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Nepalese forestry activist wins first Wangari Maathai Award

Narayan Kaji Shrestha has won the first Wangari Maathai Award (© FAO/Giulio Napolitano)
Narayan Kaji Shrestha has won the first Wangari Maathai Award
© FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Narayan Kaji Shrestha, a forestry activist from Nepal, has won the first Wangari Maathai Award for his work to promote community forest management. Shrestha guided early attempts to create a more participatory approach to community decision-making, reaching out to women and low-caste villagers and initiating the country's first community forestry group. More than one-quarter of Nepal's forests are now protected by community forestry groups.

An Honourable Mention was awarded to Kurshida Begum from Bangladesh, who has helped women in her village form a community patrol group, alongside forest department guards, in order to protect the forests and diversity of the Tenkaf Wildlife Sanctuary from illegal logging and poaching.

The Wangari Maathai Award was established by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), to recognise efforts to improve and sustain forests. Maathai was a Kenyan environmentalist and the first African women to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.

Date published: September 2012

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