Fatima Jibrell is a prominent Somali-American environmental activist. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Horn of Africa Relief, now known as ADESO(African Development Solutions), co-founder of Sun Fire Cooking, and was instrumental in the creation of the Women’s Coalition for Peace.
Jibrell was born in Somalia to a nomadic family. She attended a British boarding school until the age of 16, when she and her mother left the country to join her father in the United States. There, Fatima graduated from high school. In 1969, she returned to Somalia and worked for the government, whereafter she married her husband, Abdulrahman Mohamoud Ali, a diplomat.
Spurred on by the Somali Civil War that began in 1991, Jibrell along with her husband and family friends co-founded the Horn of Africa Relief and Development Organization, a NGO of which she is the Executive Director. The Horn Relief supports sustainable peace and development in Somalia through grassroots capacity building, youth development, promotion of human rights and women’s leadership, and protection of the environment.
Jibrell was instrumental in the creation of the Women’s Coalition for Peace to encourage more participation by women in politics and social issues. She also co-founded Sun Fire Cooking, which aims to introduce solar cookers to Somalia so as to reduce the reliance on charcoal as a fuel.
In 2008, Jibrell wrote and co-produced a short film entitled Charcoal Traffic, which employs a fictional storyline to educate the public about the charcoal crisis.
For her efforts against environmental degradation and desertification, Fatima was awarded in 2002 the Goldman Environmental Prize, the most prestigious grassroots environmental prize. In 2008, she also won the National Geographic Society/Buffett Foundation Award for Leadership in Conservation.