Wangari Maathai finally recognised at home as Nyeri county erects her monument

The statute of Nobel Peace Prize winner the late Wangari Maathai/ NYERI COUNTY GOVERNMENT

The County Government of Nyeri has constructed the statute of Nobel Peace Prize winner the late Wangari Maathai.

The statue has been erected at the Nyeri Heroes Park’ popularly known as the Nyeri Cultural Centre is in progress.

The monument is near the Department of Public Works offices in Nyeri town.

Maathai, who hailed from Nyeri County, was renowned for her environmental conservation efforts that earned her the coveted Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, becoming the first woman from Africa to win the award.

“A hall at the centre is also complete and furnished with 500 seats and a stage among other facilities. The centre will be largely used by artists to build on their talents. This is expected to boost tourist attraction in the county,” the county government said in a statement on Monday June 29.

The statute of Nobel Peace Prize winner the late Wangari Maathai/ NYERI COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Governor Mutahi Kahiga, who toured the site, said the five-acre land will be an ideal space for people to use as a relaxation park.

Maathai was also the Environment Assistant Minister in the Mwai Kibaki Government and Tetu MP.

She succumbed to ovarian cancer on September 25, 2011.

In 2012, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests CPF, an international consortium of 14 organizations, secretariats and institutions working on international forest issues, launched the inaugural Wangarĩ Maathai Forest Champion Award. The 2012 inaugural winner of the Award was Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

The same year, the Wangarĩ Gardens was opened in Washington, DC. The 2.7 acre community garden project for local residents consists of over 55 garden allotments. It  honours the legacy of Maathai and her mission for community engagement and environmental protection.

The following year on September 25, 2013 – two years after her death – the Wangarĩ Maathai Trees and Garden was dedicated on the lawn of the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.

The memorial includes two red maples symbolizing Maathai’s “commitment to the environment, her founding of the Green Belt Movement, and her roots in Kenya and in Pittsburgh”.

Within it is a flower garden that represents her “global vision and dedication to the women and children of the world” with an ornamental maple tree in the middle signifying “how one small seed can change the world”.

Maathai formed the Green Belt Movement, a non-governmental organization that pushes for environment conservation.

She was on numerous occasions arrested and harassed by the Daniel Moi regime as she fought attempts to grab recreation public land and forests.

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