Wangari Maathai (1940–2011) was a Kenyan scholar and environmental activist. She founded the pioneering Green Belt Movement in 1977, which encourages people, particularly women, to plant trees to combat environmental degradation.

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What does ‘NGO’ stand for?

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NGOS are independent from government, act in the wider public interest, and are often concerned with vulnerable and marginalized people or the protection of the environment.

Which of the following are consequences of deforestation?

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After a landslide, centuries are required before enough topsoil gathers to be able to support new plant life.

To date, approximately how many trees has the Green Belt Movement planted in Kenya?

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And counting!

What is ‘land-grabbing’?

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Land-grab contracts are usually shrouded in secrecy, and often involve the forced evictions of local people.

In which ways did tree-planting help the environment?

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Tree-planting also reduced the distance women had to walk in search of firewood, provided women with shade, and enhanced the beauty of their surroundings.

What did Wangari Maathai mean by a ‘holistic approach’ to education?

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Wangari Maathai played a pioneering role in drawing attention to the connections between the environment, democracy and gender inequality. Her educational methods targeted people with little access to formal education, such as rural women.

How did teaching in local languages assist the Green Belt Movement?

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Speaking the relevant local languages is essential for the successful implementation and growth of any project.

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What does ‘NGO’ stand for? Non-governmental organization
What is ‘land-grabbing’? The selling-off of public land by government officials
What did Wangari Maathai mean by a ‘holistic approach’ to education? One which attempts to show the linkages between different issues
Which of the following are consequences of deforestation? Erosion, landslides, the destruction of local ecosystems and fuel scarcity
In which ways did tree-planting help the environment? Tree-planting helped to bind the soil, protect watersheds and sustain local ecosystems
How did teaching in local languages assist the Green Belt Movement? Local people understood fully, and the communities were empowered to act by themselves
To date, approximately how many trees has the Green Belt Movement planted in Kenya? 50,000,000 trees