Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya, on April 1, 1940 and died in Nairobi, September 25, 2011 at the age of 71 years.
She is an environmental and political activist. In 2004, she became the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the contributions she has made in the fields of sustainable development, democracy and peace.
She also served as a member of the Kenyan Parliament and served as Assistant Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources during the reign of President Mwai Kibaki, between January 2003 and November 2005.
Dr. Maathai himself was born in Desai Ihithe, Tetu Division, Nyeri District, Kenya, which is a family within the Kikuyu ethnicity. She successfully obtained a bachelor's degree in biology from Benedictine College, Atchison in 1964 and resumed at the University of Pittsburgh before she returned to Nairobi.
Meanwhile, at the University of Nairobi, she earned her first Ph.D. for women from East Africa in veterinary medicine. She also became a lecturer of animal anatomy at the university, until at the end of 1971 became dean.
Right in 2002, she managed to get a position as Visiting Fellow at the Yale University Advanced University for Forestry Advanced Institute.
|Wangari Maathai, via notenoughgood.com|
In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement, a non-governmental grassroots organization with a goal of ensuring a source of firewood support and preventing soil erosion. The campaign has succeeded in mobilizing poor women and planting more than 30 million trees to date.
Indeed, over the years, illegal logging has resulted in reduced fresh water, firewood and declining soil quality.
Maathai can easily motivate mothers of malnourished children to collect seeds, dig wells, and keep seedlings from various animals and humans. Because of the services she has done, she earned the title Mama Miti (Mother of the Tree).
Subsequently, from 1976 to 1987, Maathai was active in Kenya's National Council for Women, Mendeleo Ya Wanawake, led by him between 1981 and 1987. The Blue Belt Movement, appeared at the same time, which further campaigned on education and nutrition issues. Herself managed to create a new challenge, for example, as a member of the United Nations Disarmament Advisory Council.
In the regime of Daniel Arap Moi, she was arrested several times and even under attack because of her demands for multiparty elections, the eradication of corruption and ending tribal politics.
Included in the struggle that has been done is to save the existing Uhuru Park in Nairobi in 1989 from the construction of business complex Kenya Times Media Trust by Moi partners. Exactly in 1997, she launched a campaign to run for the presidency of Kenya but lost because her political party withdrew from the presidential nomination.
In December 2002, Maathai was elected a Kenyan Parliament member with 98% of the vote. In 2003, he was also appointed as an Assistant Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife. In the same year, in 2003, she managed to establish Mazingira Green Party of Kenya.
In addition to winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Maathai also received several other awards, such as:
- Right Livelyhood Award (1983)
- Woman of the Year Award (1983)
- Woman of the World Award (1989)
- Africa Prize (1991)
- Petra Kelly, of the German Heinrich Boll Foundation (2004)
- Obtained 3 honorary doctorates from the United States and Norway