Wangari Maathai, 1940 – 2011

Wangari Maathai

Gaia started working with Professor Wangari Maathai in 1985, when her organisation, the Green Belt Movement, was taking root in Kenya. Wangari challenged government projects which involved large scale deforestation, but her resistance attracted great opposition and in 1992 Wangari and a number of rural women were beaten and imprisoned.

Gaia stood by Wangari and upon her release provided the Green Belt Movement with its first fax machine, opening up international communication. The movement has enabled women across Kenya to plant over 30 million trees and improve their food security.

Wangari was the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is celebrated internationally as one of the most influential women in Africa’s history. She passed away in 2011 and her daughter Wanjira continues her work.

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