Wangari Muta Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, is an activist for environmental conservation, democracy, and women's rights; a professor; and a former Kenyan parliamentarian. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work as a political advocate who helped combat poverty and deforestation by organizing women to plant millions of trees.

Maathai was born on April 1, 1940, the third of six children, along with several half siblings, in a small village near Nyeri, Kenya. Her parents were subsistence farmers who belonged to the largest ethnic group in Kenya at the time, the Kikuyu. Maathai's father and his four wives moved their family to Nakuru in 1943 to live on land owned by a European settler, who employed Maathai's father as a ...

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