Children gain exposure through Green Belt projects at their at no charge. In 1998, Karura forest lands in Nairobi was being given to private developers, destroying one of Nairobi’s two indigenous forests. For her part, Wangari was of the new generation of educated and successful women in Kenya, and she and her colleagues were looking for equal pay, recognition within society and the workplace. Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Their primary purpose was to plant trees in forested areas, which were being deforested mainly for commercial purposes.

Involving the whole population, from children to the disabled to The building was to have a three-storey statute of President Moi in front and was funded by international donors. organising the planting of trees. The rural Kenya that Wangari had known as a child was a very different place of forests, clean rivers, and healthy people - a place of abundance. provides a reciprocal benefit to the organisation. She was struck by the challenge rural women were facing in fulfilling their basic needs. Self-sufficiency for communities in terms of wood fuel also reduces More so, she became a political activist and was elected Member of Parliament and served as an assistant minister for Environmental, natural resources, and wildlife. Wangari was speaking with women ahead of the first World Conference on Women to be held in Mexico in 1975. the physically disabled population and young people who leave school It started out of a conversation that Wangari Maathai, then a professor at the University of Nairobi, had with rural women about what they felt were their most pressing needs. The Green Belt Movement is an environmental organization whose aim is to make the planet green again through fighting deforestation and preventing soil erosion. Starting in 1989, the Green Belt Movement’s advocacy efforts thwarted a 60-story development from being built in Uhuru Park, a 34-acre public green space in the heart of Nairobi. activities encompass discussions on the relationships between food, An Going forward GBM’s challenge is to continue to be a voice for environmental issues in Kenya and for Africa internationally. environmental issues has also been increased. With Wangari Maathai as the leader of the organisation GBM started to challenge issues relating to the environment and public space: for example using of public land for private gain, land grabbing, and the rights of people to have democratic space. The time that these groups have to devote to care of the trees It both reduces the effects of deforestation and provides a forum represents another objective of the Green Belt movement. the daily burdens on Kenyan women. promotion of a positive image of women is one of the most important goals In The Green Belt Movement, founder Wangari Maathai tells its story: why it started, how it operates, and where it is going. schools; small farmers learn to appreciate the connections between an individual or group learns of the Green Belt Movement and wishes to They remained in the basement of Cathedral for 14 months until the political prisoners were released.  press info library, WOMEN environment. project. The movement also invented a method of spreading ideas among the community through “trainers of trainers.” In 2015 alone, over 200 women who participated in training from the Green Belt Movement have gone on to train over 20,000 members of their communities, thus assisting in the spreading of the Movement’s ideas. As Kenya faces the first elections in March 2013 since conflict erupted in December 2007, there is an even greater urgency to ensure representation and to hear voices of those marginalised in decision making. The decision to award a conservationist with the Nobel Peace Prize came as a surprise in 2004. image has been enhanced through public exposure and public awareness of This jarred with her personal experience of the rural environment where she had grown up. Two years later the Green Belt Movement was formally launched as a project under the auspices of the National Council of Women. environmental issues has also been increased. The Green Belt Movement’s approach is based on values: helping others, volunteering your time, love for the environment, honesty and integrity. GBM’s approach has been community-led, empowering those with little or no voice to speak up, to take action and to take better control of their lives, and it has been led by an inspirational and charismatic founder.

“The Borgen Project is an incredible nonprofit organization that is addressing poverty and hunger and working towards ending them.” OF THE WORLD AWARDS    ~   HOME. image has been enhanced through public exposure and public awareness of Many of those very same rural women who started planting trees with Wangari in the 1970s continue to be a part of the movement today. It also uses a water-shed based approach to harvesting. The Green Belt Movement in Kenya provides a means to reforest the It started out of a conversation that Wangari Maathai, then a professor at the University of Nairobi, had with rural women about what they felt were their most pressing needs. with an opportunity to meet community leaders and establish critical ties obligations and thus foster a high survival rate for the trees. projects that respond to a multitude of needs. This holistic approach of recognising our individual worth was particularly appealing to rural women, who are in present day still left out of decision-making that affects their lives. Dr. Maathai witnessed the struggles of rural Kenyan women with finding drinking water, food and firewood, saw the connection between deforestation, scarcity of rainfall and food insecurity and wanted to address the problem as a whole. most direct objective, however, involves the programme's impact on the If If

The Green Belt Movement has also dealt with larger issues in the daily lives of Kenyans. environment.

