The passing of Wangari Maathai is shocking and untimely. Only two weeks ago we expected her here in the San Francisco Bay Area and little did we know that we would never see her again. Wangari’s contribution to global consciousness on the environment, women’s role in providing solutions through tree planting, and her leadership in making a difference to the political as well as social systems of Kenya will never be forgotten. The Global Fund for Women joins the world in the mourning of a heroine, and we celebrate her co-founding of our grantee and sister organization Nobel Women’s Initiative, whom we have had the privilege of supporting and partnering with since 2006.
"Mrs. Maathai, one of the most famous and widely respected women on the [African] continent, wore many hats — environmentalist, feminist, politician, professor, rabble-rouser, human rights advocate and head of the Green Belt Movement she founded. She was as comfortable in the gritty streets of Nairobi’s slums or the muddy hillsides of central Kenya as she was hobnobbing with heads of state. In 2004, she won the Nobel Peace Prize, with the Nobel committee citing 'her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.' It was a moment of immense pride in Kenya and across Africa."
Read "Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dies at 71" in The New York Times.
Listen to a 2006 interview with Wangari Maathai on KPFA radio.
Read more about Wangari Maathai and The Green Belt Movement.