Green Legacy Continues: Wanjira Maathai Nets $100 Million for African Land Restoration Project

Wanjira Maathai, daughter of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, is set to lead a new restoration project after the World Resources Institute (WRI) won an impressive US$100 million (approximately Sh13.5 billion).

As the managing director of Africa and Global Partnerships at WRI, Wanjira will spearhead the Restore Local project, aimed at accelerating locally-led land restoration in three African landscapes, including the Lake Kivu and Rusizi River Basin, Ghana’s Cocoa Belt, and Kenya’s Greater Rift Valley.

The Audacious Project, launched in 2018 by TED, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a future worth pursuing for all, announced the winning project during TED2023 in Vancouver, Canada. Restore Local aims to restore degraded land and mitigate the effects of climate change while protecting communities from its worst impacts.

“Restoration is one of the most powerful investments we can make on the planet,” said Wanjira Maathai. “It can also restore land productivity, create jobs, and improve family incomes.”

The project seeks to accelerate the AFR100 movement, which aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land in Africa by 2030. Ms. Maathai emphasized that creating a continental restoration movement requires capacity building, more funding, supportive policies, and monitoring progress.

Her mother, Prof. Wangari Maathai, founded the Green Belt Movement, which led to the planting of over 30 million trees in Africa and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.

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