When I stepped into Greenpeace back in October 2008, I was told I was the first African lady to join this organisation in Africa. I felt it was a continuation of the duty I started when I worked at Oxfam. With the latter, I was responding to humanitarian crisis across West Africa. Joining Greenpeace was a way to contribute to the mitigation of the crisis, not just to be at the forefront of a response, but campaigning to protect the environment from these emergencies and catastrophes.
I have been lucky enough to be involved in the launch of two of the three Greenpeace Africa offices, starting with the DRC office where I travelled on the Congo River aboard My Arctic Sunrise. Starting on such note, I was so excited, and felt privileged to be part of this organisation.
It has actually been a journey from the forest to the oceans. But, stories remain the same from forest to oceans. Travelling in the forest, you get to see the communities whose supermarket is being trucked away by greedy logging companies whose sole aim is to increase profits. Well, the same scenario applies to ocean communities whose livelihoods is been trawled away by big monster boats. Fortunately, I am on the right side with Greenpeace not just to bear witness to this environmental and social injustice but also to denounce what is happening in these communities.
Working closely with the indigenous people in the Congo forest, as well as mobilising fishermen communities along the Senegalese coast to voice their concern about the competition with big vessels, have been the most exciting parts of my work within Greenpeace -- mobilising the voiceless to stand for their right, and ensure they are a power that can bring about change.
Working with the Congo team, I learnt in my biodiversity campaigner role that Intact Forest Landscape needed to be protected, and that the communities have always been the best guardian of their natural heritage.
Then came the need to expand Greenpeace Africa into West Africa, and I was commissioned to lead the scouting trip for the new office in the region. Two proposals were made and I had to come out with the suitable choice between Ghana and Senegal!
My first choice between the two was actually Ghana, but I was instructed to set up the West Africa base in Senegal. With this, I was excited to go back to my second “home country” where I could catch up with friends again.
From one desk to another, I finally set up the new office, which is certainly one of my proudest moments of working for this organisation.
Today, I thank the board for choosing of Senegal for our new, as this is the place where I have had the chance to raise the profile of Greenpeace across the region.
Leading the team and the campaign to the 2012 campaign victory when the Senegalese government cancelled 29 licences of monster trawlers is a moment I will proudly enjoy in my entire life!
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