The Wangari Maathai Foundation is set to put up a magnificent commemorative house to immortalize the life, works and contributions of the departed Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
The Wangari Muta Maathai House (WMH), planned to be completed in five years , will house all her works and awards including the Nobel Peace Prize, books, iconic images and photos , lectures, speeches , wardrobe and the story of the “humming bird” that she so loved to recount.
The memorial multi-purpose complex near the Girraffe centre at Langata will also provide the Laureate’s final resting place where her ashes will be archived. Her ashes are currently with the family members.
The monumental WMH is expected to be a global destination for conservationists and other lovers of nature who wish to learn the “story” of the fallen environmental heroine.
During her entire public life, including being the MP for Tetu , an Assistant Minister for Environment and the founder of the Green Belt Movement, Professor Maathai stood for a courage, integrity, honesty and dialogue among other national values.
Board members of the Wangari Maathai Foundation Wednesday paid a courtesy call to the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta at State House to whom they presented with the designs of the ambitious legacy project.
The board members included the chairperson of the foundation Ms Wanjira Maathai, Evelyn Njeri Gakonyo, Cynthia Ann Ryan and Aisha Karanja.
Others were the Principal at the Ralph Appelbaum Associates Ms Melanie Ide and Interpretive Planner of the project Ms Louise Bernard.
The First Lady described the proposed project as a wonderful initiative where people, both local and visitors, can experience peace and serenity when complete.
Besides the actual archive, the project incorporates spaces for democratic discourses, family and the children.
Besides providing a historic space to tell the story of Prof. Maathai and teach the younger generation of her contributions, the WMH seeks to among other issues, inspire, motivate and challenge people, young and old to lead lives with purpose.
Visitors to the archive will be exposed to the personality of Wangari Maathai in her multiple dimensions as an activist, environmentalist, laureate, elder, politician and mother.
In doing so, says the foundation, the WMH will reflect not only the holistic dimension of Prof. Maathai herself, but the hoilistic dimension of positive and lasting social change itself.
The WMH also seeks to inculcate such values as peace, transparency, accountability, honesty, tolerance and love for the environment in a way that would include addressing social ills such as poverty and disempowerment.
When complete, the WMH will capture in three dimensions the vision, passion and holistic consciousness of the First African woman and first environmentalist to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The house will also provide a centre for students of all ages to learn about the connections between democracy, peace, and the environment.
The Wangari Maathai Foundation hopes that the memorial complex will serve as a beacon for tourists, change agents, researchers and thought leaders from across the world.