With her close friend facing child marriage, 12-year-old Shamima decided to take action. She became a member of the national Child Parliament of Ghana, advocating to end child marriage. Shamima shares her poetry and participates in a radio panel in hopes of inspiring change. Her biggest encouragement was when her friend came back to school.
Q&A with Shamima
lightly edited and condensed for clarity
What is favourite food to eat?
‘Fufu’ (pounded yam).
What is your favourite thing to do for fun?
Who is your favourite actor/dancer/singer/influencer?
Amanda Gorman- the poet.
What is your favourite memory?
My victory as The Talented Kid in West Gonja Municipality.
What would you tell a future change maker?
They should be confident and committed to their course.
What would you say to yourself 5 years ago?
I thought I could not speak in public.
What is the issue you advocate on and what made you decide to take on this issue?
Ending child marriage, and I was motivated by the plight of a close friend.
Why is ending violence against children and the issue you advocate on so important to you?
Children are the future leaders of this world and must be protected for tomorrow.
What difference would you like leaders to make to create real change on the issue you advocate on?
Leaders should formulate policies, enact, and enforce laws to end child marriage.
What would you say to leaders if you had the chance to talk to the directly?
Commit more resources to working against ending child violence.
What is the most encouraging thing that has happened during your work with this issue?
My friend for which I started this advocacy has gone back to school.
What 5 words would you use to describe why the issue you work on is so important to you?
Children’s voices must be heard.
What is the funniest thing that has happened during your work with this issue?
An old man I interacted with who told me that women are created to ‘manufacture’ children.
What challenges have you encountered during your advocacy work?
Mobilisation of resources.
If you could pick one personal memory or achievement around ending violence against children, what would it be?
My poem ‘I want to marry’.