• The Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Maathai, the renowned woman who fought for Africa’s Environment in a bid to sustain it and alleviate poverty will be immortalized, thanks to a novel project by the Wangari Maathai Foundation.

    Wangari Maathai Foundation (WMF), was established early last year under the flagship drive, Green Belt Movement (GBM), founded by Prof Maathai back in 1977.

    Now, the foundation is set to establish The Wangari Muta Maathai House (WMH) to commemorate the works and contributions of the departed 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

    Planned to be completed in five years, the WMH, will house Maathai’s works and awards including the Nobel Peace Prize, books, iconic images and photos, lectures, speeches, wardrobe and the story of the “humming bird” that she so loved to recount.

    The monument, a multi-purpose complex will be situated near Giraffe Centre in Langata, some thirty-minutes from the Capital, Nairobi. This will also act as the final resting place for Maathai whose ashes are currently with the family members.

    Attracting nature lovers and students of life 

    According to WMF, the monument is expected to attract global lovers of nature who would like to learn much more about the environmental activist. It is targeted to also appeal to change agents, researchers and thought leaders from across the world.

    Last week at State House, the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta received the designs of the project from the WMH Board members. She praised the project saying that it is a great initiative where people both local and visitors can “experience peace and serenity when complete.”

    In addition to archiving her work, WMH will incorporate spaces for democratic discourses. Maathai was a believer and a fighter for democracy and development.

    The laureate, the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, as well as become chair of the department of veterinary anatomy and an associate professor will be remembered for her success as an activist, environmentalist, elder, politician and a mother.

    Once completed, WMH hopes to inculcate such values as peace, transparency, accountability, honesty, tolerance and love for the environment in a way that would include addressing social ills such as poverty and disempowerment.

    Board members also believe that the project will provide a “center for students of all ages to learn about the connections between democracy, peace, and the environment.”