Ikal Angelei, Friends of Lake Turkana, Kenya

websites: Friends of Lake Turkana and Turkana Basin Institute
email: ikalangelei@gmail.com

Personal background

Ms. Ikal Angelei is Program Coordinator for Friends of Lake Turkana, Kenya, which works to stop plans to build the Gibe 3 Dam in Ethiopia.

NGO, movement or network

Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT) is a community association formed in 2008 in response to threats to the viability of the world's largest permanent desert lake in northwestern Kenya and south-western Ethiopia. FoLT's membership consists of people from the Lake Turkana region, where an estimated 300,000 people rely in some way on the lake for their livelihood and survival; virtually all of them are from ethnic groups often described as "indigenous."

Current campaigns

An assessment of the overall impact of the proposed damming of the Omo river (Gibe III project) on the Turkana Basin carried out by African Resources Working Group (ARWG), indicates more potential risk to the environment and the indigenous communities than that suggested by the Environmental Impact Assessment done by the Ethiopian Government.

The ARWG report highlights critical impacts including, but not limited to:
I. Retreat of Lake Turkana (7m in depth in first 5 years)
II. A significant increase in lake salinity, and destruction of aquatic organisms
III. Destruction of Indigenous Economies
IV. Transboundary Issues between Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya
V. Hampering of Possible Regional Development

The campaign seeks to highlight the violations in human rights and social justice being carried out on the inhabitants of Lake Turkana by destroying their source of livelihood as well as destruction of the environment. The campaign does not seek to totally disregard the idea of dams producing hydroelectric power, but to encourage pursuit of alternative forms of energy development that avoid unacceptable trade offs which jeopardize indigenous economies and destroy the eco-system. For example the formulation of a program of small dams, with fundamental attention on the maintenance of maximum river flow, or a slowed construction of the dam to allow for adequate flow of water into lake Turkana rather than the drastic five year damming plan currently in place.

Personal comment on your campaign effort

The Kenyan government must do more to protect the interests of the peoples of northwest Kenya, and the ecosystems that they depend upon. The agreement with the Ethiopian government needs to be made public. We need to know if the impact on Lake Turkana was even considered before the agreement was signed.  The ministries of Energy, Water, and Northern Kenya must account for their plans to preserve the environment and livelihoods of the region. The members of parliament representing Northern Kenya need to know what is planned, and have a chance to voice their communities’ concerns. The peoples of Lake Turkana must be heard.  

Spread the word!! The more people know about the impacts of Gibe III and call for action, the more likely the Government of Kenya will listen.