Alwihdainfo-environmental Innovation: Chadian Hindou Oumarou wins $100,000 Pritzker Prize



A native of Chad, Hindu Oumarou receives $100,000 for work to unify cultures around a scarce water resource that serves four African countries.



UCLA's Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development presented the 2019 Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award to Hindu Oumarou Ibrahim, a member of Chad's semi-nomadic Mbororo indigenous community.



Ibrahim promotes environmental protection for indigenous groups by working with international organizations, including as a member of the Board of Directors of the United Nations Partnership for Indigenous Peoples. She also leads a community environmental coalition in the region around Lake Chad, a key water source that has decreased by 90% since 1980 - in part because temperatures in the region have risen by 1.5 Celsius degree over the past century. Violent conflicts have sometimes erupted between groups competing for this vital resource.



The annual award is endowed with $100,000, which is funded by a portion of a $20 million donation from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation to UCLA. This is the first major award specifically given to innovators under 40 years.



Hindu Oumarou Ibrahim said the award, which was presented on November 7 at UCLA's Hershey Hall, will help amplify the voices of 370 million indigenous people around the world.



“The voices of indigenous people are being heard here - through me, through all of you and through this award”, said Hindu Oumarou Ibrahim. “We are all together. We will win this battle, I am so confident.”



Academic researchers, Pentagon experts and others have found that rapid climate change - largely due to man-made carbon emissions - has contributed to an increasing number of armed conflicts. It is expected that this phenomenon will particularly affect regions that are already unstable.



To prevent and reduce conflicts in the Lake Chad Basin, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim has developed a programme that collects information on natural resources from farmers, fishermen and herders from more than a dozen African ethnic groups, and then produces 3D maps of these natural resources that their communities can share. The effort aims to reduce the risk of conflict between groups.



“It's incredible to see women and men who have never been to school working together to build 3D maps that share critical knowledge, such as places where fresh water can be found even in the worst days of drought”, says Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim in his price request. “But the most interesting aspect of this project is that it helps to reduce conflicts and tensions between communities”.


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