Wangari Maathai

Lateefah Fatunbi

Wangari Maathai was born on April 1, 1940 in Nyeri, Kenya. She obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas in 1964, a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1966, and pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, before obtaining a Ph.D. in 1971 from the University of Nairobi, where she also taught veterinary anatomy. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, Professor Maathai became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977. 
Wangari  Maathai was an internationally renowned Kenyan environmental political activist and Nobel laureate. The Green Belt Movement organises women in rural Kenya to plant trees, combat deforestation, restore their main source of fuel for cooking, generate income, and stop soil erosion. Wangari Maathai has incorporated advocacy and empowerment for women, eco-tourism, and just economic development into the Green Belt Movement. Wangari Maathai was awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her “contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace”. She became the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win the prize.