Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is an indigenous woman from the Mbororo pastoralist community in Chad. As nomadic cattle herders residing in the far west of the country near Lake Chad, her community have developed an array of traditional practices and weather forecasting knowledge, based on their interactions, over generations, with their living environment. During periods of drought or unexpected weather events, the Mbororo turn to such knowledge of changing seasonal patterns to adapt, often travelling vast distances over the semi-arid Sahel in search of water and pastures. Today, Ibrahim works to empower indigenous peoples’ voices and ensure their inclusion on international platforms. She is President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT) and is currently serving as a Member of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate. She collaborated with UNESCO to conduct a 3D participatory mapping of Chad’s Sahel desert region, where some 250,000 Mbororos make their living from herding and subsistence farming. She is also a member of the technical and scientific committee of the BIOPALT-UNESCO project.
She recently spoke with the Living Heritage Team in UNESCO’s Culture Sector about how her community is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their way of life, as well as their knowledge and cultural practices related to the natural environment and climate change.