Founder & Author @ ADESO
Born into a nomadic pastoralist family in Somalia, Fatima Jibrell’s story is one of love for her people and the environment that supports their way of life. In 1991, Fatima founded Adeso (then called the Horn of Africa Relief and Development Organization) to turn her vision of peace and conservation into reality.
Today, her work with Adeso and several other NGOs means Fatima is regarded as one of Somalia’s most notable and respected environmental activists.
Fatima worked hard to coordinate environmental groups in Somalia to bring about greater change. One of her most notable accomplishments was ending the charcoal trade in Northeast Somalia. Fatima united people and groups through a network she co-founded in 1996; one that crossed clans and regions in Somalia. She tirelessly advocated for an end to the charcoal trade, which used the region’s acacia trees to make charcoal destined for the Middle East. Through her advocacy and coordination, the Puntland Government prohibited the export of charcoal through the Bosaso Port in 2002.
Fatima’s work to build peace, advocate for better environmental practices, and protect the livelihoods of Somalia’s pastoralists was recognized in 2002 when she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, the most prestigious grassroots environmental award. In 2007, Fatima’s work earned her more international acclaim and she won the National Geographic/Buffet Award for Leadership in African Conservation.
More recently, Fatima was awarded the 2014 Champions of the Earth award for her tireless effort to protect Somalia’s fragile pastoral environment. The award is the United Nations’ flagship environment award that recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship and civil society action.
Fatima’s vision of a peaceful and healthy Somalia continues to inform the work of Adeso today. While Fatima has retired from Adeso, she remains an active member of both our US and Kenyan Board.