Women We Love || Wanjira Maathai: Leading the Charge for a Greener Africa

Wanjira Maathai stands at the forefront of the battle for a sustainable and green future in Africa. With an extensive experience and an impressive track record, she has become a driving force in the fight against climate change and environmental degradation.

Wanjira’s journey is deeply rooted in her mother’s legacy, Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement (GBM). Since its inception in 1977, GBM has played a pivotal role in tree planting, land restoration, and empowering communities across Kenya.

Wanjira’s influence goes far beyond local communities; she has been a key player on the global stage. In her role as Vice President and Regional Director for Africa at the World Resources Institute (WRI), she has strategically elevated the discourse on crucial issues like climate change, sustainable energy, and landscape restoration.

One of Wanjira’s notable contributions has been her focus on innovative approaches to address environmental challenges. Her leadership at Women Entrepreneurs in Renewables (wPOWER) underscores her commitment to fostering sustainable energy solutions and empowering women in the process.

Wanjira’s impact is not only measured by her numerous titles but also by her recognition as one of the 100 Most Influential African Women in 2018, 2020, and 2021. Time’s acknowledgment in 2023 as one of the 100 most influential people echoes the magnitude of her influence on the global stage.

At the core of Wanjira’s approach lies the African concept of ubuntu—our shared humanity. This philosophy underlines her belief that collective action is the key to changing the world. By bringing people together, she has catalyzed efforts to restore land, livelihoods, and communities.

In her current role as Managing Director for Africa at WRI and Chief Africa Adviser to the Bezos Earth Fund, Wanjira is steering NGO and philanthropic efforts toward climate-vulnerable places and communities. Her focus on restoring 100 million hectares of African land aligns with her commitment to practical, impactful solutions.

Wanjira Maathai is proof of the power of leadership grounded in action. Her weapons—sharp analysis, a love for people, irresistible persuasion, and a contagious smile—underscore her ability to navigate both rural communities and international forums. As she continues to fight for justice and the future of Africa, Wanjira’s legacy serves as an inspiration for current and future generations committed to a greener, more sustainable world.

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