Wanjira Mathai fights for justice and the future of Africa. Her weapons are sharp analysis, a love for people, irresistible persuasion, and a huge smile that makes it impossible to say no.
For over a decade, I have watched Wanjira work her magic in rural communities and international halls of power alike. Throughout she has focused on restoration—of land, livelihoods, and communities. As a managing director at the World Resources Institute and chief Africa adviser to the Bezos Earth Fund, she is shaping NGO and philanthropic work on the continent, directing attention, research, and funding to helping the most climate-vulnerable places and communities. She has led the iconic Green Belt Movement, pioneered investment in women entrepreneurs in renewable energy, and is driving a movement to restore 100 million hectares of African land.
How does she do it? Wanjira would say the secret may lie in the African concept of ubuntu. Our shared humanity, working together, is what allows us to change the world.
Steer is the president and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund
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