Her tireless efforts to save the environment and promote women's rights won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 – making her the first African woman to be honoured with one.
She was born and raised within a farming family in Kenya but showed academic talent at an early age while being educated by Catholic missionaries.
Wangari Maathai's studies took her to the US and Germany before she returned home to become the first Kenyan woman to receive a doctorate. She developed an appetite for political activism, campaigning against corruption and human rights abuses under the regime of Daniel Arap Moi.
The Green Belt Movement Maathai founded, provided work for women while protecting the environment by planting trees.
|Wangari Maathai with Senator Obama|
In 2002 she was elected to the Kenyan parliament and continued to promote green issues from within the government.
Now honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts towards sustainable development and human rights, Maathai remains energetic even as she approaches her 70s, continuing to spread her environmental message across Africa.
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This episode of One on One aired from Saturday, January 19, 2008.
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