On June 5, 1977, the late Prof Wangari Maathai led a group of National Council of Women of Kenya in a march to Kamukunji Park in Nairobi, Kenya, where they symbolically planted seven trees.
If nothing else, that very noble gesture signalled the beginning of the Green Belt Movement (GBM), a Kenya-based indigenous, grassroots, non-governmental organization that takes a holistic approach to development by focusing on environmental conservation, community development and capacity building.
According to the Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research (2010), the GBM’s mission is “to mobilize community consciousness for self-determination, justice, equity, reduction of poverty and environmental conservation – using trees as the ‘entry point.’”
And, in this particular case, the GBM also aims at organizing women in rural Kenya to plant trees, combat deforestation, stop soil erosion and generate income. In all fairness – and without an iota of prejudice – this sounds more of a global than merely a national mission in the environmental protection stakes generally.
Hence, the sore temptation to take a leaf out of the Maathai book on GBM – and push the Movement further and wider across the globe. Prof Maathai (April 1, 1940-September 25, 2011) was a Kenyan social, environmental and political activist who went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 – thus becoming the first-ever African woman to do so.
Before that – in 1984, to be exact – Prof Maathai had won the Right Livelihood Award for honouring and supporting those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing humanity today.
In 2006, she was awarded the Indira Gandhi Prize in recognition of creative efforts in promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order – always ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the greater good of humanity...
We can do no better, we say, in protecting and conserving Mother Nature and the Environment than continue with the good work begun by the late Professor Maathai.
KUDOS MWAKINYO, CLASS WINS
Tanzanian professional boxer Hassan Mwakinyo won the super-welterweight African title after knocking out Angolan Antonio Mayala in the ninth round of the scheduled 12 rounds at the Next Door Arena in Dar es Salaam last Friday.
Organised by the Jackson Group Sports – and dubbed ‘Rumble-in-Dar-2’ – the occasion also saw to another Tanzanian boxer, Ibrahim Class, outpoint South African Sibusiso Zingange in a lightweight match. However, five other professional Tanzanian boxers lost their bouts against foreign boxers on the same calendar.
We join other Tanzanians to congratulate Mwakinyo and Class for their classy wins – and also urge the two boxers to maintain their winning streaks for the even tougher matches that could still lie ahead. Already, Mwakinyo is ranked higher-up in the African Boxing Union (ABU) listings, and needs to stay focused if he is to also win against challengers for the ABU title. The Tanzanian must always remember that there are boxers out there who also keenly eye the ABU belt.
Regarding the five Tanzanian boxers who lost their bouts: they must take this as a challenge that must be surmounted if they are to more than survive in professional boxing.
We also have the Jackson Group Sports to thank for promoting sports for our country and its people – sportsmen and women in particular.