A conscientious politician and environmentalist, Ms. Ikal Angelei is founder, Friends of Lake Turkana, an environmental justice group which launched an impactful campaign for protection of the Lake Turkana. She was famous for her courageous action in creating and sustaining the global awareness on the environmental implications of the Gilgel Gibe III dam around Lake Turkana in Kenya.
The impact of her intervention was underscored by the realization that the lake, which is located in East Africa’s Rift Valley, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and reputed to be the largest desert lake in the world. The lake site is also a rich archeological ground where scientists have discovered some of the oldest human fossils. Besides, the lake’s Basin is home to a large population of marine animals including snakes, crocodiles, fish, and hippos. Its thriving ecosystem represents a lifeline to the hundreds of thousands of indigenous farmers, herders, and fishermen who live around it.
But Lake Turkana’s water levels have shrunk over the past 40 years due to the combined effects of earth escalation for dams, irrigation, and of course climate change. This culminated in communal strive and killings among indigenous communities for control of the scarce resources around the Lake. It was this reality that made Ikal Angelei mobilized the ethnic communities to challenge the Gibe dam project to protect their only means of survival.