Samia Baho OAM is a founder and CEO of the Center of Advancing Women. She has been involved in advocating for disadvantage women since arriving in Australia. highly regarded as a tireless and unstinting advocate for human rights, social justice and gender equality for refugee communities across Victoria. She has led community advocacy initiatives contributing to law reform and systems changes for humanitarian background communities. Her gender equality work in particular has addressed and shifted harmful gendered practice and promoted the roles of young humanitarian entrant women. Samia has an extensive history in undertaking research with grassroots communities and building community engagement pathways with legal, health and research sectors. She developed and strategically implemented an innovative large scale justice reform program on behalf of the Victorian Government and led the development of the Family and Reproductive Rights Education Program.
Her advocacy work has led to extensive community collaboration, research initiatives with refugee and migrant community health services consultations, and the establishment of education and training programs that address gaps and help young women to complete their schooling.
Samia is responsible for the establishment and development of numerous community-based programs that have set out to enhance refugee community capacity, whilst simultaneously working alongside government, policy makers and service providers to help bridge the gap between newly arrived culturally and linguistically diverse women and mainstream sectors.
Samia’s ability to work constructively across stakeholders to build coalitions for change is strongly evidenced throughout her work history and has been an unfailing focus of her career. She has an extensive history of contribution to government, public, academic and community sectors through her participation in a wide range of boards and community engagement and consultation processes. She is often invited to present on refugee community issues in a range of statewide and national forums including conferences and peak advisory bodies.
As a cultural consultant, Samia has co-designed and developed programs across cross-cultural training and, cross-cultural communications and cultural awareness, establishment of cultural frameworks and building the capacity of agencies to be more culturally responsive to the communities they serve. Her dedication to bridging the gap between men and women through positive relationship building is focused on the dismantling of harmful gender stereotypes that disproportionately affect women
Samia holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, post graduate diploma and a Masters of Women’s Health
Samia’s drive and commitment in achieving positive outcomes for effective refugee community settlement can be evidenced in recognition of achievements including:
- Medal of the Order of Australia 2021 (OAM)
- Victorian Honour Roll for Women in for contributions to the Victorian community
- Family Court of Australia and Magistrates Court of Victoria for community capacity building work between the courts and African communities.