Nimco Ali

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Nimko Ali

2019 Freedom of Expression Awards (40575329543).jpg
Born1982/1983 (age 36–37)
Alma materUniversity of West of England
OccupationSocial activist, author.
TitleCo-founder and CEO of The Five Foundation

Nimko Ali OBE (Somali: Nimco Cali), alternatively spelled Nimco, is a British social activist of Somali heritage. She is the co-founder and CEO of The Five Foundation, the global partnership to end female genital mutilation (FGM).

Personal life[edit]

Ali was born in 1982 in Somaliland. When she was four, her family moved to Manchester, England, where she was raised.[1][2] She has four brothers, one of whom, Mohamed, is chair of the Somali Conservatives.[3]

For her post-secondary education, Ali attended the University of the West of England, Bristol.[4]


Ali co-founded The Five Foundation, the Global Partnership to End FGM, with Brendan Wynne in 2019. This non profit works to raise the issue of FGM on the international agenda and re-grant funding to grassroots organizations working to end FGM. Ali previously worked as a civil servant. She also served as a women's rights activist and an independent training consultant for a number of years.[4]

In 2010, Ali along with psychotherapist Leyla Hussein founded Daughters of Eve.[1][5] The non-profit organization was established to help young women and girls, with a focus on providing education and raising awareness on female genital mutilation (FGM).[6] Ali underwent the procedure at the age of seven at a hospital in Djibouti while on vacation with her family.[1][7] She later suffered health complications and had to undergo reconstructive surgery.[8] The experience and meeting other females who had been incised inspired her to assist at risk girls and to call for the practice's eradication.[1][2]

Additionally, Ali served as a Network Coordinator for the End FGM/C Social Change Campaign. She has also written extensively on national gender rights.[4]

Her book What We’re Told Not to Talk About (But We’re Going to Anyway): Women’s Voices from East London to Ethiopia was published by Penguin Books in June 2019. It includes stories of women who are sharing experiences they have always been told should be "secret and shameful" as well as Ali's own story of living with FGM.[9]

Honours and awards[edit]

In 2014, Ali and Hussein received a community/charity award at the 2014 Red Magazine Woman of the Year awards for their work with Daughters of Eve.[6] They also placed sixth in the Woman's Hour Power List 2014.[5] She was named one of BBC's 100 Women during 2018.[10]

On International Women's Day 2019 it was announced that the 2019 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy’s International Women’s Rights Award would be awarded to Ali for her "approach to ending FGM by offering holistic support to survivors of the practice".[11]

Ali was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to tackling female genital mutilation and gender inequality.[12][13]

Political activity[edit]

At the 2017 general election, Ali contested the seat of Hornsey and Wood Green[14] in North London for the Women's Equality Party. Nimco polled 551 votes (0.9%),[15] finishing in 5th place out of the 8 candidates that stood and losing her deposit.[16]

She endorsed Boris Johnson, whom she views as a "real feminist”, in the 2019 Conservative leadership election.[17] During the 2019 general election, Ali endorsed the Conservatives.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d Onyanga-Omara, Jane (29 July 2011). "Men 'must help stop female genital mutilation'". BBC. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Poon, Linda (5 August 2014). "Fighting Genital Cutting Of British Girls: A Survivor Speaks Out". NPR. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  3. ^ Collier, Hatty (16 May 2017). "Bizarre row erupts in north London election race as Women's Equality candidate labelled 'anti-feminist'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "6. Leyla Hussein and Nimco Ali". Woman's Hour. BBC. 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (May 2014). "Towards ending female genital mutilation" (PDF). CBT Today. 42 (2): 16–17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b Powell, Emma (4 September 2014). "Lauren Laverne, Sadie Frost and Olivia Inge attend the Red Woman of the Year Awards". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  7. ^ Bentham, Martin (18 February 2013). "Met will prosecute parents who send their girls abroad to be 'cut'". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  8. ^ Banneman, Lucy (13 January 2014). "'It's child abuse that has gone mainstream'". The Times. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  9. ^ Nimko Ali Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  10. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2018: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  11. ^ "25 NGOs Announce 2019 Anti-FGM Champion As International Women's Rights Award Winner". Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. 8 March 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  12. ^ "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B10.
  13. ^ Lizo Mzimba (reporter) and Nimco Ali (OBE recipient) (8 June 2019). News item: Queen's Birthday Honours (Television). BBC News 1.05pm. BBC One. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  14. ^ Topping, Alexandra (7 June 2017). "Women's Equality party candidate receives death threat signed 'Jo Cox'". The Guardian.
  15. ^ Saul, Heather (9 June 2017). "Women's Equality Party defeat follows weeks of horrific abuse". i.
  16. ^ "General Election 2017 - Haringey votes".
  17. ^ Ali, Nimco (7 June 2019). "Why am I backing Boris? Because he's a real feminist". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  18. ^

External links[edit]