All posts tagged: Green Belt Movement

Wangari Maathai’s Legacy: The official Laying of the Foundation Stone Ceremony

No comments

The wPOWER Hub team, led by the Director, Wanjira Mathai today joined H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta in making history by laying the foundation stone at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies ‘Green Campus’, in a colourful ceremony that was presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences(CAVS), Upper Kabete Campus, University of Nairobi.

The ‘Green Campus’ will host the wPOWER Hub, and continue to play an important role in championing evidence-based policy-making and forging strong working relationships with knowledge institutions through action learning processes which will help mitigate risk in the energy sector innovation.
The Wangari Maathai Institute has been instrumental in supporting the wPOWER Hub to continue its focus on making the case for the role of women in clean energy entrepreneurship.
In his Speech, Hon. Kenyatta paid a glowing tribute to the late Prof. Wangari Maathai for her relentless work and passion to care for the environment. “I am encouraged to learn that this Institute is already playing a critical role in reducing conflicts in communities by involving women in green energy technology, and in environmental conservation,” said the President.

The Institute, that is set to be completed mid next year is designed to give an expression of the vision of Wangari Maathai for democratic space, sustainable and accountable management and cultures of peace. The Institute aims to create a culture of peace through transformational leadership in environmental governance.
The cost of construction of phase I of the WMI is at KES 600m and is supported by the government of Kenya, the African Union through African Development Bank and the UoN. The President reaffirmed the government’s commitment to support the project up to its completion.

Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies will train students from the whole African continent on environmental issues. The campus will as well play a key role in shaping democracy and peace building initiatives.

The ceremony was well represented in attendance by representatives from the Government of Kenya, University of Nairobi, Green Belt Movement and well wishers.

Wangari Maathai was awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace”.

DorothyWangari Maathai’s Legacy: The official Laying of the Foundation Stone Ceremony
read more

4th Wangari Maathai Memorial

wPOWER Hub partners, Green Belt Movement led approximately 500 community members,partners,family and friends of Professor Wangari Muta Maathai,to a people’s march from Jeevanjee Gardens to Uhuru Park,on 25th September 2015,to encourage communities to raise their voices on climate change and the natural environment. The walk was to mark the fourth memorial anniversary of Professor Wangari Maathai.

The memorial brought together a diverse group of Kenyans and international friends to celebrate Prof. Maathai’s life and her outstanding achievements in environmental conservation, sustainable development, democracy and peace.

IMG_4239Professor Vertistine B.Mbaya, GBM Board member

In reminiscing her experiences with Prof Maathai,Professor Vertistine B.Mbaya, GBM Board member,recalled a time when they were being chased by police,to a cathedral,during their protests,when she asked Prof.Maathai,’Who do you think they are after?’ Prof.Maathai answered,’Us’.

Speaking during the celebrations,Wanjira Mathai,wPOWER Hub Director and Chair of the Green Belt Movement said that Prof Maathai was persistent,patient and humble in her fight for environmental justice.She mentioned the three legacies of Wangari Maathai as being,the foundation of the Green Belt Movement,the Wangari Maathai Institute at the University of Nairobi and finally the soon to be launched Wangari Muta Maathai Foundation.

‘Wherever you go after this,remember to plant a tree,if not,plant something as your commitment to climate change’.said Wanjira Mathai.

Prof.Wangari Maathai is remembered for her unwavering commitment to environmental protection, conservation and community development.

Click here to view gallery

IMG_4248 IMG_4107 IMG_4159


Dorothy4th Wangari Maathai Memorial
read more

wPOWER Hub Releases the 2013/14 Annual Report!

Dear friend,

It is our pleasure to present the 2013/2014 wPOWER Hub Annual Report. In addition to the successful establishment of the wPOWER Hub at the Wangari Maathai Institute (WMI), University of Nairobi (UON), we would like to report a number of strategic events that are highlighted in the report and have taken place within the year.

We are working closely with our partners, Green Belt Movement (GBM), MacArthur Foundation, the Global Alliance for Clean Cook stoves, CARE International, Solar Sister, Women for Women International and the Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) India, to build the evidence base on women’s leadership in clean energy and climate change.

