Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. In 1986, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. In 2011, Maathai died of complications from ovarian cancer.
- Ms Maathai bagged the Nobel Peace Prize, 2004 for her position on rights of women and protection of Kenya’s environment. She was first African woman to win the prize.
- Green Belt Movement, was deep-rooted in protecting the dangerous, counting the poor, in particular women. The movement also required shield of Kenya’s environment prior to increasing to embrace political and economic matters.