Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. In 1986, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace".

“She was my heroine, a global inspiration, and a true Kenyan warrior… She would talk of complex environmental issues with a hearty laugh and a deep understanding of their impact on ordinary lives”, said Joseph Kabiru, her friend and journalist specialising on African issues.  To learn more about Wangari and her achievements, read this heartwarming article by Kabiru, where he writes fondly of her impact and her lifetime of environmental campaigning.

At The Basket Room, we look up to Wangari Maathai for her strong female voice, perseverant till the end. Her own campaign recognised the dilemma facing poor communities with their own basic needs- and this acts as a constant reminder to us on how we carry out our own work on the ground with our various weaving collectives around Kenya.

Today, 17th September, we ask you to share how you've been inspired to make a difference in the world, whether by Wangari Maathai or just by something else close to your heart. We ask you to post a photo of yourself on social media, perhaps even holding a placard, and tag the post with "#mylittlething is...(insert your 'little thing')”.

At The Basket Room, we’re inspired by Maathai in her support of women’s rights, so we're kicking things off with… “#mylittlething is supporting women in enterprise!”

Please direct these posts below. Looking forward to seeing what your 'little thing' is!

Instagram: @wangari_maathai

Twitter: @wangarimaathai

Facebook: @ProfWangariMaathai


mike n nyaga said:

My tribute is this poem that I wrote some years back.

You there!
Going nowhere,
That you call somewhere,
Stand there where you are,
Look at that over there,
That is what she saw,

The great green lady,
Saw it and was ready,
To fight for all seasons,
With big and small reasons,
That you there can’t see,
With your myopic,
Money wise logic,
That is why it looks like magic,
To you there,
Going nowhere,
That you call somewhere,

This lady,
In a wedding like no other,
She got married to trees,
During the wedding,
With her green smiles,
She saw many miles,
With her great green heart,
She floored a fatal political heat,
With her glittering green shoes,
She walked the parks,
With her green passionate pen,
She told the state the green truth,
With her tough green tongue,
She sung sweet green songs,
With all her green brains,
She vanquished the fiery non greens,

Nature is very unforgiving,
She went out preaching,
A gospel so enriching,
Repeating so against their cheating,
Unforgiving yet so kind and giving,
Razor sharp Wangari Muta,
Braved up the green matter,
Demanding a real green law,
To maintain nature in the raw,
Life and beauty not to throw,

Kind wise green Wangari,
Fought like a motherly lioness,
To protect the orphaned trees,
She was fearless,
Facing our blind wise kings,
Out to kill our gleeful greens,
To plant tall towers of all times,
So she fought!

The green motherly professor fought,
For the sake of dear trees,
She had kilos of bitterness,
To kill their ruthlessness,
That rapes our green babies,
Which she dearly coveted,
That they dearly rejected,

She fought hard,
To save what we had,
They called her names,
Woman that and mad this,
But she was deaf to their shouts,
All she had were green visions,
Which she made her major missions,
Let us all walk her talks,
A million miles of seedlings,
A billion ways to trillion riches,
Green today,
Keeping tomorrow,
And always!

Nyaga Mike N

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