The Legacy of Wangari Maathai: Two Years On

Wangari was proud of this aspect of her legacy, but she knew it wasn’t enough. In her final months, between chemotherapy sessions, she worked to link the two great passions of her life: her belief in the need to raise environmental consciousness and her commitment to grassroots development. These two would be merged through the creation of the Wangari Maathai Institute (WMI) at the University of Nairobi.

As Wangari envisioned it, WMI would bring to the academy the experiences of GBM’s community-based networks so that future policy-makers, political leaders, and community organizers could understand the realities of ordinary people, and develop far-sighted initiatives to assist them. Students and professionals from across Africa and other continents would also learn from the values on which GBM was founded.

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Remembering Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai on the Second Anniversary of Her Passing

And that is not just a great way to honor the woman who left us too soon – two years ago, on September 25, 2011. The Green Belt Movement and the Wangari Maathai Institute For Peace and Environmental Studies could be the “simple solution” of faith, strength, wisdom and persistence needed to surmount the escalating challenges of super storms, droughts and other natural disasters of our ever-changing world.

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Legal Pluralism in the Management of Forests in Kenya – Opportunities and Challenges for Inclusive Governance: Case Study of Eastern Mau Forest Complex

In Kenya forest management is centred on the Forest Act 2005 (FA 2005) which is the principal legal instrument governing forest management. This forest management system, however, occurs in a setting of a multiplicity of legal frameworks that related to natural resource management. There is a lack of harmonization of these various legal frameworks and this plurality of legislations has created several centres of power, such as between CFAs and Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs) and also as between Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). This plurality also gives rise to problems with the management of forest ecosystems and with the implementation of the FA 2005 amongst the various stakeholders and consequently deprives this country off a sustainable forest governance approach.

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Analysis of conflicts in utilization of forest resources in a multi-ethnic setting in Eastern Mau, Kenya.

Conflicts over natural resources are increasing in number and severity. This problem has been compounded with the increasing population and scarcities of natural resources in developing countries. Forest resource conflicts are disagreements and disputes over access to, control over and use of forest resources. These conflicts if not addressed effectively can undermine trust among the citizens and increase insecurity as well as forest degradation.

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Decentralized Forest Management Impacts on Livelihoods in Kenya: A Case Study on Eastern Mau Forest.

To enhance livelihoods and forest conservation, more than 30 African countries have adopted decentralized forest management. The Forest Act 2005, ratified by Government of Kenya, advocates for participatory forest management (PFM), a form of decentralization, thus a significant departure from command and control forest governance regime that alienated other stakeholders. There is an expectation that PFM can bring substantial benefits in terms of livelihood security and poverty reduction possibly by increasing producers’ bargaining power and prices. However empirical information, particularly in Kenya, is lacking to support the livelihood outcomes of PFM. Rigorous impact evaluation methods such as propensity score matching will be used to associate livelihood outcomes to the policy intervention.

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