Taking Root tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy—a movement for which this charismatic woman became an iconic inspiration.
Born in Nyeri, Kenya, in 1940, Maathai went on to study at Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas where she obtained a degree in Biological Sciences in 1964. Maathai furthered her studies at the University of Pittsburgh where she graduated with a Master of Science degree in 1966, obtained a Ph.D. in 1971 from the University of Nairobi, where she also taught veterinary anatomy. This qualification saw Maathai make her history as she became the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. At the University of Nairobi, Maathai became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977 respectively, once again becoming the first woman to occupy those positions in the region.
Wangari Maathai is best known as the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which she founded in 1977, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and the author of the book ‘Unbowed’.
The Green Belt Movement is an environmental organization that empowers communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods.