Asha Haji Elmi is a Somali peace activist and campaigner for women's rights. She studied economics in Mogadishu, as well as management, organisation and business development in Nairobi, and worked for a short time in the finance ministry before beginning her campaigning activities. After the civil war began in Somalia, she founded the 'Save Somali women and children' (SSWC) organisation in 1992. When peace negotiations aimed at resolving the civil war began in Arta (Djibouti) in 2000, concentrating mainly on the five major Somali clans, Asha Haji Elmi helped to found the women's network Sixth Clan, in order to draw attention to the importance of women to the peace process as the 'sixth clan'.
As a result women were represented as an individual group within the peace process for the first time; previously they had hardly participated, because traditionally women had occupied no political role within the clans. One of the achievements of Sixth Clan is that 12% of the seats in Somalia's transitional Federal Parliament are reserved for women. In addition Elmi campaigns against the practice of female genital mutilation, which is widespread in Somalia. From 2004 to 2009 she was a member of the transitional parliament, and to the present day she is a member of numerous peace organisations, while also acting as a mentor for female leadership. Thanks to Asha Elmi's courage, compassion and energy women in Somalia are in a much stronger position today.
She has received a large number of awards for her activities, including the Blue Ribbon Peace Award in 2005 and the first Women of Substance Award, the Tombouctou Women Peacemaking Award in 2006, while in 2008 she received the Right Livelihood Award, the Clinton Global Citizen Award in 2009 and the Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize for African Peace in 2010.