Planting her first tree at the age of seven, it was only natural that 21-year-old Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti, would establish a hugely successful green initiative in her home country, Kenya, on the African continent.
Known as one of Africa’s top activists, The Green Generation Initiative (GGI) is addressing pollution of rivers, deforestation and any form of environmental injustice in her country. Her main aim was to teach other young people to care for the earth. She has established greening schools where environmental education is taught to other young green enthusiasts. Wathuti had also engendered an “Adopt-a-Tree” Programme and so far thousands of trees had been planted, of which 99% are still flourishing.
Working with 20 000 school children across Kenya, Elizabeth and 40 young volunteers are using their hands and hearts to create a greener continent. She received the Diana Award for her work and a scholarship from her mentor, Professor Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. She also received the Africa Green Person of the Year Award and was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by the Africa Youth Awards.
While she told guests at the award ceremony that she was honoured for being recognised for her work, but stressed that what she had achieved thus far had been only the beginning. Her dream is to see a world where humans and nature could live in harmony, where people and the planet are put before profit.
The most recent GGI project saw the completion of its first green school model in Kahawa Wendani Primary school in Kiambu, Kenya. Here, the curriculum includes forestry, wildlife, water, waste management and climate change. This is done by way of practical eco-project demonstrations.
GGI’s successes include the planting of more than 50 000 tree seedlings involving more than 40 schools in Kenya and benefitting 20 000 Kenyans to, as Elizabeth said, “to keep us breathing and going green for the future we want.”
“We have a chance to turn to nature and towards life by taking urgent action now to address the most pressing issues of our time like climate change. By nurturing young people to have the same love for nature and working with them to regenerate nature, and ensure that the worlds’ remaining natural ecosystems remain intact always gives me hope about the future. Green Generation Initiative is creating a generation of environmentally conscious individuals” – Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti, founder of the Green Generation Initiative.