1. Wangari Maathai rose to prominence fighting for those most easily marginalised in Africa - poor women. The first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize was praised by the awarding committee as "a source of inspiration for everyone in Africa fighting for sustainable development, democracy and peace". A pioneering academic, her role as an environmental campaigner began after she planted some trees in her back garden. This inspired her in 1977 to form an organisation - primarily of women - known as the Green Belt Movement aiming to curtail the devastating effects of deforestation and desertification. Her desire was to produce sustainable wood for fuel use as well as combating soil erosion. Her campaign to mobilise poor women to plant some 30 million trees has been copied by other countries.