“The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to ‘honour and support courageous people and organisations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems.’ It has become widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize,’ and there are now 194 Laureates from 75 countries.” (See: https://rightlivelihood.org/2023-announcement/l1/)
This honor recognises the leadership of Dr Brookman-Amissah in advancing reproductive rights in the African region throughout her career, which included service from 2001-2014 as Ipas Vice President for Africa and thereafter as a special advisor for African affairs to the President of Ipas.
The award will be presented in Stockholm at a ceremony to be live-streamed on the Right Livelihood website on Wednesday, 29 November 2023.
Elly Leemhuis-de Regt of the Netherlands, who supported women’s rights as a senior staffperson at MINBUZA and Barbara Crane, Vice-President of Ipas for many years, were instrumental in her nomination, and both plan to attend.
Eunice Brookman-Amissah is a Ghanaian physician whose leadership has been instrumental in advancing safe abortion access across Africa. For three decades, she has spearheaded high-level advocacy, sensitisation programmes and training on women’s reproductive rights. Her efforts have successfully united healthcare providers, government officials, lawyers and activists in support of abortion law reforms in Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Benin, Eswatini and Kenya, and abortion law implementation in Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Senegal and Mauritius, among others.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 6.2 million unsafe abortions occur annually. When she began her career as a doctor, she initially held anti-abortion views. But when she learned that one of her paediatric patients died from an unsafe abortion, she began advocating for safe abortion access. At that time, the term abortion was too taboo to mention, let alone champion at high-level forums. Nonetheless, she tirelessly raised the issue to empower women, support their autonomy, improve their health, and ultimately, create an environment where women can thrive both personally and professionally. Her advocacy has contributed to a big decline in abortion-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
SOURCE: E-mail from Barbara Crane, 28 September 2023 ; PHOTO: Right Livelihood