The Wangari Maathai Champions of Forests Award for 2022 has gone to Cameroon’s gender specialist and social forester.

Cécile Ndjebet received the award for her extraordinary contribution to the preservation of forests and the improvement of the lives of those who rely on them.

The award was presented during a ceremony at the XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Deputy director general for Food and Agriculture Organization, Maria Helena Semedo said, “this award recognizes Cecile Ndjebet for her energy and commitment over 30 years to the promotion of women’s land and forest rights. As an activist, she has shown that women’s participation in forest governance and conservation is fundamental to achieving sustainable forest management.”

Cameroon's gender specialist wins 2022 Wangari Maathai Champions of Forests Award

Ms Ndjebet has worked relentlessly to promote the idea that women should participate in forest management and have equal rights to land through the African Women’s Network for Community and Forest Management, which she co-founded in 2009.

She has established herself as a significant figure in Cameroon and internationally for the necessity of gender equality in forest management.

The Champions of the Forestry Award, established by Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) in 2012 in honour of Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, honors individuals who have been inspired by her determination to improve and protect forests and the people who rely on them.

Ms. Ndjebet is the President of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forest (REFACOF). She began her professional career as a Cameroonian civil servant before moving into civil society in 1997.

Cameroon's gender specialist wins 2022 Wangari Maathai Champions of Forests Award

Ms. Ndjebet is a well-known CSO REDD & CC platform leader in Cameroon, where she is a member of the national REDD+ & CC Steering Committee and the Regional Coordinator of the CSO REDD+ & CC Platform of Central Africa.

Ms. Ndjebet was named the Central African Commission on Forests’ Climate Change Champion in 2012. (COMIFAC). She is a member of the UN Women Major Group and a well-known advocate for women’s tenure rights among global women networks at the international level.

She is also a member of the African Forest Forum’s (AFF) Governing Council and holds a master’s degree in social forestry from Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands.