CHANGE Agents in the Netherlands


Aladin Hamad, comes from Sudan and moved to the Netherlands 14 years ago. He got his post-doctoral degree in public law at the Khartoum University in Sudan and worked at the law firm Ghazi Suleimann in Khartoum in 1998. He is now employed at the Royal Library in The Hague. Besides his work he is volunteering since 2000 for protecting women and children’s rights at the Soedani Association in Amsterdam.

Due to his experiences in his home country and his family, Aladin feels responsible to do something against the female circumcision. In the past Aladin was already able to attend trainings and became a key-professional, which makes him a person with much knowledge and abilities concerning FGM. He sees his role as a Change Agent as a way to help women and girls at risk and wants to inform about the issues of FGM in his own and other communities.


Asad Osman Moalim, was born in Mogadishu in 1981. He worked as an electrician at a small company before he migrated from Somalia to the Netherlands in 1999. Since his arrival, Asad has followed a number of courses, including Micro Soft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Database and Access programmes and courses in English and Dutch language. He is very involved in his community and participated in meetings and debates with social and cultural content. Asad is very interested in working on the issue of FGM. Already earlier he had the opportunity to discuss FGM with Somali and other African immigrants and all agreed that FGM should be eradicated in the future.


Ashwaaq Abdi, was born in Somalia and grew up in the Netherlands. She has a professional degree as medical assistant from the Nova-College in Haarlem and has experiences in working in different health departments. Currently, she works at the Surgery Department in the Spaarne hospital. Moreover, she participated in the Replace Project (October 2010-April 2011) as a member of the partner team of the Federation of Somali Associations in the Netherlands and gained extensive knowledge on the subject of FGM and its impact. The main reason why Ashwaaq wants to be our Change Agent can be succinctly summarised as follows: she vehemently opposes FGM and due to her previous work for the Replace Project, she is convinced to be able to eradicate FGM and to promote behaviour change.


Aster Ghirmai, was born in Eritrea and migrated to the Netherlands in 1985. She works as a financial administrative assistant and occupies different positions in her community. She is responsible for the financial issues of the Eritrean Women's Association, as a key-person at the Municipal Health Care and an information officer at Pharos (National Knowledge and Advisory Centre on Migrants, Refugees and Health Care Issues) and Movisie (National Knowledge and Advisory Centre for social development).

In her free time Aster is a deeply committed member of her community. She gives information lessons about domestic violence or FGM and wants to continue to dedicate herself towards women and girls at risk by being our Change Agent.


Habon Mohamed, was born in 1994 and grew up in the Netherlands. She is 19 year old and studies “European Studies and Communication Management” at The Hague University since September 2012. Being from Somalia she states: “my culture is something which deeply fascinates me”. Female Genital Mutilation is one of the social-cultural problems, which affect most African countries and it must be totally eradicated.

Thanks to her interests and area of study Habon is able to communicate very well in Dutch and English. She wants to actively contribute to the fight against FGM by participating in the CHANGE project.


Haimanot Belay, was born in 1968 in Ethiopia and migrated to the Netherlands in 1994. Her educational background is in library science. In the Netherlands she had many long and short-term trainings in different subjects. Because of her extensive interests and active involvement in the Dutch society she got awarded with the Kartini price (The Emancipation Price) in 2012 by the municipality of the Hague for her 10 year dedicated voluntary work. 

She organised many cultural and multicultural activities and coordinated the activities of various organisations. She is the founder and the Chairman of the Netherlands - Ethiopian Association “Gobez”, which works on different topics and issues in the Ethiopian community.

FGM is a theme she is very committed to. She has participated in various training courses and since is an expert in this field. Already in the past she had the opportunity to discuss FGM with different African immigrants and all agreed that FGM should be eradicated in the future.

In her motivation she wrote “because I myself am of African descent and have contacts to many diverse groups of Africans in the Netherlands [...] and with my motivated attitude I am sure that as a Change Agent in this project I can help with the eradication of FGM by providing a positive contribution to the required behavioural shift within the community”.


Hawa Bashir, is from Sudan and moved to the Netherlands 12 years ago. She gained her Bachelor Degree in Management Studies at the Technical University in Omdurman and worked since then for different Non-Governmental Organizations. She is a very experienced woman in the areas of human rights, refugees and FGM. Since 2006 she is employed at the Association “Soedania” as a social worker and in 2007 Hawa Bashir became the chairwoman of “het World Property”: an organization for refugees.

She is highly skilled in the fields of communication and social work and her motivation stems from her multiple experiences. Within her community Hawa Bashir organises awareness lessons and/or workshops and activities against FGM. She also organises home visits for people with different problems and contacts with relevant organisations in order to help refugees. She knows very well about the issues of female circumcision thanks to her participation in trainings of FSAN and PHAROS and she is optimally prepared to be our Change Agent.


Hodan Othman, was born in 1992 and grew up in the Netherlands. At the moment she is in her third year of Pedagogy Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She is of a Somali background and very involved in the Somali community and culture. Hodan is interested in many cultural topics in which she would like to deepen her current knowledge. One of these topics is FGM.

Because of her extensive experiences with different nationalities Hodan has become well versed with issues these different communities are engaged with. Hodan describes herself as a stress resistant person. She is also very driven and has a lot of perseverance. Due to the experiences she gained during her internship and work Hodan possesses good communication skills. She speaks Dutch and Somali language.


