PANEL: Human Rights In Focus

April 19, 2017 @ 4:00 pm
Pyle Center (check front desk for room number)
702 Langdon St
Madison, WI 53706

Human Rights In Focus

Jolly Okot
CEO of Women Empowerment Network Design

Jestina M. Mukoko
National Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project

Download event poster (pdf)

Join two courageous human rights advocates as they explore the role of women in peacebuilding, development, and conflict resolution. Jolly Okot will speak on “The Role of Women in Developing Africa,” and Jestina Mukoko will discuss “The Dichotomy of Human Rights in Zimbabwe.”

Jolly Okot

Jolly Okot has dedicated her life to improving the lives of women in Northern Uganda. In 1986, she was abducted by a group of rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army, and for the next two years she was held captive as a child soldier. She was forced to fight and steal from her own people, and was repeatedly raped by commanders. She managed to escape and free her father from prison where he was to be executed, but they had to walk 60 miles in search of safety and education. Despite the horrific circumstances and her tragic past, Jolly has dedicated her life to working with communities affected by LRA violence. She has worked with dozens of organizations such as Oxfam, MSF, InterAid, and UNHCR, and founded HEALS – an organization focused on providing “play therapy” for children who were night commuters (children who would walk miles to avoid being abducted by the LRA). Because of her work with HEALS, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She was soon introduced to the filmmakers of Invisible Children and took on the role as the Director of Invisible Children Uganda. As director, she developed many successful programs including the Legacy Scholarship program, where they put 4,800 children through school. Currently, Jolly is the CEO of WEND, a socially minded fashion company that employs and empowers women formerly affected by the war in Northern Uganda.  By providing women with employment, empowerment and education, Jolly is giving Northern Uganda the kind of hope that will last for generations upon generations.

Jestina Mukoko

Jestina M.Mukoko is the National Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a nonprofit organization that monitors and documents politically motivated human rights violations in Zimbabwe. ZPP operates through a strong network of monitors throughout the country in bringing attention to occurrences of human rights violations. A writer whose book ‘The Trial and Abduction of Jestina Mukoko: The Fight for Human Rights in Zimbabwe’ was released in April 2016. A political scientist from the University of Zimbabwe, she holds a post graduate certificate in Defending Human Rights from the University of York. Jestina is a 2012 Fellow of the Drapers Hills Summer Fellows Programme at Stanford University, 2010 Fellow of the Oak Institute at Colby College (ME), USA, Fellow of the Leadership for the Environment and Development (LEAD). Jestina holds a certificate as a trainer under the Leadership and Conflict Management for Electoral Stakeholders (LEAD) run by the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES). Jestina has also been trained by the Cape Town based Centre for Conflict Resolution on conflict, peace and gender. In 2013/14 Jestina was a visiting Fellow at Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York. Prior to ZPP Jestina worked for the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) an organization that fosters a culture of coexistence and tolerance. For her steadfastness and commitment in 2009 Jestina was the 2009 Laureate of the City of Weimar (Germany) Human Rights Prize and 2010 honoree of the US Secretary of State International Women of Courage Award. In 2009 Jestina was awarded the National Association of Non Governmental Organisations Peace Award. Jestina has been admitted to the French Legion of Honour since 2011.

Jestina Mukoko’s talk was featured in the July 9th broadcast of Her Story, a program on WORT FM. Click here to listen to the episode and be sure to download it for free from

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