Edna Adan Ismail, known as the ‘African Mother Teresa’, is the former Foreign Minister of Somaliland Republic. She held this office from 2003 until 2006, and had previously served as Somaliland’s Minister of Family Welfare and Social Development.
She is the director and founder of the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa and an activist and pioneer in the struggle for the abolition of female genital mutilation. She is also President of the Organization for Victims of Torture.
Her turbulent life, full of ups and downs, has seen her train as one of two first Somali midwifes in the UK, return home to become the country’s Health Minister and marry the President, before being arrested and jailed for two years when the Communist regime staged a coup. She then set up a not-for-profit hospital in Somaliland which she still runs as well as training hundreds of midwives and campaigning tirelessly against FGM.
You can listen to Edna on Desert Island Discs here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099w3v2