For almost 30 years, Global Greengrants Fund has been one of the leading organizations in the world supporting grassroots-led efforts to protect the planet and the rights of people. Global Greengrants Fund is different from other international organizations in that they don’t try to dictate an agenda from afar. Instead, Global Greengrants Fund shifts money and resources
directly into the hands of people with the most effective climate solutions – including women, Indigenous Peoples, youth, and people with disabilities. They connect resources to local solutions that promote environmental justice, protecting the rights of people worldwide to clean
air, water, and soil.
In this Q&A with Global Greengrants Fund’s Program Coordinator for Global Indigenous Grantmaking, Naomi Lanoi Leleto, Naomi shares her experience as a Maasai Indigenous woman supporting philanthropy focused on Indigenous rights to land, water, and resources.
Tell us about yourself and your time at Global Greengrants Fund. What does your work
My name is Naomi Lanoi Leleto. I am a Maasai Indigenous woman based in Narok, the Southern part of Kenya. Before joining Global Greengrants Fund as the Program Coordinator for Global Indigenous Grantmaking and Coordinator of the East Africa Advisory Board, I worked as the Women Land Rights Program Officer at Kenya Land Alliance, a national non-profit organization that works on land governance and justice in Kenya. I have actively participated in movements and platforms that align with Indigenous Peoples issues, including at the United Nations
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
In my work, I gather and disseminate valuable knowledge that holds untapped potential to advance our foundation’s mission to provide grants to Indigenous Peoples, as well as coordinate grantmaking within the East Africa Advisory Board.
How is your work at Global Greengrants Fund supporting Rights to Land, Water, Resources, Women-Led projects, and Climate Justice?
Indigenous Peoples grantmaking involves cultivating collaborative relationships built on trust, transparency, and shared knowledge through a concerted effort from my colleagues, coordinators, advisors, and grantees. My first duty at Greengrants was to undertake an assessment on strengthening Indigenous Peoples’ grantmaking through learning and sharing. This assignment gave me an opportunity to talk with advisors, and hold in-person meetings with staff, coordinators, and partners. I also visited grantees in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, opening a broad range of viewpoints across our grantmaking spectrum. The assessment has contributed to very key recommendations, one of which has led to the development of an Indigenous Peoples grantmaking toolkit that is now available in Spanish, French, and Portuguese. The toolkit, which
aims to enable informed discussions across and between Global Greengrants Fund’s Advisory Boards, allies, staff, and Partners about funding Indigenous Peoples, is a collective effort of a group of Coordinators and Advisors from across the world who came together to share their
experiences and those of their Advisory boards and communities that relate to environmental and social justice grantmaking.
As the East African advisory board, we have supported local grassroots initiatives that address environmental injustices by creating awareness and carrying out advocacy work on climate change. Our grantees amplify women-led efforts and establish the agency of women as champions of change in conservation, Indigenous knowledge development, an active agency on women and environmental justice, enhanced capacity building for women, improved environmental sustainability, food security, and improved energy security for women, as well as participation in decision making related to the extractives sector in East Africa. All this is with the appreciation that women are the key drivers of environmental, agricultural, and income diversification that are necessary to promote climate resilience.
The local organizations that we partner with work with rural women and ensure their participation in the formulation of land policy and land reforms. For example, by ensuring participation and consultation during any process related to land, they make deliberate efforts to ensure that women participate and voice their concerns. Further, they make sure that ideal times and locations are identified, taking into consideration gender roles and responsibilities that may otherwise hinder women from actively participating in climate policy.
The local organizations also push to hold government actors/institutions accountable and ensure the implementation of provisions that would secure women’s access to communal land. Further, our grassroots partners are active in creating public education and awareness about existing legal and policy frameworks, ensuring that the public is aware of the policy, legislative, and institutional frameworks that protect women’s rights to land, water, and other natural resources.
Can you elaborate on the specific impact that EarthHero’s funds, as well as general donations, are making on the frontlines?
EarthHero’s gift is supporting women’s environmental action across the globe and protecting the right to land, water, and resources. By awarding resources directly to local groups, in partnership, Global Greengrants Fund is supporting activists who are resisting harmful development projects, seeking legal support, and increasing awareness of the threats these development projects pose. Solutions to climate change exist on the frontlines of the battle to save our planet. It is an honor to stand in solidarity with these leaders as they promote their rights and solutions for a safe, healthy, and clean environment.
What would you like to say to the wider community who are concerned about the climate crisis/climate justice and eager to take action?
They are in the right space. It is Greengrants’ priority to support grassroots communities to change the climate crisis. Thank you for caring about your future and thank you for taking action to save our shared planet.
Want to learn more about Global Greengrants Fund? Check out our blog post ‘Non-Profit Spotlight: Global Greengrants Fund’