Nancy Kgengwenyane

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 1999
Tika-Tikwe Bio Resources Trust


This profile was prepared when Nancy Kgengwenyane was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
At present, most citizens of countries that have signed the Convention on Bio-Diversity (CBD) are not aware of the rights afforded by the convention and how these rights are contradicted by article 27(3)(b) and the World Trade Organisation's Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement. Until citizens are aware of this perilously complex set of issues, there can be no local, democratic self-determination on these issues.Nancy is building grassroots support for legal reform and amendment of the WTO's policy, and drafting a new, alternative legal framework structured around the rights of indigenous Southern Africans. Nancy begins by providing local communities with legal advice, advocacy, and access to information relating to the biological diversity which they have nurtured for centuries. None of these services are currently available from any other source. Nancy also works directly with government officials and NGOs throughout Southern Africa to increase their general vigilance over the problems of resource and knowledge abuse.Working from above and below, Nancy is starting a movement in Southern Africa-the first of its kind-to challenge the industrialized world's definition of property and patent and evolve an alternative that suits the particularities of the developing world.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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