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Lilian Seenoi-Barr: Kenyan Makes History As First Black Councillor Elected in The UK

Lilian Seenoi-Barr, a Kenyan-born woman, made history by becoming the first black woman elected as a councillor in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. She was elected to represent the Foyleside area of Derry and Strabane Council. Her victory was celebrated by Narok Senator Ledama Olekina, who congratulated her on Twitter.

Here is the profile of Lilian Seenoi-Barr, a dedicated community advocate, social justice activist, and pioneer in her field as told by WoK.

Early Life

Lilian Seenoi-Barr was born and raised in Mau Narok, Nakuru County, Kenya. Growing up, she witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by marginalized communities and developed a deep sense of empathy and determination to make a difference in their lives.

Education

Lilian Seenoi-Barr pursued her education with a focus on community development and social justice. She attended the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, where she expanded her knowledge and skills in these areas, preparing herself for a career dedicated to uplifting disadvantaged communities.

Career Background

After completing her education, Lilian Seenoi-Barr embarked on a career centered around community empowerment and human rights activism. She co-founded the Maasai Education Discovery-Brides Rescue Project in 1999, an organization committed to rescuing young girls from early forced marriage and female genital mutilation. 

Lilian has over 20 years’ experience of working in the community sector with a focus on human rights and social justice both in Kenya and Northern Ireland.

Through her work, she actively challenged the Kenyan government to enact laws protecting the rights of women and girls and promoting access to education for marginalized communities.

Political Career

Lilian Seenoi-Barr’s passion for creating positive change led her to enter the political arena. She joined the Derry City and Strabane District Council in Northern Ireland, where she became a member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). 

In May 2023, she achieved a significant milestone by being elected as a councillor to represent the Foyleside area. Her election marked a historic moment as the first black person to hold this position in Northern Ireland.

Achievements

Throughout her career, Lilian Seenoi-Barr has been a tireless advocate for the rights of marginalized communities.

She founded the North West Migrants Forum, an organization dedicated to supporting and empowering Black and ethnic minority groups in the region.

Her role as the Director of Programmes at the forum allowed her to champion the rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees, working towards a more inclusive society.

Lilian Seenoi-Barr’s achievements extend beyond her political and advocacy work.

She has been recognized for her contributions to community development, social justice, and human rights, earning respect and admiration from both local and international communities.

Through her pioneering role as the first black councillor in Northern Ireland, Lilian Seenoi-Barr continues to inspire others and pave the way for greater diversity and inclusivity in politics.