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Wangari Maathai

Harambee is my favorite scream. It means ‘all together’ “(Merce Rivas Torres, author of the text)

KENYA, 1940

It was Nobel Vitalist confident Peace Prize 2004., And is the mother of three children and is not only the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (the South African Nadine Gordimer won the Literature in 1991) but also was the first woman in East and Central Africa to get a PhD and a dean at the University of Nairobi. He created the Green Belt (The Green Belt Movement) Movement. In your country call it “the tree woman” Tree Woman.

“Peace on earth depends on our ability to ensure the survival of our environment. Maathai leads fight to promote Africa in Kenya and ecologically viable social, economic and cultural development, “said the jury awarded the Nobel. He added: “His focus on sustainable development embraces democracy, human rights and the rights of women in particular. Think globally and act locally.”

Wangari Maathai received the news while working in front of Mount Kenya, his favorite, and cried remembering the thousands of women who had started in his country for a better life.

After studying at a college of missionary nuns of his people, years later, thanks to a scholarship granted by the Catholic bishop of Nyeri, he moved to the U.S., got a degree in Biology at the University of Kansas, did a Master in Pittsburg and continued his studies in Germany. It was a real insider, considering that he was born in the forties, in a village of the Kikuyu ethnic group who did not have electricity or running water. His childhood was hard and she remembers well when talking about the violence of his polygamous father against his mujeres.Wangari Maathai received the news while working in front of Mount Kenya, his favorite, and cried remembering the thousands of women who had started in his country for a better life.

On his return to Kenya decided to focus its work on the environment and so was getting involved in the fight against poverty and hunger and improving the situation of women.

“I started working as a scientific research applied to food problems, undertook studies on the life cycle of the parasite that is transmitted by ticks and collected samples while I noticed that the rivers were full of silt. That did not happen when I was little. Therefore there was little grass and did not contain the necessary nutrients. The ground did not fulfill their duties. Those women did not have wood to make fire or to raise fences, had no feed for livestock, water for drinking or cooking, or enough food for themselves and their families. Then it became clear that the biggest threat was the degradation of the environment. Suddenly it all made sense, “he reflected Wangari shortly after reaching land.

“If you go to the field in Africa you will see that it is women who cultivate the land, fetch water, care for children, the elderly. So for me it was natural to work with them, “says Wangari. “My initial idea was to plant trees to provide firewood to the women, fruits and building materials for their homes. But what happened, “he further explains,” is that the needs described by women were actually symptoms of other problems such as deforestation or the particular situation of women and thus went deeper into issues such as environmental degradation, malnutrition, disease. I realized that, although they look different problems are connected.”

And those discoveries and great inner strength led to the creation in 1977 the Green Belt (The Green Belt Movemet) Movement. The women involved in this movement in Kenya have planted over 30 million trees. Many other countries have tried to imitate their initiative more or less luck.

Married in the seventies, their marriage lasted ten years, since her husband got a divorce for “being too polite, too much character, too successful, too stubborn to be controlled.” The judge fully agreed with the husband. Therefore, it became solely responsible for the education of his three children.

A tireless crusader liked this remind the foreman of the jury of the Nobel Prize in 2006 when he stated solemnly that we are all witnesses ” how deforestation and forest retreat have caused desertification in Africa and threatening other regions of the world , including Europe ” . He added: “Through education , family planning , nutrition and the fight against corruption, the Green Belt Movement has paved the way for development work locally. We believe that Maathai is a strong voice speaking on behalf of the most valuable human resources of Africa to promote peace and good living conditions . ” Maybe that led to the first democratic government of Kenya as Assistant Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife . He was elected to Parliament with 98 % of the vote in the first free elections in his country and began his work with great enthusiasm . Its aim was to influence from within the government ideals she had and to make laws that could leave a better country for their children. But political experience left a little frustrated and decided to return back to his work on the Green Belt Movement.

Wangari has faced in more than one occasion with what she calls “concrete jungles” or politicians who preferred to build large hotels illegally instead of thinking about the power of the citizens of the area. To these are often called in Kenya “land thieves”.

Wangari ‘s movement has also shown that tree planting by no money, no technology is required , simply mobilize citizens , in this case women. “I asked them ,” says Wangari , ” what problems do they have? And the answer was: ‘ We are poor , we suffer many diseases and malnutrition, we are hungry, we pay very little for our products , we have no water. ” And then insisted : ‘ Where do you think similar problems coming ? ‘ . Almost without hesitation blamed the Government but I told them that the government was not the only culprit , they should demand a better government , of course , but I said, ‘ well , you have the land but not you protect . You allow soil erosion will gain ground . You hungry but not cultivate food . You have chosen exotic crops do not grow well in your land and are not very nutritious. So you have to do something. ‘” And the cry of Harambee , meaning “all together ” , began the action that it never stops.