The Green Belt Movement (GBM)
The Green Belt Movement (GBM) is an environmental organization that empowers communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods. GBM was founded by Professor Wangari Maathai in 1977 under the auspices of the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK) to respond to the needs of rural Kenyan women who reported that their streams were drying up, their food supply was less secure, and they had to walk further and further to get firewood for fuel and fencing. GBM encouraged the women to work together to grow seedlings and plant trees to bind the soil, store rainwater, provide food and firewood, and receive a small monetary token for their work.
Vision: A values-driven society of people who consciously work for continued improvement of their livelihoods and a greener, cleaner world.
Mission: They strive for better environmental management, community empowerment, and livelihood improvement using tree-planting as an entry point.
What they do
The Green Belt Movement (GBM) has four main areas of activity— Tree Planting and Watersheds, Climate Change, Mainstream Advocacy, Gender Livelihood and Advocacy. Each area of work builds on and informs the others.
Tree Planting and Watersheds: Using GBM’s Watershed Based Approach, communities help to conserve biodiversity, restore ecosystems, and reduce the impact of climate change. GBM relies on its network of over 4000 community groups to deliver its watershed based approach. Their core values of volunteering in-service to your community help to inspire protection of public spaces for present and future generations.
Climate Change: Current climate change policies and actions in Kenya, and world-over, do not provide effective support for community engagement in decision making, nor sustainable livelihoods and environmental conservation. It is because of this that the Green Belt Movement (GBM) has a Climate Change Program that aims at strengthening the understanding and capacity of rural communities to take action against climate change. As well as raise awareness nationally on the role of local communities and forests in tackling climate change.
Mainstream Advocacy: Theycontinue advocating for greater political accountability and the expansion of democratic space in Kenya. GBM has called for, time and time again, an end to land grabbing, deforestation and corruption.
Gender Livelihood and Advocacy: GBM combines a grassroots approach with international advocacy. At the grassroots level, GBM’s goal is to create climate resilient communities through restoration and protection of forest watersheds, and the creation of sustainable livelihoods for communities in Kenya and across Africa. GBM’s approach empowers communities to take action against climate change, the impacts of which are already being witnessed across Africa, through food security and water harvesting activities (adaptation) and planting the appropriate trees in appropriate places (mitigation). At the international level, GBM advocates for environmental policy that ensures the protection of natural forests and community rights, especially communities living close to and in forest ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa and the Congo Basin Rainforest Ecosystem.See more