Jenipher Sanni

Activist Type
Women's Rights

Jenipher Sanni is a Malawian women’s rights activist and one of the leading voices calling out to bring an end to child marriage in Malawi.

At the age of fourteen, Jenipher married a man nearly twice her age who already had two children from a previous marriage. Like many young girls in Malawi, she believed that dropping out of school for marriage was the only way to escape a life of poverty and that her new husband would be able to provide food and other basic necessities. The relationship quickly became abusive, but with intervention and support from a local NGO Malawi Girl Guides, Jenipher was able to escape her husband and get back to school. 

Jenipher’s return to school originally required her to walk two hours each way which had a detrimental effect on her studies. Thankfully the United Nations Population Fund Malawi came in to provide bikes to the school, cutting the student’s commute time down drastically. With more time to focus on her studies Jenipher began to excel and set her sights on attending university. Understanding the positive benefits of education, Jenipher has been a vocal advocate encouraging girls in similar positions as herself to stay in school and continue getting an education. Taking inspiration from her own experience, Jenipher launched a campaign to buy a thousand bicycles for girls living in rural areas to make their arduous commutes to class easier. In 2017, Jenipher travelled to Washington D.C. to speak at the UN organized Girl-Up Leadership Summit about the importance of education and the efforts to end child marriage.

Artwork by
Connor Linde

Jenipher’s portrait was inspired by traditional Malawian wood carving which is known for rounded corners, smooth form, and overall dimension. The use of a ‘relief’ technique was chosen to take the word literally, making Jenipher Sanni a sign of relief for the those affected by child marriage.

Malawi

Selman Peace Post Malawi  Flag
Population
19.89 million
Capital
Lilongwe
GDP (PPP)
$2055
Founded
July 6, 1964
Total Area
118,484 km2
Demonym
Malawian
Government
Unitary presidential republic
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