Ogiek Peoples' Development Program(OPDP) has won an International Land Coalition(ILC) Award recognizing outstanding practices in pursuing justice for communities over land ownership and use.
Mr Jean-Philippe Audinet,co-chair of ILC Council declared OPDP the winner on September 26,2018 during the Global Land Forum in Bandung,Indonesia;having made its entry ‘Litigation for the restoration of the indigenous Ogiek people in Kenya.'
OPDP was among the 11 organizations that made it to ILC's finalist list following submission of entries.
The panel of judges took into account clarity of practices,originality of the process,potential of its adaptability or replicability and quality of presentation of the practices in settling on the winner of the ILC Award recognizing good practices in people centred land governance.
For two decades,OPDP has effortlessly sought to secure the rights of the indigenous minority Ogiek in access,possession and use of their land in Mau Forest Complex spanning within the Rift Valley region.
The tireless devotion embraced by OPDP Board and secretariat has over the years yielded into innovative strategies geared towards enabling the Ogiek enjoy their land rights. Among the key strategies being engagement of African regional structures spearheading recognition and respect of citizens' human rights within the continent.
Through African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights,OPDP has succeeded in lifting the lid over discrimination of Ogiek in land ownership following years of legal battle against the Government of Kenya.
The judgement by the African Court on May 26,2017 which recognized the rights of Ogiek to their ancestral land in Mau was a culmination of protracted struggles to end evictions of the community members from their homes.
OPDP's win of ILC Award illuminates the selfless efforts made in seeking to guarantee the Ogiek land justice through a judicial process at the regional level having failed to find a legal solution at the Kenyan courts(link-Facts about the Case)
While accepting the award,Mr Daniel Kobei,OPDP's Executive Director,identified it as an icon of hope for indigenous peoples across the world fighting to secure or restore their land rights.
He emphasized the need to actively engage women and youth in pursuing land justice as they are influential in fostering effective land governance.
OPDP is currently the organization in Africa leading implementation of ILC Commitment Based Initiative 5 (CBI 5 ) focusing on securing territorial rights for indigenous peoples.