Hussein Ali Mahamed, was born and raised in Somalia and moved to the Netherlands in 2011. He started his Bachelor Degree in International Studies at the Leiden University in 2012. With his 28 years, Hussein had a remarkable career of 10 years field experience as a journalist in Somalia for major media agencies such as Reuters and the BBC Somali Service. Furthermore, while living in the Netherlands, he volunteered for several institutions like “Omroep 3ML” (a local Radio and TV station), the AZC asylum centre and our project partner The Federation of Somali Associations in Netherlands (FSAN). He is also a member of the Somali - Netherlands Youth Foundation.

Hussein is already highly active within his community concerning the issue of FGM, by successfully providing the FGM awareness lessons for FSAN in the recent past. He is convinced that: “…man should also play a significant role in eradication of this heinous tradition”. His aim is to “focus on the future fathers to help them notice the pain and suffering of their sisters and daughters due to FGM and, thus, realize the significance of actively combating this practice.”

Ibtisam Tagelsir Ali, was born in 1988 in Sudan. At the age of 8 years she came to the Netherlands.

Since 2008 Ibtisam is studying at The Hague University for Applied Science in the department of ITC & Media with a specialisation in Communication and Multimedia Design. Prior, she studied Economics and Society studies at the Regional Education Centre “Zadkime” in Schiedam after she graduated with a diploma in ICT Technology. She worked at the Global Data Collection in Rotterdam between 2007 and 2011 where she conducted interviews with Syrian, Egyptians and Saudis citizens about social, economic and political matters. In addition, Ibtisam interned with Radio Nederland “Wereldomroep” in Hilversum between 2011 and 2012 and further successfully conducted research for the Arabic department at Radio Nederland (RNW) on youth needs in the Middle East.

Besides all her current work and study, Ibtisam still finds the time and space for being an active member within her community and is also a member of the Sudanese Youth Association in the Netherlands. Ibtisam became very interested to work for CHANGE when she heard that FSAN starts working on a project to stop FGM.

Maha Hamid, is from Sudan. She is a professional secretary and worked as such at the Shurog Limousine B.V. Khartoem. 11 years ago she migrated to the Netherlands. She followed courses in the welfare and social service at the Regional Education Center (ROC) in Amsterdam and trainings at Pharos to work as a key-figure to eradicate FGM. She was also a volunteer in the Association “Soedania “ in Amsterdam and has a good connection to her community.

Since 2006 Maha takes a stand for women rights and tries to improve the understanding of FGM and domestic violence within her community. She is already active as a key-person for the organization PHAROS, where she participated in trainings and gave information sessions to the Sudanese community.


Maryan Mohamed, was born in 1951 in Mogadishu, Somalia and came in 1995 to the Netherlands. After her graduation from the University in Mogadishu as a geologist, she worked at the Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources in Somalia. She is very active in the Somalian community and she is a Chairman of the Somali Women Association in Hoofddorp. She is also a key-person on FGM. Women from her community and other African countries are willing to discuss the issues of FGM with her.

Maryans motivation arises from her experience as a key-person on FGM. She is much interested to help us in our work to eradicate FGM and sees her task to promote behaviour change as an exciting challenge.


Oumou Diallo, was born in Guinea and migrated to the Netherlands 16 years ago. She is a professional nurse (degree 3) and is very active in her community. She is organising different activities, workshops and works as a co-trainer at the Empowerment for Woman Organization (SGV). Besides that, she participates as a “cook-buddy” for the Kookbuddy’s in Amsterdam Nord, where she organizes cooking activities for women.

Oumou comes from a country where 96% of women are circumcised. She wants to eradicate FGM with us and sees an opportunity to make a difference in her role of the Change Agent. She is already trained as a key-person by Zara Naleie from FSAN and participated in several FGN workshops.


Sagal Ali, was born in Somalia and raised in the Netherlands. She obtained a professional degree in Nursing at the University of Amsterdam. She is the project assistant for FGM in the project “Aftercare for circumcised women” at the Municipal Health Care in Den Haag. In addition to her work, Sagal gives weekly clinic sessions for after treatments of FGM at hospitals together with women affected by FGM. She is an active member of the Refugee Organisation Netherlands (VON), The Federation of Somali Associations in the Netherlands (FSAN) and of Somali – Next Generation (SNG), where she focuses on helping young, traumatised people from war zones in Africa

Due to her profession and volunteer work Sagal has considerable knowledge with regards to FGM. She is convinced that through her position, experience and abilities she will be able to communicate with women and men to promote the behaviour change within her community and to fight against FGM.


Sumaia El Shafei, born in 1974, grew up in Sudan and came to the Netherlands in 1989. She is married and has 3 children. Between 2006 and 2013 she worked as an administrative employee and receptionist at the Embassy of Sudan in The Hague. Sumaia is very involved in her community and is a FGM key-person at the Municipal Health Department in The Hague. Since 2013 Sumaia serves as a contact person between the Sudanese community and the Municipality of The Hague.

Sumaia’s motivation to be a Change Agent for our project derives from the role she inhabits at the Municipal Health Department of The Hague. For Sumaia being a Change Agents means not only to raise awareness concerning female circumcision, but also to have the opportunity to promote behaviour change and to modify old traditions.