Alwihdainfo-Environmental innovation: Chadian national Hindou Oumarou wins Pritzker prize worth USD 100,000
A Chadian native, Hindou Oumarou has received USD 100,000 for her work uniting cultures around a diminishing water resource used by four African countries.
The UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development handed the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award 2019 to Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, a member of the semi-nomadic indigenous Mbororo community of Chad.
Ibrahim advocates for environmental protection for indigenous groups by working with international organizations, especially in her capacity as a member of the Board of the United Nations Partnership for indigenous peoples. She also runs a community-based environmental coalition in the region surrounding Lake Chad, a water source that has shrank 90% since 1980 - partly because temperatures in the region have risen 1.5 degrees Celsius in the last century. Violent conflict has often erupted between groups competing for the vital resource.
The annual prize amounts to USD 100,000, funded in part by a 20-million-dollar donation from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation at the UCLA. It is the first major distinction awarded specifically to innovators under the age of 40.
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim declared that the prize, which was presented on 7 November in the UCLA’s Hershey Hall will help to amplify the voices of 370 million indigenous people around the world.
“The voices of indigenous people will be heard here - through me, through all of you and through this prize” Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim said. “We are all together. We will win this battle, I am so sure of it.”
University researchers, Pentagon experts and others have noted that fast-paced climate change- largely due to human-caused carbon emissions- have led to an increasing number of armed conflicts. The phenomenon is expected to be especially hard on regions that are already unstable.
To prevent and reduce conflict in the Lake Chad Basin, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim developed a program that gathers information on natural resources from farmers, fishermen and herders from more than a dozen African ethnic groups, and produces 3D maps of natural resources that their communities can share. The effort aims to reduce the risk of conflict between groups.
“It is amazing to see women and men who have never been to school jointly developing 3D maps that share critical knowledge as well as locations where fresh water can be found on the worst days of drought,” Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim underscores in her award application. “But the most interesting aspect of the project is that it helps to reduce conflict and tension between communities.”