Elman Ali Ahmed dedicated his life to disarming child soldiers and trying to end conflict in Somalia – now his daughter, Ilwad, is following in his footsteps

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Warmly remembered as the Somali father of peace, Elman Ali Ahmed had a celebrated slogan – ‘Drop the gun, pick up the pen’ – that still adorns the war-ravaged walls of Mogadishu. In 1996, his mission to disarm child soldiers and end conflict in the country he loved cost him his life when he was assassinated. Now his daughter, Ilwad, inspired by the legacy of a man she describes as ‘an incredible force’ – and roused by the similarly indomitable spirit of her mother – is continuing his work. She talks to Lucy Lamble about her reasons for following in the footsteps of her parents and the challenges of working for peace in a country where women are expected to stay at home and raise families rather than fight for social justice

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