In 1977, she was invited to give a lecture about her experiences at the HABITAT I at the Annual General Meeting of NCWK. A few months later, she received a letter from the Chairman, stating that she was invited to become a part of the Standing Committee on Environment and Habitat in National Council of Women of Kenya.
National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK)
NCWK, founded in 1964, was a women’s organisation made out of rural women in Kenya with affiliation to the International Council of Women after registration in Kenya in 1966. After Kenya’s independence in 1964, NCWK became the common front of the many women group to unite various women’s organisation in the country which common issues and objectives can be promoted, especially with regards to women.
– The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience
(New York: Lantern Books, 2003)
At that time, the problem of malnutrition in the Central province of Kenya was brought to Wangari Maathai’s attention. Many people living in the rural areas used wood fuel for cooking and heat source, a demand that is higher than the supply resulted in many people choosing food sources that do not require wood fuel but had low nutrition.
Hence. during one such gathering, she proposed tree-planting as a project which can help the women in rural areas to inexpensively meet many of their needs, one of it being a supply of wood fuel in the long term.
She believe that in order to motivate people to become the change agents and raising their consciousness about the environment, it was important to guide the community to practice ways that they are able to meet their needs for survival and daily living and at the same time conserving the environment.
However some members felt that this might not be a feasible idea due to the expertise required. Despite conflicting opinions, the project was accepted by NCWK and took flight.