#10Women: Habiba Tadicha, Board Chair, Biliqo Bulesa Conservancy

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“I hated seeing what the fighting did to our community- we could not do any business, there were many orphans and widows and our children did not even have teachers in their schools. I joined the board because I desperately wanted a better future for my community,” Habiba Tadicha, Board Chair, Biliqo Bulesa Conservancy. Part 6 of our #10Women series. 

Habiba grew up in the area now know as Biliqo Bulesa. Conflict has plagued her community, and their neighbours, for years - and its drivers are complex and deep rooted. But while sporadic conflict still occurs, things have come a long way since the establishment of the community conservancy in 2007. “When I saw our young men fighting I knew that in addition to bringing them together for peace meetings we needed to offer them other ways to support themselves and their families- I believe that when you have something to lose, you are more likely to see the value of peace” Habiba says. Her board has since sought support to start a micro-loan programme that lends both men and women money to start small businesses such as livestock selling and shop-keeping. In addition, the community now benefits from annual education bursaries, a brand-new teacher’s quarters and support for their livestock market - all through the conservancy. 

Another cause close to Habiba’s heart is women’s participation in community affairs, and she has made it her mission to ensure that women not only attend but speak up in community meetings. “Women and children suffer the most due to conflict, so why should we not speak?” she asks. “I’m glad they’re now listening. Recently, we heard that there was a peace meeting bringing together women from different ethnic groups in northern Kenya and before I could even start to rally the women, they came to me saying that we had to attend.” “We are now more peaceful than before and we have come up with effective ways to conserve and use our land, our lives are improving and we’re headed in a good direction” she says. 

Sophie Harrison