Make Love Go Viral: Somalian Peacemakers

Somali human rights defenders Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman receive 2022 Right Livelihood Award

Somali human rights defenders Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman are recipients of the 2022 Right Livelihood Award for their decades-long work leading community-based peacebuilding initiatives and providing life-saving support to marginalised groups.

Founded in 1980, the Right Livelihood Award honours and supports courageous people solving global problems. To date, 190 Laureates from 74 countries have received the Award, including Edward Snowden (United States of America), Dr Denis Mukwege (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Greta Thunberg (Sweden).

Through their organisation Elman Peace, the mother and daughter have used innovative and culturally relevant solutions to support survivors of gender-based violence, disarm and rehabilitate child combatants, and equip women and youth with job and leadership skills.


Elman Peace’s community-based disarmament and reintegration approach addresses the underlying causes of extremism, and in doing so, provides opportunities for both former combatants and at-risk youth. Due to its success, Adan and Elman’s model has been scaled to address similar conflicts throughout West and Central Africa.


Right Livelihood’s jury said that Adan and Elman received the award “for promoting peace, demilitarisation and human rights in Somalia in the face of terrorism and gender-based violence.”

“When you are working in the field, sometimes you just have your head down,” Elman said. “And you don’t see that people are watching and recognising the efforts that you’re putting in. This award offers recognition and a system of solidarity for not only my mom and me, but for the big team that we work with that doesn’t always have a spotlight on them.”

“Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman have set out to build peace in Somalia by reintegrating former combatants and tackling the historically silenced gender-based violence affecting girls and women. Leaving behind the safety of exile, they came back to their home country to carry on the legacy of Elman Ali Ahmed, who was brutally assassinated for his work. Their intergenerational and holistic work provides a safe haven to many in the midst of instability,” said Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director at Right Livelihood.

About Right Livelihood

Established in 1980, Right Livelihood honours and supports courageous people solving global problems. Housed under the umbrella of a foundation, Right Livelihood is a courage-powered community for social change committed to peace, justice and sustainability for all.

Each year, Right Livelihood highlights change-makers through an Award. To date, 190 Laureates from 74 countries have received the distinction. By recognising the actions of brave visionaries and building impactful connections around the world, Right Livelihood boosts urgent and long-term social change.

However, the work of Right Livelihood goes beyond only presenting the Award: they provide these change-makers with life-long support. Right Livelihood is a megaphone and a shield for the Laureates: raising their profile, providing them protection when their lives and liberty are in danger, and educating people on their innovative solutions.

Right Livelihood is headquartered in Stockholm, with an office in Geneva. The Foundation has Consultative Status with the UN.