NAIYAN Jebet Kiplagat (42), KENYA

A MANY-TALENTED LEADER OF INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT

Jebet Kiplagat Naiyan has had a major impact in her country in a variety of key areas, including mobilizing women to combat the severe impact of climate change in the Mau forest of Kenya. As a member of the Olulunga women’s group, she has worked to save marginalized communities both at the local and international level.

Her efforts have had a multidimensional impact in the areas of human rights; indigenous rights education and especially environmental preservation, which, as in many other rural areas in the south, has become a major issue in her country. She has assisted indigenous people to develop the skills enabling them to be climate defenders, with e.g. the introduction of wood-saving jiko stoves or major reforestation projects, not to mention exploiting their regions’ biodiversity and traditions. She has manifested the kind of strong leadership in areas where traditional chieftains are still major actors at the local level. The women’s climate defender initiative of which she is also a member works towards shifting gender dynamics by strengthening grassroots women’s access to resources, political participation and women’s voices in policy decisions. An outstanding activity has been her involvement in the “Seed Sisters”, an exchange between women from climatically different regions producing a variety of seeds for vegetables, beans, medicinal plants, flowers and trees that are more resistant to a dry environment. She has thus become a major source of inspiration for rural women to support each other.

Her work contributes to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals-Agenda 2030 Targets #10, #12 & #13