While not the primary source of climate pollution, inefficient lighting and cooking contribute negatively to climate change, personal health and the degradation of natural resources. We are proud of the strides we made this year in working to unlock the largely untapped potential of women in raising awareness of the interconnection between climate change and inefficient cooking and lighting systems.

The wPOWER Hub at the WMI will continue in the next year, to promote access and awareness of best practices on clean energy technologies through training and exchange visits.

We sincerely thank you, for your support and confidence in our work, and would like to invite you to read more about us on our website:

Click here to download the wPOWER Hub Annual Report 2013/14

Thank you.

Wanjira Mathai, MBA/MPH                                                        Prof.Kiama Gitahi,PhD

Project Director,wPOWER Hub                                                  Director,Wangari Maathai



DorothywPOWER Hub Releases the 2013/14 Annual Report!
read more

Bamboo Biomass: An Overlooked Energy Resource

By wPOWER Hub Communications Globally, at least three billion people rely on solid fuels for cooking, causing serious environmental and health impacts that disproportionately affect women and children.

UN statistics indicate that in Kenya, at least 14,300 women die every year from inhaling the gases.

Burning these fuels on rudimentary stoves or three-stone fires creates a dangerous cocktail of pollutants that can kill.

Bamboo biomass energy has great potential to be an alternative for fossil fuel. It can be processed in various ways (thermal or biochemical conversion) to produce different energy products (charcoal, syngas and biofuels), which can be substitutions for existing fossil fuel products.

The Green Belt Movement in partnership with Waterstone (Norway) has established a bamboo biomass and entrepreneurship project aimed at promoting the planting of indigenous bamboo for: conservation, climate mitigation benefits, fuel source (firewood and charcoal) and economic opportunities through green businesses for and by local communities.

Speaking during the Sustainable Tree- Based Bio energy in Sub- Saharan Africa Workshop at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Samuel Mungai, a Project Officer at the Green Belt Movement said that ‘The opportunity for Bamboo as a source of biomass energy is immense and the biomass benefits of bamboo are impressive ‘.

IMG_0657Samuel Mungai(3rd from right) speaking during the Tree-Based Bioenergy Workshop at the World Agroforestry Centre

The three-day workshop brought together policy makers from Africa and experts from around the world to draft an agenda that would influence energy planning across Africa to include firewood and charcoal in policies and plans.

Click here for the Workshop Findings.

GBM (Green Belt Movement) has allocated 5 acres of land for a pilot, in Murang’a, north of Nairobi in Kenya for the Bamboo Pilot Project. The organization has also trained local women in Maragua on how to make small bamboo products.

BambooWomen display some of the products they make from Bamboo

Bamboo products are used in their homes as well as for sale to community members. The products include: Simple sheds, Toilet structure, Sugar dishes, Kitchen utensils holders. Mashing stick (mwiko), Scooping spoon, Dinner spoons, folks, Soup spoons and teaspoons.

Facts about Bamboo

  • Bamboo absorbs Carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere 3 to 4 times higher than many other trees.
  • One bamboo tree generates plenty of natural oxygen sufficient for more than one human being’s daily requirement
  • Every part of the bamboo is used to make varieties of products.
  • Bamboo can replace the wood for all applications such as paper, flooring, furniture, charcoal, etc.
  • Bamboo effectively cleans the water pollution of the septic tank discharge and factories effluent by its natural affinity for nitrogen, phosphorus and heavy metals.
  • Bamboo enriches the soil naturally and prevents soil erosion.


DorothyBamboo Biomass: An Overlooked Energy Resource
read more

wPOWER Hub at the Wangari Maathai Institute Promotes the Role of Women in Africa, in Clean Energy Solutions

1 comment

New Delhi| April 16th 2015

By wPOWER Hub Communications : The wPOWER Hub at the Wangari Maathai Institute, University of Nairobi, led an African Delegation, comprising 24 members from Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania to attend and participate at the wPOWER Global Partnership Forum 2015, at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on April 16th – 17th.

The forum, jointly organized by The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) was held to create dialogue on the pivotal role played by women in last‐mile distribution of clean energy technologies.

