Dr. Wangari Maathai – Africa’s First Nobel Laureate And The Mother  Of The Green Belt Movement

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Wangari Maathai

It is worth remembering that a similar thing happened when a tribal woman  became the first in Africa to get a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.  It was Wangari Muta Maathai from Kenya who got this honor. 

Wangari was born in a small village named Inithe in Nyerere Dist. of Kenya. She  studied in the United States earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from Mount  St Scholastically, Kansas, and a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Anatomy  from the University of Pittsburgh under the Kennedy Airlift  Programme.

Wangari went on to become the first woman in East & Central Africa to earn a PhD from the University of Nairobi in 1971 where she taught veterinary anatomy. She became a Chair of the Department in1977.

She was  the Chairman of National Council of Women of Kenya in1987. She founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in 1977. This was a pioneering initiative as it encouraged women to plant trees. In1986 the GBM established a  Pan African Green Belt Network. Today thousands of members of this Network are carrying out the programme of ecological preservation with the latest methods of plantation.

Prof Wangari became a MP of Kenya. She initiated legislation for environmental protection. She became a proponent of Mottainai, a Japanese method of waste – reduction after she visited that country. 

Dr Wangari has written a number of books on various topics including politics and eco-balance. She was awarded several prizes and honorary doctorates by many Institutes & Universities for her path-breaking work. She was made a Nobel Laureate for Peace in 2004 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Thus Dr Wangari  became the first African woman to get the Nobel Peace Prize.

This extraordinary genius, born on 1st April,1940, passed away on25 September, 2011 at Nairobi. A Wangari Garden was opened in Washington DC in her memory in 2012.In 2015 UNESCO published a graphic novel called Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement as  a part of their UNESCO series on women in African history.

Dr Wangari was honored with the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize in 2012. In 2016 a road was named after her in Nairobi. 

Some of her books are : 1.The Green Belt Movement-Sharing the Approach & the Experience 

                                        2.Unbowed : A Memoir 

                                        3.RaiWater Harvesting

                                        4.The Challenge of Africa

                                        5.Refreshing the Earth.

Govind Tekale

Govind is a retired teacher, but he always had a passion for current affairs and general knowledge. With a history of love/addiction for reading, Govind has switched to writing as a way to express his ideas and share essential information.

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