2024 Bertha
Challenge Activist Fellows

Photo Credit: Greta Rico - Bertha Challenge 2023 Fellow

Photo Credit: Greta Rico - Bertha Challenge 2023 Fellow

Salim Abu Jabal

Location: Golan Heights
Host Organization: Al-Marsad – Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights

Salim Abu Jabal has a deep love for cinema. Making it, creating it, talking about it, using it as an activist tool. An experienced filmmaker and former journalist and passionate about his activism in one of the most difficult parts of the world - the Israeli occupied Golan Heights - he specializes in cultural and cinematic topics related to Palestine and Israel. His feature documentary, “Roshmia," received global awards. He founded cinema clubs in the Golan Heights, Ramallah, and Haifa, while also programming film festivals.

In addition to his roles as a film producer and filmmaker, he is actively involved with marginalized communities and writes about environmental issues connected to the situations in the West Bank and Golan Heights, areas that were occupied by Israel in 1967.

His Bertha Challenge project, a film, will look at the areas in the Golan Heights threatened by the turbines project initiated by a private company with support from the Israeli government. The company provided disinformation to the community and took over apple and cherry farms without being clear about the long-term environmental and health damage the turbines would cause. The local farmers community went to court to cancel the contracts with the deceived farmers.

Through his film, Salim will be actively engaged with the community campaign against the turbines project, collaborating with the Al-Marsad - a human rights center in the Golan Heights - to thwart its implementation and protect the farmers land.

Oyunchimeg Demchig

Location: Mongolia
Host Organization: The Mongolian Public Media Content Foundation

Oyunchimeg Demchig or “Oyunaa” for short, is an advocate for public media in Mongolia. With a career spanning over 25 years she has worked tirelessly to promote freely accessible public interest information. In protest of state interference in the media, she left traditional media, calling herself an activist. Founder of the Mongolian Public Media Content Foundation, she has been dedicated to producing and distributing public interest content at no cost to media outlets. Her commitment to justice was acknowledged by the European Union Human Rights Award in 2020 for her advocacy against the criminalization of libel.

During her fellowship year, Oyunaa will be focusing on Mongolia’s climate crisis and the role of misinformation about livestock farming. Her comprehensive plan includes launching a multiplatform campaign that involves creating articles, multimedia content and an impactful video documentary for the farming communities she will be working with.

Her campaign will highlight the disparities between Mongolia’s environmental policies and their actual implementation, amplified by the complex interplay between traditional livestock practices and modern environmental challenges. She works best at the intersection of activism and journalism and plans to share her findings and strategies with activists and policymakers in Mongolia.

Ken Henshaw

Location: Nigeria
Host Organization:  We the People

Ken Henshaw leads a human and ecological rights organization called We the People based in Nigeria’s Niger Delta. For nearly 20 years, Ken has worked closely with communities in the Niger Delta where crude oil and gas have been extracted for decades with devastating environmental, health and social consequences. His work is focused on ensuring that years of oil pollution is cleaned up, that the rights of indigenous people are respected and protected, that community livelihoods lost to pollution are restored, and that the effects of climate change are mitigated.

Ken’s work is a race against the clock as international oil companies are divesting from Nigeria. He has monitored the impacts of climate change and hydrocarbon pollution on communities in Nigeria, including connections with health challenges, insecurity, food security and migration. His published works provide information with the aim to hold oil companies accountable, while proposing and interrogating plans for combating climate change and driving a just transition.

Ken will use his fellowship year to counter the narrative and disinformation of oil companies around climate change and the impact oil extraction has had in the area where he works as an activist. His work will expose the role of oil companies in driving disinformation while exposing the real footprint of fossil extraction in Nigeria. Through the Bertha Fellowship, Ken will campaign intimately with oil and climate change-impacted communities in Nigeria to demand reparations and ecological justice using traditional media-tools as an activist.

Dennis Orengo Juma

Location: Kenya
Host Organization: Kiamaiko Social Justice Centre

Dennis Orengo Juma is a distinguished human rights defender with ten years experience in community organizing. He has positioned himself as a voice to the voiceless in the promotion of disability justice, diversity and inclusion as well as climate justice. He advocates against human trafficking and police extra judicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances. He is the founder of ‘Karate for Social Justice’ tournament, a tool he uses for the promotion of justice at a grassroot level. Dennis is the founding member of the social justice centers working group and has helped in establishing over 15 social justice centers in Nairobi.

During his Bertha Challenge Fellowship, Dennis aims to workshop and create Kenya’s first ever Climate Change Policy and plant 1200 trees - with young people. He will design a comic animation book to teach children about climate justice and to come up with a climate justice song as well as staging a vigorous online campaign against climate change disinformation.

Pato Kelesitse

Location: Botswana
Host Organization: Botswana Society for Human Development

Pato Kelesitse is a climate justice advocate who sees the world around her through a gendered lens. With nearly a decade of experience, she is the founder of Sustain267 and the host of the
Sustain267 Podcast, a platform for amplifying African voices in climate action. She serves as a climate justice, advocacy, and sustainability consultant for civil society and the private sector and previously served as the coordinator of the Pan-African Network, Resilient40. She has expertise in project coordination, climate advocacy, community engagement, workshop facilitation, panel moderation, and workshop facilitation. Pato Kelesitse holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Accounting and Finance. Kelesitse is an official party delegate with the Government of Botswana to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Pato is the Curator of Global Shapers Community Gaborone Hub. She serves as a board member for the Climate Justice Resilience Fund, an advisor for Urgent Action Fund- Africa and is a FuturElect Fellow.

During the Bertha Fellowship Pato will produce 12 episodes of the Sustain267 Podcast that are dedicated to the disinformation of "Africa needs more fossil fuels for development”. Through this 12-part series, she will look at the impact that fossil fuel mining has had on individuals living in the communities where the mines are, the impacts on national GDP and how it has translated to people’s lived experiences. Her work will be distributed among the communities with whom she will be collaborating.

Bambang Catur Nusantara

Location: Indonesia
Host Organization: JATAM (Mining Advocacy Network)

Catur lives his activism: His home town, a densely populated area, has seen numerous accidents caused by the gas drilling industry. Yet, the Indonesian government permits gas drilling companies new mining licenses despite research findings showing mud-flow areas contributing 100,000 tons of Methane per year. Catur has advocated for the rights of the mud-eruption victim community for more than 15 years. He has been monitoring the ongoing environmental devastation caused by mining and in 2022, he and his colleagues wrote their
findings in the book “Remedi Sidoarjo”, Surviving Multi-Impact Lapindo Mud Dimensions in 2022.

During his fellowship year, Catur wants to expose how the energy industry has successfully covered its industrial scale destruction; how they’ve avoided public attention connecting it to the climate crisis. He will provide a documentary film to show the impacts of the fossil industries, their contribution to the climate crisis, and how the energy industries promote their participation in reducing emissions by investing in renewable energy.

The documentary will help his community understand the role of the energy industries that promote new and renewable energy; while still using the same method for extraction causing destruction of the environment and ruining people’s lives.