If you haven’t heard of anthropologist and activist Johanna Higgs, then something’s wrong, because this world adventurer, activist, and founder of the violence-against-women charity Project Monma is a woman worth knowing.
When she was 19 years-old, Johanna took a flight from her native Perth to travel Europe whence she visited the Balkans and started talking to young women and listening to their experiences of abuse. Driven by the need to hear women’s stories in their native communities, Johanna traveled across the world, discovering that violence towards women and girls was an issue everywhere:
“There are certain things that are the same in this world, the desire for freedom and dignity, to be treated well, with respect and dignity. Wherever I am in the world I find that women are denied freedom and dignity.” (rudaw.net)
So in 2013 Johanna founded Project Monma, which aims to raise awareness of violence against women on an international scale. Operating in parts of Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle-East (not to mention her native Australia), Project Monma has worked on a number of projects including an investigation into the horrific reality of Argentina as a destination for the trafficking of young girls into slavery and prostitution, and issues of sexual harassment in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq.
Clicking on the project’s website their mission is made clear, “to show that violence and discrimination is a global problem and is not confined to certain countries, religions or cultures and is therefore everyone’s problem.”
Working alongside communities across the world, Project Monma still aims to expand its reach, and offers volunteering projects including distributing posters, creating campaign posters and graphics. Active within select communities in Africa, the charity runs an online shop selling handcrafted jewellery, which helps fund girls’ scholarship programs for higher education.
Project Monma also runs an editorial collective International Journal for Intersectional Feminist Studies, published “with the aim of providing opportunity for young researchers, scholars and postgraduate students to publish their feminist work and share it with the world.”
In spirit of International Women’s Day, we think a woman of such calibre in the fight against gender-based violence deserve a thank you from us and everyone fighting the same cause. Kudos to you Johanna.
Johanna is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, with her posts covering global issues relating to gender-violence she witnesses first hand through her to raise awareness of violence and discrimination against women and PassBlue – Independent Coverage of the UN).
Written by Luka Vujicic. Luka is a volunteer media & app assistant at Hestia | UK SAYS NO MORE.