The Kiisi Trust was established in 2009 as part of a United States Federal Court Settlement. The settlement arose out of a lawsuit against the Royal Dutch Shell Company by survivors and family members of the people who were victims of human rights abuses arising out of Shell’s Nigerian Operations in Ogoniland in Rivers state, Nigeria. The Ogoni Plaintiffs included victims of torture and arbitrary detention as well as the survivors of husbands, brothers and fathers who were summarily executed for their role in protesting the cultural and environmental devastation Shell’s operations in Ogoniland.
The settlement is recognised as a victory for human rights and environmental justice in Nigeria and as a pivotal step towards holding corporations accountable for complicity in human rights violations, wherever they may be committed. At the time of the settlement, the Ogoni plaintiffs released a statement urging “our people to cherish and nourish the Kiisi Trust because it should stand as one legacy of the labours of our heroes past.” The word Kiisi means ''progress'' in Ogoni Language.
The Kiisi Trust Fund is managed as a donor advised fund (DAF) by TrustAfrica on behalf of the Kiisi Trust Fund trustees in Nigeria. The Trust Fund is dedicated to the benefit of the Ogoni people in South-East Nigeria and will focus on initiatives for education, health, community development, educational endowments, skills development, agricultural development, women’s programmes, small enterprise support, and adult literacy. The Trust Fund will administer a community-based approach to its work to process, identify and assess potential grantees, develop grant dockets for approval, and conduct monitoring and evaluation on grantees.