The World Resources Institute (WRI), led by Wanjira Mathai, the daughter of Nobel prize Laureate and reknowned environmentalist Prof Wangari Mathai has received Ksh13 billion (USD 100 million) from the Bezos Earth Fund.
Wanjira serves as the Vice President and Regional Director for Africa at the organisation.
In a statement, WRI stated that the funds will be channeled towards the restoration of degraded landscapes in three African countries, including Kenya.
The project, known as Restore Local, aims to accelerate locally-led land restoration efforts in the Lake Kivu and Rusizi River Basin area in Congo and Rwanda, Ghana’s Cocoa Belt, and Kenya’s Greater Rift Valley.
“I am honored that Restore Local was selected for catalytic funding through ‘The Audacious Project’, which is a clear signal of confidence in locally-led action,” said Wanjira Mathai.
She added, “Restoration is one of the most powerful investments we can make on the planet, because restoring degraded land can simultaneously mitigate climate change and protect communities from its worst impacts. It can also restore land productivity, create jobs, and improve family incomes.”
The project, in partnership with 33 African governments, aims to restore 100 million hectares of land by 2030, as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), a partnership with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).
The funding from the Bezos Earth Fund, along with earlier contributions of Sh6 billion, brings the project closer to its fundraising target of USD 500 million for philanthropy.
WRI stated that the project will also enable direct investments in local community-based organizations and small and medium enterprises, aiming to accelerate restoration activities on the ground, deepen knowledge and skills, propose and implement supportive policies, and monitor their impact.
Wanjira Mathai was also this year named among TIME Magazine’s top 100 Most Influential People in 2023.