Maida Bilal

2022 Goldman Prize Recipient Maida Bilal led a group of women from her village in a 503-day blockade of heavy equipment that resulted in the cancellation of permits for two proposed dams on the Kruščica River in December 2018.

Maida Bilal

Maida Bilal is a Bosnian environmental activist known for leading a group of women in a 503-day blockade ending in December 2018. The group resisted the movement and placement of heavy equipment resulting in the cancellation of the construction of two dams on the Kruščica river. This action helped to preserve and safeguard the Kruščica river, an important source of water and resources for the village of Kruščica and approximately 145,000 inhabitants of the two nearby towns, from being irreversibly damaged by the construction of the dams.

In 2017, Maida co-founded the Eko Bistro citizens' association and became a volunteer board member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina River Coalition, which represents 30 environmental groups from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The resistance put up by the group of women resulted in the cancellation, in December 2018, of construction of two proposed dams on the river. The Kruščica river is an essential resource for the Kruščica village and the nearby towns, and the construction of the dams would have had a significant and negative impact on the ecosystem and the local community.

Bilal and the other protesters faced numerous challenges during the blockade, including harassment and intimidation from police and investors. In recognition of her efforts, Maida has received numerous awards and recognition. In 2018, she was named a "Champion of the Earth" by the United Nations Environment Programme, and in 2021, she received the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Maida Bilal on advaya