The Goldman Foundation awards its Environmental Prizes for sustained and important efforts to preserve the natural environment, including, but not limited to: protecting endangered ecosystems and species, combating destructive development projects, promoting sustainability, influencing environmental policies and striving for environmental justice.
Horn Relief’s Executive Director Fatima Jibrell, who has faced war, drought and harassment while working to organize women and protect diminishing natural resources in Somalia, was one of eight 2002 winners of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. The Prize was presented on April 22, 2002, at a San Francisco awards ceremony. A child of nomads, Jibrell eventually became an American citizen.
The Goldman Prize recognized Jibrell’s efforts to secure a ban by Puntland Authorities on the exportation of charcoal, which is devastating the natural environment through the burning of old-growth acacia trees to produce charcoal for export to the Gulf States. The effort to halt charcoal production was successful in the short-term, but charcoal production is still one of the few means of livelihood for pastoralists hit hard by drought and economic shocks. In the process of battling the charcoal trade at the local level, Jibrell and Horn Relief have educated rural local communities on sustainable alternatives to charcoal production and helped them work together in peace.
"By promoting the connections between peace, women's empowerment and resource protection, we have been able to provide communities with needed skills and sustainable economic activities," said Jibrell. "Somalia still has far too much violence and not enough water, but if the international community engages with us, we will have hope for a better future."
"Ms. Jibrell has demonstrated great courage in her environmental work," said Richard N. Goldman, founder of the Goldman Environmental Prize. "She also demonstrates that grassroots education is crucial for Somalia's survival. From the charcoal trade, to building rock dams in drought-stricken areas, to fighting the over-fishing by illegal trawlers off Somalia's coast, Jibrell takes on the battles that are most critical for Somalia's survival."