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Karina Perez Jvostova

on 6 April 2011

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Wangari Maathai •A non-profit grassroots non-governmental organization based in Kenya that focuses on “renewal of Kenya’s natural resources” through tree-planting initiatives, civic education and women’s empowerment.

•Uses a holistic approach and views the protection of the global environment is “directly related to securing peace”.
1) What is it? What were the forces driving the creation of this organization? - Colonial and Post-Colonial Deforestation
Resulted in destruction of rural livelihoods

- Political Repression
Silencing of marginalized voices, specifically women and the rural poor Organization’s Structure •Relies mostly on local communities and rural women, who are seen as the backbone of the organization.

•There are many programs:
Tree Planting, a “Women for Change” Program, Civic and Environmental Education, School Environmental Education, Climate Change Adaptations, Watershed Management, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & IT. 2) Tree Planting campaign 3) Social-oriented Programs 3) Conclusions & Criticisms Kenya now Enormous rate of Deforestation -From 30% to less than 2% of forest cover
Drought and water scarcity
Malnutrition and hunger
Diminished soil fertility
Reduced supply of wood (for household use and energy production) In 1977 persuaded women to surround their plots with trees- “the original green belts”

“The objective of this program is to inspire communities to plant indigenous trees on public and private lands in order to rehabilitate degraded areas (…) sites of cultural significance and urban centers” (GBM, 2003)
90% of water

70% electricity Who are involved? •More than 6,000 groups –mainly women
•Occasional collaboration with the army, prisons, school and church groups
10-step Program - CEE seminars about poverty and environmental degradation

- Formation of groups and registration to GBM
Support and advice
Track the progress of the group

- Economic compensation

- List of preferred tree species
Indigenous and imported
Fast-, medium- and slow-growing Results
Over 45 million trees planted
Increased awareness of environmental problems
Poverty alleviation
wood products
Long-run positive effects on microclimate, water quality, land productivity and health Women’s Marginalized Position in Society • Marriage Laws
• Freedom
• Stigma
Women’s Groups •Maendeleo ya Wanawake
•National Commission on the Status of Women
•Kenya Girl Guides Association
•Society of Women and AIDS in Kenya
•National Council of Women in Kenya Civic Education -Emphasizes link between poor governance and environmental degradation
-Seminars on income generating activities (IGAs)
-Healthy lifestyles
HIV/AIDS awareness
Nutrition Women for Change (WfC) - Initiated 2003
- Main objectives
“to assist young girls and women to face the challenges of growing up, making complex decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, and gaining knowledge and skills to protect themselves from HIV and AIDS”

“to facilitate the establishment of income generating activities…for economic self-sufficiency”

“to promote economic empowerment (and) healthy eating habits”

- Held IGA workshops and “Inspirational Seminars” Political Activism • Uhuru Park Demonstration, 1989
• Hunger Strike, 1992
•General change in attitude
•Increased political participation by women
•Increased female education Results - Although inspiring, tree-planting initiatives are not revolutionary and GBM is not a pioneer in that regard.

- Social change and women’s empowerment is difficult to measure, therefore the true benefits of the organization are yet to be fully understood or realized.

- Since the empowerment campaign began in the 1970s, women’s voices have become undeniably more powerful in Kenya, resulting in increased female representation in parliament and female councilors.

- The environmental result has been enormous:
A reduction of soil erosion in critical watersheds, the reforestation of thousands of indigenous and biologically diverse forest, and the resurgence of traditional knowledge of sustainable farming leading to healthier, more productive lives.
It is for these reasons that Green Belt Movement Kenya has become so widely recognized as one of the most influential grassroots movements in Africa and the world. Thank you •High population growth
•80-90% of population lives in rural areas
75% of energy from Biomass –firewood.
•Use of woodland for agriculture
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