Fatima Jibrell Honored with UNEP Champions of the Earth Award

November 19, 2014

2002 Goldman Prize recipient Fatima Jibrell recently hosted a funder’s briefing at the Goldman Prize office in San Francisco to educate potential donors about the recent work of her organization Adeso (formerly Horn of Africa Relief and Development Organization).

Jibrell founded Adesso in the early 1990’s after civil war and famine broke out in Somalia and she was compelled to do something about what was happening to her land and her people.

Over the next decade, she focused on helping Somalia’s pastoralists, who traditionally relied on grazing their livestock in the country’s sparsely populated rangelands and deserts. These lands were falling victim to rampant deforestation driven by unrestricted charcoal trade. Her work eventually led to a ban on charcoal smuggling and she was awarded the Goldman Prize in 2002.

In recent years, Adeso has grown by leaps and bounds, now operating programs in Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan with offices in the United States and United Kingdom. Much of Adeso’s work is rooted in the notion that people’s livelihoods are inextricably linked to natural resources and a healthy environment, which is why its programs have a strong focus on stopping deforestation and the illegal charcoal trade, protecting and regenerating pastoralists’ rangeland and promoting food security.

Jibrell officially retired from Adeso in 2006, but she still serves as a senior advisor and lifetime board member. Her innovative conservation work continues to gain strength and recognition.

Today, she is being honored with a 2014 UNEP Champions of the Earth award, the United Nation’s highest environmental accolade. The award is given to “innovators, policymakers, entrepreneurs and activists whose service to the environment is saving lives, improving livelihoods and strengthening environmental governance and conservation.”

The 2014 laureates will be presented with the Champions of the Earth Award by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, at a prestigious ceremony attended by UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bundchen and other guests from the government, entertainment industry, civil society, and private sector.

Congratulations Fatima, keep up the great work!

Photo: Fatima with her daughter and Executive Director of Adeso, Degan Ali.