Africa

Somalia activist Safia Abdi Haase gets Norway medal

A Somali-born campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM), Safia Abdi Haase, has become the first immigrant woman to receive Norway's prestigious order of St Olav.

Ms Haase was given the order at the Royal Palace in Oslo for her work for women and children.

She fled Somalia for Norway with her three daughters in 1992.

She said her campaigning was based on her experiences of domestic abuse and female genital mutilation.

"I have been a victim of all types of violence and my fight against this violence is using my own story," she told the BBC.

As well as genital mutilation, forced marriage, domestic violence and poverty, she said she had endured trafficking.

"I had to use my own body so that I could come out of Africa to come to Europe to give my three daughters life without violence," she said.

Ms Haase had no formal education when she arrived in Norway. She put herself through primary and secondary schools, eventually obtaining a university degree in nursing.

Working with Norwegian charity Amathea, she became a passionate campaigner against FGM.

She has helped formulate the Norwegian government's action plan against FGM and is regarded as an ambassador in the drive to combat violence against women.

She also works on a national board to combat racism and promote understanding between different cultures.

Correction:An earlier version of this story said Ms Haase was the first African woman to be knighted.

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