Nigeria, 18 years
Nominated by White Ribbon Alliance (WRA)
I strongly believe that adolescent girls, though often disregarded and vulnerable, are the key to shaping a community’s norms and behaviors and we, to a large extent determine a country’s indices and outcomes.
Maryam, 18, lives in Nigeria, in a region where few girls complete their basic education and many marry young. She became an activist at the age of 13 when she joined the Abuja Children's Parliament. Maryam wrote a song about investing in adolescent girls, which was released to mark the International Day of the Girl Child. She organizes safe space sessions for teenage girls to discuss good practices. She mobilizes young people’s voices and presents their views to policy makers and at high level forums. As leader of the Chibok Girls Ambassadors, her persistent pressure on the president contributed to the eventual release of over a hundred Chibok girls. Maryam collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs during the drafting of the National Strategy for Ending Child Marriage in Nigeria, and she recently launched a campaign called Every Last Girl, to push for the passage of the Child Rights Law in northern Nigeria. She will continue to promote the campaign, mobilizing young people’s support, as she embarks on her studies in law.