Isha Sesay joins UNFPA as its newest goodwill ambassador

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 December 2020:

Journalist and author Isha Sesay has joined The United Nations Population Fund    (UNFPA) as its newest Goodwill Ambassador to help raise awareness of gender-based violence and support efforts in ending it.

The announcement comes at the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

“As a Black, African woman from Sierra Leone, a nation challenged by gender inequity and sexual violence,” Ms. Sesay says, “I am enormously proud to be taking on the role of UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador and to committing my voice, privilege and position to their effort to achieve much-delayed and much-needed change.

Earlier in the year, she conducted a virtual world tour to hear from UNFPA programme personnel, clients and partners in seven countries across six regions.

The tour included Nepal, where UNFPA works to end child marriage; Ukraine, where it supports programmes that provide social, protective, and legal services to violence survivors; and Somalia, where it fights female genital mutilation by empowering women and girls through education and income-generating activities.

“I am committed to telling stories of injustice and ways that they impact women and girls,” says Ms. Sesay.

Her experience with these issues is both personal and professional. Her mother is a survivor of female genital mutilation; her grandmother was a “cutter” who performed the harmful traditional practice.

In her work as an anchor for CNN, she interviewed child brides in Iraq and doctors who tried to heal the broken bodies of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2014, she covered the abduction of 276 schoolgirls by insurgent group Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria, for which she won a Peabody Award. She later wrote a 2019 book about the girls’ captivity, Beneath the Tamarind Tree.

Ms. Sesay says education transformed her mother’s life and hers, so she was particularly struck by the Chibok girls’ story.

Her voice joins countless others in rewriting a new one – one free of violence and fear – for women and girls everywhere.


  1. You are one of our brilliant, intelligent and eloquent bright sisters God ever gave us as gift for the nation. I used to watch your reports especially the Hajj in Mecca’ You are a wonderful woman, every family member wanted to claim you as theirs, a very humble lady.

    Thanks to God and may God continue to elevate you. I am proud and happy for you. Congratulations to all Sierra Leoneans. May God bless and protect our Sa Lone.

  2. Ambassador Isha Sesay is not only blessed with beauty but good personality and brain power. I used to watch her on CNN for years and I hope and pray that she will continue to succeed in her new ambassadorial position.

  3. Yup – UNFPA can count on us to join the fight against Gender based violence if only they will learn to reorganize their strategies and priorities accordingly. I mean, even a novice on such matters would tell you that the first and principal step in solving gender-based violence, is to correctly identify the underlying and root causes of such a nerve-wrecking human rights issue and deplorable social vice. Listen, once you have succeeded in pinpointing the origins of the problems that are without doubt, always undeniably linked to social, cultural and religious influences, then we are halfway towards achieving our goals.

    UNFA should quit making gender based violence a women’s fight and a women’s right issue only and become all-inclusive. It should be seen as human rights issue that should involve prominent men in all areas of their decision making. In Africa, if you are truly familiar with the terrain in which you are going to operate, you have succeeded in your endeavors already. UNFA should come to the realization that there are places in Africa where women’s voices are brushed off and ignored.

    No matter how loud, confident and prominent they may appear in the eyes of the world, it does not matter…they are considered insignificant, unworthy of serious consideration. Sad but true. Getting our government officials seriously involved in the struggle to reduce or eliminate Gender based violence through the creation and rigid enforcement of new, robust laws protecting the rights and well-being of women is another admirable step forward and certainly an achievement in the right direction. Congratulations to Ms Isha Sesay – you understand the terrain to your fingertips and you have already achieved your goals.

  4. I must commend Ms.SESAY for her great work in fighting against gender based violence. For far too long the issue of gender based violence has been a menace in Sierra Leone and Africa as a whole.

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