Hawa Aden Mohamed has dedicated her life to advancing the health and education of Somali women and girls, to providing both emergency and long-term assistance to internally-displaced Somali families, and to abolishing the practice of female genital mutilation. Ms. Mohamed began her work over three decades ago by founding the Refugee Women’s Relief and Development Center.
Hawa Aden Mohamed, who has come to be known in Galkayo as "Mama" Hawa, has created spaces where displaced women and girls, victims of all sorts of abuse and violence, can find safety, opportunity and be protected and sheltered. Her work stems from a belief that education lies at the root of everything, especially for girls.
Mama Hawa is also a vocal campaigner for women's rights, particularly opposing female genital mutilation (FGM). Her sister died from an infection after she was circumcised at about the age of seven. In addition to advocacy, Mama Hawa's centre provides counselling for circumcised women and girls and survivors of gender-based violence. Every year, some 180 women benefit from these programmes and many lives are saved.
In 2008, Mama Hawa received the Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award presented by Human Rights First in honor of her work to improve the quality of life for Somali women and girls affected by Violence.
Currently, Mama Hawa serves as the Executive Director of the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development (GECPD), a community-based organization in the Puntland area of Somalia. Since it’s founding in 2000, GECPD operates primary and vocational education programs for impoverished, displaced, and minority women and girls and works within communities to promote women’s rights, including combating the grave problems of gender-based violence and female genital mutilation.