Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim wants to solve the escalated tension between the nomadic pastoralists and settled farmers of Chad, Africa. Due to climate change and increased population sizes in the Sahel region, the conflict between these disparate groups arose over the ever-dwindling resources in the region. As a climate activist and advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples of Chad, Hindou hopes to resolve the dispute with her project for Rolex Award for Enterprise (RAE) 2021.
Initially introduced and conceived as a one-time celebration of the first waterproof wristwatch Rolex Oyster's 50th anniversary in 1976, the award drew so much international interest that Rolex transformed them into an ongoing programme. The RAE has since established itself as one of the three key pillars of the watchmaker's Perpetual Planet initiative, in which the watchmaker is backing individuals and organisations to find solutions to the world's problems. (The other pillars include Rolex's partnership with National Geographic Society and Rolex Testimonee and marine scientist Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue project to safeguard the oceans.) Taking place biennially, the RAE honours individuals with projects focused on the environment, science and health, applied technology, cultural heritage, and exploration.
Through the traditional and cultural practices of the indigenous peoples, Hindou aims to bring the people together as they map and allocate natural resources. Conducted on a participatory basis with the indigenous peoples of Chad, Hindou's project utilises the knowledge gained from these practices to create two-dimensional (2D) mapping on a board of natural features such as ridges and plateau. This will then lead to the creation of intricate 2D or 3D landscape models of the region that will allow the indigenous peoples to become aware and then agree upon the distribution and sharing of the land, and resources fresh water and fruit-bearing trees.
“We all depend on the environment. We interact with the environment. I can’t work protecting human rights without protecting the environment,” said the RAE laureate about the motivations behind her work. Her project of mapping the terrain for resources will not only be a great effort in the conversation of resources but become a galvanising force that unites the indigenous peoples to a common cause.
Besides Hindou, here are four other laureates whose projects have caught the attention of the selection panel and have deservingly earned them the RAE 2021.