Wanjira Mathai is the Senior Advisor for the Partnerships for Women Entrepreneurs in Renewables (wPOWER) where she leads global advocacy and strategy. The wPOWER Hub promotes the prominence of women’s leadership in addressing energy poverty and climate change by bringing renewable energy to 3.5 million women in East Africa, Nigeria and India. wPOWER is the secretariat for the larger partnership.
wPOWER focuses on consolidating and building evidence that supports the strategic involvement of women in clean energy entrepreneurship, spotlighting and scaling of best practices in clean energy entrepreneurship, advocating for women’s leadership in clean energy entrepreneurship & in addressing climate change, and building a global partnership of stakeholders involved in the sector. As the lead global advocate for the wPOWER partnership, Wanjira champions women’s economic empowerment through clean energy access in local and international forums, particularly making the linkages to the urgency of climate action and the sustainable development goals (particularly goal 7)
Mathai previously directed International Affairs at the Green Belt Movement (GBM), and currently sits on the board of the organization which was founded by her mother, the late Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai. With the help of partners such as the Clinton Climate Initiative Forestry program, to date, the GBM has led to the planting of over 51 million trees and the restoration of rural landscapes, rivers and watersheds across Kenya.
Prior to joining the internationally renowned Green Belt Movement, Mathai worked at the Carter Presidential Center (USA) as a Senior Program Officer where she monitored and evaluated their disease eradication work, focused on Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis and Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Programs.Mathai grew up in Kenya, and travelled to the US to attend college and has consistently been a strong and outspoken advocate for social and climate justice, green energy and gender equality. She graduated with a Science Bachelor’s degree (Biology) from the Hobart William Smith Colleges and earned her graduate degrees in Public Health and Business from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, and Goizueta School of Business in the US.
Currently, Wanjira chairs the board of the legacy-focused Wangari Maathai Foundation. Mathai also sits on the boards of the Green Belt Movement, the Wangari Maathai Institute, World Resources Institute, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). She is an advisory council member of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, co-chair (with the Former Prime Minister of Sweden) of the Global Restoration Council, and a member of the Earth Charter International Council.