Leymah Gbowee trained as a trauma counselor during the civil war in Liberia and worked with the ex-child soldiers of Charles Taylor’s army, who are also tragic victims of the war. She then joined the Woman in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) and quickly rose to leadership thanks to her leadership and organisation skills.
She brought women of the Christian Churches together to issue a series of calls for peace and soon formed a coalition with the women in the Muslim organizations in Monrovia, resulting in the Liberian Mass Action for Peace.
Under Laymah’s leadership the group managed to force a meeting with Charles Taylor and she then led a delegation of Liberian women to Ghana to continue to apply pressure on the warring factions during the peace process.
Leymah is the central character of the award-winning documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which tells the story of the women’s peace movement in Liberia.
She has been honoured by multiple organisations for her work, and her most recent awards include the Livia Prize 2010, the John Jay International Human Rights Justice Award (April 2010), the Blue Ribbon for Peace (2009) by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in-Washington, the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and the 2009 Gruber Women’s Rights Prize.
Leymah is presently a co-founder and Executive Director for Women in Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), a women-focused Non-Governmental Organisation with the core mandate to promote women’s strategic participation and leadership in peace and security governance in Africa. She is a mother of six and resides in Accra, Ghana.