North-South Prize of the Council of Europe
The North-South Prize is awarded each year since 1995 to two candidates who have stood out for their exceptional commitment to promoting North-South solidarity.
The candidates, preferably a man and a woman, must have distinguished themselves in the following areas: protection of human rights, defence of pluralist democracy, public awareness raising on issues of global interdependence and solidarity. Despite the variety of nationalities and fields of action of those that have received the Prize since its creation, they all have in common a strong commitment to the promotion of North-South partnership.
Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh
Founder and CEO of the Non-Governmental organisation “Safe Hands for Girls”
Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh is the founder and CEO of Safe Hands for Girls, an NGO that works in the Gambia, Sierra Leone and the USA. Since 2013, Safe Hands for Girls has advocated for an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM), and works at grassroots level to change attitudes, mobilize opposition to both practices and provide support to the victims.
The work Jaha led with Safe Hands for Girls was instrumental in convincing President Obama’s administration to investigate the prevalence and profile of FGM in the USA, and the subsequent Summit to End FGM at the United States Institute of Peace. Safe Hands for Girls’ advocacy was also a key contributing factor in the Gambian government’s decision to outlaw FGM in 2016.
Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh was appointed UN Women Ambassador for Africa in February 2018. In this role, Jaha supports UN Women’s advocacy to end FGM and child marriage in Africa, with a focus on mobilizing youth.
Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh is particularly known for her work with religious leaders, having earned respect through her informed and courageous advocacy, based on the premise that FGM has no basis in any of the major religions.
Ex mayor of Grande-Synthe (France)
Damien Carême is a French politician. He was the Mayor of Grande-Synthe, in the outskirts of Dunkirk (France) from 2001 until 2019. During his mandates, he implemented social ecology namely through the introduction of 100% organic and local meals in canteens, communal gardens, free public transport, social minimum income for inhabitants below the poverty line. In 2010, Grande-Synthe was elected “capital of biodiversity” and received the "Fleur d'Or", "Ville Zéro Phyto", and the "Citizen Energy” awards.
Mr. Carême also is known as the “mayor of migrants”. In 2015, he led the construction of a humanitarian camp which provides shelter for thousands of migrants whose freedom of movement was suspended at the French-UK border. The camp, built without any financial support from the State and in compliance with the norms of the United Nations, has the capacity to accommodate 2,500 people.
In 2016, he was a finalist of the "Best Mayor of the World" competition, an honorary title awarded by the City Mayors Foundation (France). He was also President of the “French cities and suburbs mayors association” between 2014 and 2015.