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Cameroonian Activist Wins Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award

Cécile Ndjebet is the winner of the award by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, which is chaired by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization

Cécile Ndjebet, of Cameroon, winner of the 2022 Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award. Photo credit: FAO/Pilar Valbuena

A veteran Cameroonian activist, Cécile Ndjebet is the recipient of the 2022 Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), which is chaired by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Ndjebet has been working to preserve her country’s forests, and improve the lives of people who depend on them. She was presented with the award at a ceremony in Seoul, Republic of Korea, during the XV World Forestry Congress.

“This award celebrates Cécile Ndjebet’s energy and dedication over three decades in promoting women’s rights to land and forests. She has actively shown that women’s participation in forest governance and preservation is fundamental to achieving sustainable forest management,” said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General and chair of the CPF, which comprises 15 international organisations.

Ndjebet is a co-founder of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests, established in 2009, which now has 20 member countries across the continent.

She has become a leading voice of gender equality in forest management globally. She has tirelessly promoted the concept that women should be involved in forest management and have equal rights to forest land and resources.

FAO added that the activist has long been a driving force in implementing forestry law and good governance in Cameroon, and establishing a new approach on community forestry and the restoration of degraded lands and forests, through Cameroon Ecology (Cam-Eco), which she founded two decades ago.

The organisation has worked to inform, train and support women to understand sustainability issues and to get involved in forest conservation and restoration.

The Forest Champions Award is named in honour of Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late Wangari Maathai, who was also a UN Messenger of Peace.

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