Wangari Maathai : Nobel Peace Prize winner dies

Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, has died of cancer aged 71, her family said Monday.
Wangari Maathai dies
"It is with great sadness that the family of professor Wangari Maathai announces her passing away on 25th September 2011 at the Nairobi hospital after a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer," said a statement issued via the Green Belt Movement she founded.
Wangari Maathai dies
Maathai became a key figure in Kenya since founding the movement in 1977, staunchly campaigning for environmental conservation and good governance.
Wangari Maathai dies
The first woman in east and central Africa to earn a doctorate, Maathai also headed the Kenya Red Cross in the 1970s.

The award-winning Maathai in recent years founded green groups and launched several campaigns against climate change and environmental protection.
Wangari Maathai dies
Outside Kenya, Maathai was involved in efforts to save central Africa's Congo basin forest, the world's second largest tropical forest.

Maathai, who was divorced, leaves behind three children and a granddaughter.
Wangari Maathai dies
Wangari Maathai, the first African woman recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, died after a long struggle with cancer, the environmental organization she founded said Monday. One of Kenya’s most recognizable women, Maathai won the Nobel in 2004 for combining environmentalism and social activism. She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, where over 30 years she mobilized poor women to plant 30 million trees.
Edward Wageni, that group’s deputy executive director, said Maathai died in a Nairobi hospital late Sunday. Although the Green Belt Movement’s tree planting campaign did not initially address the issues of peace and democracy, Maathai said it become clear over time that responsible governance of the environment was not possible without democracy.

Citizens were mobilized to challenge widespread abuses of power, corruption and environmental mismanagement,” Maathai said.

Tributes poured out for Maathai online, including from Kenyans who remember planting trees alongside her as schoolchildren. Maathai first latched on to the idea of widespread tree planting while serving as the chairwoman of the National Council of Women in Kenya during the 1980s.

Maathai is survived by her three children. Funeral arrangements were to be announced soon, the Green Belt Movement said.
Kenyan environmentalist and the 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner Wangari Muta Maathai has died while undergoing treatment at the Nairobi Hospital.

Maathai leaves behind three children Waweru, Wanjira, Muta and a granddaughter, Ruth Wangari.

Maathai was an elected Member of Parliament and served as an Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources in President Mwai Kibaki’s government between January 2003 and November 2005.

The late Maathai was born in Ihithe, near Nyeri, in the Central Highlands of Kenya on April 1, 1940.

In the 1970s Maathai became active in a number of environmental and humanitarian organisations in Nairobi, including the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK).

Maathai suggested to them that planting trees might be an answer. Maathai’s fearlessness and persistence resulted in her becoming one of the best-known and most respected women in Kenya. Maathai’s commitment to a democratic Kenya never faltered. In 2004 Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work for sustainable development, democracy, and peace-the first African woman and the first environmentalist to receive this honour.

In announcing the award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said “ Maathai stands at the front of the fight to promote ecologically viable social, economic and cultural development in Kenya and in Africa.”

In 2006 Maathai co-founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative with five of her fellow women peace laureates to advocate for justice, equality, and peace worldwide.

In 2006 Maathai joined with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to launch a campaign to plant a billion trees around the world.

In 2010, Maathai became a trustee of the Karura Forest Environmental Education Trust.

That same year, in partnership with the University of Nairobi, she established the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies (WMI).

Honours received by Maathai