These 7 women are leading the Climate change conversation in Africa –and the world!

1. Steve Letsike

Steve Letsike is a seasoned Leader, Feminist, Human Rights Advocate and an Entrepreneur based in South Africa. She is the founder and Executive Director of Access Chapter 2 (Human Rights organisation). She currently serves as the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Co- Chairperson, the Chairperson of Commonwealth Equality Network and is a member of the UN Women Global LGBTI reference group.

“Many countries across the Commonwealth have only one or a small handful of organisations dedicated to upholding the human rights of LGBTIQ people, and their work is vital to the wellbeing and safety of those who face persecution, exclusion and violence because of who they are and who they love. As international aid organisations respond to climate-related disasters, LGBTIQ people must be accounted for and included in relief efforts.”


2. Temilade Salami

Temilade Salami is a Climate Education and Communications professional, author and Marine Biologist with over five years experience leading on various youth-led environmental sustainability initiatives across Africa. She is the Founder/ Executive Director of “EcoChampions”, one of Nigeria’s largest networks of professional environmentalists, leading environmental change through tree planting, ocean conservation advocacy, plastic waste management and environmental education in Nigeria.

“Greening communities should involve engaging the entire community through the integration of climate education in life-long learning. Particularly through community learning centers and learning cities. Our environment and climate is changing, and so should our curricula and approach to education.


3. Fatou Samba

Fatou Samba, is the president of women fish processors from Khelcom processing site in Bargny, a town just east of Dakar in Senegal. She has been working to call on the government to stop the expansion of the fishmeal and fish oil industries.

“I work on the coast just south of Dakar. Most days, men go out in the pirogues, their beautifully painted fishing boats. They sail far out to sea, and when they bring back their catch, we process the fish. Most of us fish processors are women. It’s tiring work but it’s honest. But miles out to sea, industrial trawlers are now competing with the piroques for fish, and on the coast, many factories have appeared to grind the fish that should be ours into fishmeal and oil. The factories will eventually steal the last of our fish.”

“But we are fighting back. With the fishermen’s trade unions, we have been protesting for years, in order to put pressure on our government. We have to make them act on their promises. Meanwhile, we are also demanding that big businesses stop sourcing fishmeal and oil from our countries. We will not stop our struggle until you stop stealing our fish.”

l4. Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile

Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile is a cultural architect, development practitioner, Trans ARTivist and TED Fellow from Botswana.

“My feminism is about decoloniality and inclusion, and I believe this is what climate justice advocates need at every turn. We can’t deny that there are many feminist movements from which global climate-justice advocates can learn. Our oppression and possessiveness of the earth that helps us sustain ourselves is unhealthy and must be met with active impatience for change. We must claim spaces, push for changes and be relentless in our drive – the world depends on it.”

5. Awa Traoré

Awa Traoré is an Oceans, Plastics and Biodiversity Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa, and leads Greenpeace International’s Racial Justice Global Project. The Senegalese climate and social justice advocate is the winner of the 2021 Green Awards ‘Most Influential Young Women’ Prize.

“We need to focus on the root causes of the climate crisis and not seek to shift their historic responsibility towards global south countries – they compromise environmental integrity, and perpetuate global inequality by allowing rich companies and governments to pollute, while the most vulnerable communities bear the cost of seeing their ancestral lands gradually destroyed. Wherever we come from, we need to start fighting with a joint agenda that will do good to the environment and keep justice and humanity at the centre of our struggle to overcome the climate emergency.”


6. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

Originating from the traditionally nomadic Mbororo community in Chad, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is the founder of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad which uses 3D mapping tools to show the benefits of using Indigenous peoples’ knowledge to solve climate problems. Hindou is a member of the 2017 National Geographic Emerging Explorers.

“Traditional knowledge and climate science are both critically important for building resilience of rural communities to cope with climate change, and Indigenous peoples are ready to share their knowledge to help to mitigate and adapt,” she explained to the UN


7. Thandile Chinyavanhu

Thandile Chinyavanhu is an environmental and social activist based in South Africa. She works as a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa and is part of the Quote This Woman+ database of experts.

“Women make up a bulk of South Africa’s agricultural workforce through commercial farming and subsistence farming. Climate shocks such as droughts, floods and locust swarms directly impact these women’s capability to provide for their families. With every passing year, they recognise their crops yield less than before. Climate change is affecting their food security drastically. In fact, South African women are starving to shield their families from hunger.”

This article was culled from

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