Pakistani activist Tabassum Adnan won the prestigious Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Award 2016 on Thursday.
The winners of the 2016 Innovation Awards were publicly announced at Ceremony held on 28 April, as part of International Civil Society Week (ICSW), which was hosted by CIVICUS, in collaboration with the Confederación Colombiana de ONG from 25 to 28 April, 2016, in Bogotá, Colombia.
In 2015, Tabassum Adnan, founder of NGO Khwendo Jirga, or Sister’s Council, a women-only jirga was awarded the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award in recognition of her services of women’s rights.
A victim of child marriage, Adnan was married when she was 13-years-old. After suffering 20 years of physical and mental abuse, Adnan divorced her husband, which made her lose her children, home, and money.
Later she started the NGO, Khwendo Jirga, a first of its kind women-only jirga, where women meet weekly to discuss issues such as honour killings, acid attacks, and swara, or giving women as compensation for crimes.
The jirga brought awareness to women’s security, their right to vote and offers free legal help to victims of violence.