Phyllis Omido

Environment | Kenya

2017 New Voices Fellow


Phyllis is a Kenyan grassroots social justice activist. She has been vocal in advocating for the right to a clean and healthy environment for the Owino Uhuru community near Mombasa, and in 2015 she was the Africa recipient of the prestigious Goldman Prize, the world’s foremost environmental award. After learning her own breast milk was making her baby sick and realizing her child wasn’t the only one suffering from lead poisoning, Phyllis galvanized the community to shut down a local smelter that was exposing people to dangerous chemicals. She has since launched an NGO dedicated to empowering communities affected by extractive industries. Her campaign last year helped to spark a national outcry in Kenya that resulted in a parliamentary task force to address the issues of pollution. This lead to the shutdown of smelters located dangerously close to human settlements across the country.