By Johnson Chengo
Mombasa based community mobiliser and peace builder Shamsa Abubakar commonly referred to as ‘Mama Shamsa’ has vowed to empower 200 women and youth led groups in Mombasa after getting global recognition.
She jetted into the country yesterday from Dubai where she had gone to receive the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2023.
She was the recipient of the award jointly with the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay Catholic association dedicated to social service founded in 1968 under the leadership of Andrea Riccardi in Italy.
Addressing the media at the Moi International Airport Mombasa, Shamsa said that the win serves as a motivation to all women peace builders in their respective communities.
“This is a motivation to all women who want peace in their homes, who want their children to become better citizens. Know that there is a space for you out there, someone is watching like mama Shamsa,” she said.
“This is a win for women who try to earn a living for their families; it is a win for the youth who have lost hope. There is hope in us women, we have to take charge and we have taken charge,” she added.
Mama Shamsa was recognized for nurturing youth and saving young people from lives of violence, crime, and extremism by providing them with counseling, care, and training.
The award comes with a grant of about Sh61 million which she has vowed to channel to youth and women-led organisations and groups.
She is also the chairperson of the Mombasa Women of Faith Network and has led major campaigns in Kenya and greater Africa to draw awareness to violence against women as well as women’s and youth empowerment.
In 2022, she was recognised and featured by the UN Women Africa for her efforts in peace building.
The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity said they were honoring and celebrating her drive to promote unity, integration, and acceptance of diversity among women, regardless of tribe, religion, status, or political affiliation.
The official ceremony was held on February 4 in Abu Dhabi.
“I am excited and disturbed at the same time for this win; the award carries a lot of money and responsibility. I have to prove to the people who gave us this award and the grant that there will be continuity of peace in our homes and communities,” she said.
She has been conducting programs targeting youth in informal settlements and crime prone areas, advocating for peace and cohesion and the shunning of violence and extremist groups and fighting drug abuse among youth.
The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity has been awarded annually for the last four years in recognition of winners’ contributions to building a more peaceful and compassionate world through advancing the values of human fraternity and setting an inspiring example of promoting peaceful coexistence.
It comes with one Sh1 million dollars in prize-money.
The award was launched in 2019 to mark the historic meeting in Abu Dhabi between His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb, during which they co-signed the Document on Human Fraternity.
It was named after the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates, who was a champion of all humanity – young, old, rich, poor, male and female.