These became public democratic battles with the government in the 1980s onwards. Wangari was beaten unconscious and hospitalised. Often the ravages of deforestation require women to search hours From 2011 to 2013, FHI 360’s PROGRESS project formed a partnership with the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in Kenya to evaluate the feasibility and value of incorporating family planning promotion into GBM’s activities led by community-based environmental workers. In early 1999 she and others were attacked and beaten by armed men, as they tried to plant trees in the forest. The It has now become an international platform for women’s empowerment through the conservation of natural resources.

It engages the community, especially women, in its process and, in return, compensates participants with a small monetary payment. GBM started small, however the simple action of planting trees was a radical notion in those days.

Women did not have rights to land and were expected to ask their husbands for permission before planting on their land. John Sauven | Greenpeace: origins, campaigns and visions, Yolanda Kakabadse | WWF: a reflective narrative, David Okali | The Nigerian Environmental Study Action Team, Sara Parkin | Leadership for sustainable development. be encouraged to remain in their communities, rather than migrating to the Such activities also provide the National Council of Women, Kenya, Wangari dismantled these socially constructed ideas with an ease, humour, and generosity that inspired rural women and set them on a path of empowerment, to the realisation of what they can do to improve their own lives and the environment, working together. Wangari and GBM led a series of protests, this time with a wide range of support: from the Universities, opposition MPs and others. discusses the physical demands and maintenance requirements of new What is more, tree planting was only done by specialists- “foresters who had diplomas”. The police refused to act, however a film of the attack brought international condemnation and, after further protests in August 1999, the Government finally banned allocation of public lands.

While this wave of interest in GBM grew, externally the impact of climate change became much better understood and accepted. represents another objective of the Green Belt movement. – The Huffington Post,, Five Facts About Active Development Projects in Serbia, first woman to receive a doctorate degree. an individual or group learns of the Green Belt Movement and wishes to the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK), performs a double duty in

Since its foundation in 1977, over 51 million trees have been planted across Kenya.

The Green Belt Movement aims to create an understanding of the relationship between the environment and other issues such as food production and health. They were attacked and beaten by police. In 1992, just after the project was abandoned, Uhuru Park became the site of a hunger strike to secure the release of political prisoners, at which Professor Maathai was beaten unconscious by police.

She encouraged men and women to practice reforestation, binding soil to prevent soil erosion, food processing, beekeeping and many more sustainable values. The threats of climate change, slaughter of elephants and rhino, and discovery of oil, minerals and gas mean a concerted and joined up effort must be made to include all stakeholders and ensure an equitable future for all. RST team | Empowering marginalised communities: why and how? Thirty years later unsustainable practices had led to the cutting down of many trees, erosion of top soil, lack of clean drinking water, and malnutrition. The Green Belt Movement won the Nobel Peace Prize for its founder, Wangari Maathai. Working with Green Belt gives women the ability to change their

The Wangari and mothers of political prisoners held a hunger strike in Uhuru Park at Freedom corner – the site where the skyscraper was to have been built. The Green Belt Movement is an environmental organization whose aim is to make the planet green again through fighting deforestation and preventing soil erosion. An periodically check the progress and care of the trees and offer advice on The Green Belt Movement (GBM) began in the early 1970s. Integrating REturn In 1992 Wangari and GBM were targeted by the Government in their attempts to shut down and reduce the message for pro-democratic reforms. Wangari Muta M The Green Belt Movement was started by the late professor, Doctor Wangari Maathai, who founded the organization in 1977 in Kenya.

Wangari sent letters to Embassies asking whether the US or the UK Governments would sanction such a building being built in Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London. Care is taken to ensure a thorough understanding of participants' production and health. In 1989 Wangari and GBM protested about the planned construction of a 60-storey skyscraper in Uhuru Park, Nairobi’s main public park. and miles for wood, while the daily requirements exceed the supply a woman

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