Tribute to a peacemaker: Dekha Ibrahim Abdi

July 15th, 2011 by admin Posted in Kenya, Peacebuilding
Dekha Ibrahim Abdi


Oxfam is shocked at the untimely passing of peacemaker and activist Dekha Ibrahim Abdi in a car accident in Kenya.  We have lost a powerful ally in the fight against poverty and injustice. Dekha grew up in Wajir, in northeastern Kenya, and was a friend and partner of Oxfam there for much of her life.

Conflict was, and is, common in that area. Water and grazing land for livestock are scarce valuable resources, and competition for them can be fierce and deadly. In 1992, Dekha and others founded the Wajir Peace Committee, a grassroots peace initiative composed of representatives of clans, government security organs, parliamentarians, civil servants, Muslim and Christian religious leaders, and NGOs.  This initiative was extremely successful in curbing the level of violence, and has been replicated all over the drylands of northern Kenya. It is now being introduced in other parts of the country.

Dekha also played a key role in the peace initiatives during the post-election violence that rocked Kenya in 2008.   Globally she is recognised for her efforts in peace work and conflict resolution in many of the world’s most divided countries. She was the first African, and only the second woman, to win the 2009 Hesse Peace Prize. Dekha also won the 2007 Right Livelihood Award also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Despite the global recognition and accolades, Dekha remained humble and committed. She was a woman who in her quiet ways could make change happen for a better world. The world will be a poorer place without her, and she will be deeply missed by all of us.

  1. 4 Responses to “Tribute to a peacemaker: Dekha Ibrahim Abdi”

  2. By Paula McGinley on Jul 25, 2011

    Dear Oxfam

    I produce an obituaries programme for BBC Radio in london. We are considering a piece about Dekha Ibrahim Abdi and I was wondering whether you could put me in touch with people who knew and worked with her. I’m afraid I have a tight deadline and would like to speak to somone tomorrow. My direct line is 020 7765 1333.

    Best wishes

    Paula McGinley

  3. By adhan ali on Aug 1, 2011

    It may be a bit late..but i can arrange contact with her immediate family members and other who worked with her.

  4. By Abdi Rahoy on Sep 28, 2011

    Deka taught me and she was my mentor,i was waiting at Garisa Kenya to facilitate peace building workshop aimed at strengthening cross border peace structures along the Somali Sub East Cluster.
    Among her inspiring words ;Abdi grow up…grow up….others have grown,the road to peace is never straight,it is curve,meanders,hilly and can be overcome through confidence and patience;

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