Ikal Angelei of Friends of Lake Turkana Wins Prestigious Award For Natural Resource Rights Activism
New York, NY; April 16, 2012—American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an international development and human rights organization, today announced that Ikal Angelei, the founder of Friends of Lake Turkana, has won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. AJWS has funded Angelei’s work to fight the construction of the massive Gibe 3 Dam in southern Ethiopia for the past two years.
“Ikal Angelei has achieved what many thought was absolutely impossible,” said AJWS President Ruth Messinger. “She brought together Lake Turkana’s deeply divided and marginalized indigenous communities to speak with a unified voice to thwart this project that would block their access to water and destroy their livelihoods. And because of her genius, major banks, including the World Bank, have withdrawn their considerations for financing the Gibe 3 Dam. AJWS is overjoyed that the Goldman Environmental Prize selected her for this pivotal award and is hopeful that it will aid her work in halting this socially and environmentally untenable project.”
The Goldman Environmental Prize, now in its 23rd year, is awarded annually to grassroots environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions and is the largest award for grassroots activism with an individual cash prize of $150,000.
AJWS supports communities in Africa, Asia and the Americas to defend their natural resource rights and to strengthen their livelihoods through sustainable natural resource management. The organization primarily invests in environmental movements that represent women, youth, small farmers, indigenous and other marginalized people—the groups who are primarily affected by resource rights violations. Through grants to grassroots organizations, AJWS enables its partners to:
- Educate communities about their natural resource rights
- Advocate for community consultation and inclusion in decision-making
- Claim land ownership through individual or collective land titles
- Monitor corporations and governments to ensure that they adhere to international standards
- Push for the creation and implementation of laws and policies that recognize and protect communities’ natural resource rights
- Advance corporate and government accountability for resource rights violations and pursue strategic litigation to stop illegal actions and secure compensation for communities.
In all of its work, AJWS promotes the safety and security of activists; helping its partners increase their capacity to protect themselves against security threats.
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David L. Marcus