use their influential role in communities to enhance human security.
For this occasion, The Carter Center asked creative writers across West Africa to submit poems reflecting on the issues at the heart of the 2015 forum: the life of the girl child, women’s leadership and empowerment, and the role of gender and faith in violent conflict. Numerous West African poets responded with enthusiasm to this opportunity to share their voice and perspectives on these critical issues.
This series shares some of the most engaging and touching pieces. The poets featured here come from various backgrounds but share a common creative engagement in the defense of human rights and gender equality. They use their creativity to address contemporary issues that affect their communities at different levels. Every Wednesday, we will highlight a featured poet.
The first featured poet is Amira Zakariah, an 18-year-old Ghanaian author whose poem, “A Girl Has Been Born,” explores the reality of the girl child’s life and the obstacles she encounters on her journey towards womanhood. Amira describes with honesty and emotion the stigma attached to girlhood at birth, the inherent devaluation of girls’ worth and the subsequent degradation, discrimination, and oppression a girl must overcome at different stages in her life.
The Carter Center is proud to introduce this unique series on the blog and encourages poets and creative writers to contribute by submitting their pieces via email to The Forum on Women, Religion, Violence, and Power at The Carter Center !