Ms. Wanjira Mathai, Director of the wPOWER Hub, & Chair of the Green Belt Movement (GBM) spoke during the opening plenary and participated in a panel discussion on Leveraging Women’s Leadership & Networks for Inclusive & Sustainable Development. Prof. Kiama Gitahi, Director of the Wangari Maathai Institute, led discussions on – Forging Partnerships and the Role of Institutional stakeholders in strengthening women entrepreneurs, their capacities and networks through multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Other speakers who participated in the forum included Mr. John Beed (USAID Mission Director, India), Ms. Varshajoshi (I.A.S, Joint Secretary (MNRE) Government of India), Ms. Randi Davis (Director, Gender Team, UNDP), Ms. Prema Gopalan (Director, SSP), Ms. Sudha Setty (Country Representative in India for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves) and grassroots women entrepreneurs from Africa and India.

Key Highlights: Day 1

The forum begun with dialogues, deliberations, sharing of experiences and perspectives from high-level experts ranging from policy makers, corporates to grass root clean energy women entrepreneurs on women empowerment, entrepreneurship and reaching clean energy solutions. The delegation also witnessed the Launch of the wPOWER: Connecting the dots – Resource Guide, a knowledge product highlighting the interactive and key elements of the wPOWER project.

1Launch of the wPOWER: Connecting the dots, resource guide. Extreme right, MS Wanjira Mathai, Director wPOWER Hub, Ms. Randi Davis, Director, Gender team, UNDP, Mr., John Beed, Mission Director, USAID India, Ms Varsha Joshi, Joint Secretary Govt of India, Ms.Prema Gopalan, Executive Director Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) and Ms.Trishala Dangre, Sakhi, wPOWER India


Grass root women entrepreneurs from both India and Africa shared their entrepreneurship experiences and insights from their respective fields of operation.

22nd to left Mary Onoja, Care Nigeria, Lillian Muchungi, Green Belt Movement, and inset grass root women entrepreneurs.


Key Highlights: Day 2

The second day of the forum, saw key issues being discussed, among them, creation of partnerships among technology developers, the private sector and women entrepreneurs. Leading in the panelist was the Director, Wangari Maathai Institute, Prof.Kiama Gitahi who emphasized the need to bridge the access and awareness gap for clean energy

, solutions through forging partnerships with key institutions and technology developers.


2nd from left, Prof Kiama Gitahi, Director, Wangari Maathai Institute, Right, Mr.Gautam Morey, CEO Sofomo Embeded Solutions, Left, Atul Mittal.

Prof.Kiama emphasized the need to collaborate and make investments in last mile women networks.

Speaking during the final session of the forum, wPOWER Hub director Wanjira Mathai discussed strategies to advance and scale up the grass roots women’s networks as demonstrated through the wPOWER initiative. Insights of how women networks can effectively be engaged in creating inclusive and sustainable development agenda were also shared.

4Left, Lillian Muchungi, Community Mobilization officer, Green Belt Movement, Godavari Dange, President, Sakhi Federation, Renuka Kumar, MS Wanjira Mathai, Director wPOWER Hub, Chetna Sinha, Founder, Mann Deshi Foundation, MS Randi Davis, Director Gender Team, UNDP, Newyork

 The final session brought both national and international representatives of women’s movements to highlight and share their insights on the potential role of women in inclusive and sustainable development.

The closing plenary session saw the high level representatives from Government of India, USAID India, UNDP India and the Kenya Representatives, agreeing unanimously on the wPOWER global agenda to catalyze the “women in renewable energy” movement through innovative market-based partnership models, affordable innovations and improved access to technology, finance and markets.

The Department of State, together with parallel support from the MacArthur Foundation, financed the creation of a wPOWER Hub at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace & Environmental Studies (WMI), founded by the late Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

wPOWER aims to empower more than 8,000 women clean energy entrepreneurs across East Africa, Nigeria and India who will deliver clean energy access to more than 3.5 million people over the next three years.

Click here for the wPOWER Global Partnership Report




DorothywPOWER Hub at the Wangari Maathai Institute Promotes the Role of Women in Africa, in Clean Energy Solutions
read more