The new United Nations Children's Fund Cameroon Goodwill Ambassador was presented to the media in Yaounde on March 5, 2021.
"I am proud to be UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador. I will help to ensure that young girls complete school and become models in their society. I will also see to it that children's rights are protected by lobbying different authorities; and continue my work as a creative writer to highlight the plight of young girls, women and children in general," said Djaili Amadou Amal. She made the commitment in Yaounde on Friday, March 5, 2021 after being presented to the public as the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF Cameroon's newest Goodwill Ambassador.
Djaili, an award-winning novelist and crusader for girl child and women's rights in Northern Cameroon, was introduced to the media by Jacques Boyer, UNICEF Cameroon Country Representative. Boyer felicitated the winner of the 2020 "Goncourt des Lycéens" prestigious French literary prize for accepting to add her voice to the cause of children in Cameroon. Listing UNICEF's areas of concern, Boyer said Djaili is expected amongst others to make field trips, lobby authorities and help to raise funds for the promotion of the protection of children's rights.
Amal said she felt comfortable in her new role, being a former victim of forced, early marriage. The novelist said after successfully fleeing from the torture of a forced relationship, returning to school and remarrying, she did not want any young girl to fall into the same trap. Today, through her association "Femmes du Sahel," she caters for the school needs of 400 young girls in Northern Cameroon each academic year. By ensuring that they do not only go to school, but remain and complete their education.
Djaili Amadou Amal recalled that it was during the 10 years of a marriage foisted on her by relatives - against the wishes of her parents - that she turned to reading literature and eventually began writing novels. Telling the plight of vulnerable young girls and women in Northern Cameroon. Amal was recently named by France 24 television channel as one of the most influential global women in 2020.
"Children are the greatest treasure we have. I believe the work with UNICEF will substantially grow my impact on society. Things must change positively for young girls by preserving the good aspects of our traditions and cultures. Early marriage is both forbidden by Cameroonian legislation and Islamic Law. We must continue to raise awareness and lobby for the implementation of these laws," the novelist underscored.