Horn of Africa Relief and Development
OrganizationThe African winner this year is Fatima Jibrell, a Somali
woman who founded the Horn of Africa Relief and Development
Organization to focus attention on the environmental damage
being caused by her country's political turmoil.
Jibrell, who was born to a nomadic family but received a
graduate degree in the United States, began training local
young people to save old growth acacia trees which were being
chopped down to make charcoal for export.
She has also worked to cut local charcoal consumption by
introducing solar cookers, while teaching community groups to
prevent soil erosion by building small rock dams.
"When you lose a government, you are nonexistent to the
world," Jibrell said in an interview. "Anything can happen and
people look away, and the predators come out. By the time you
find all the little pieces of the environment have been eaten
up, you cannot bring them back for a million years."