Wangari Maathai set up The Green Belt movement in Kenya. While away in the US studying, she was unaware of the environmental damage going on in her beloved Kenya. On her return, she was shocked by the loss of forests, the impoverished soils and the communities struggling to survive with failing crops, no firewood and animals dying. Her response was to mobilise the women of these communities to plant and care for trees and, in doing so, to create futures for themselves. The trees brought shade to benefit plants, animals and people, reduced soil erosion and provided a manageable resource for wood for cooking fires. Communities were able to rebuild from the brink of disaster and achieve sustainability.Maathai was the first African woman to hold a professorship at the University of Nairobi and, in 2004, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Maathai Hall (Purple ribbon)