Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Kelly M. Young


While often mistaken for `just' an environmental organization, Kenya's Green Belt Movement (GBM) is engaged in environmental protection, feminism, human rights, education, sustainable development, democratic participation, and peace issues, amongst others. This diverse approach to social change makes it sometimes difficult to place the GBM within current social movement theory. To further our understanding of the GBM's unusual approach, this dissertation examines the framing efforts of the GBM's leader, Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai, as well as the organization's educational practices. Leaning on Entman's (1993) and Kuyper's (2006) definitions of framing, this project analyzes the development of the GBM's frame(s) as advanced by Maathai in several award acceptance speeches spanning 20 years of the movement's existence. Over the same time frame, Maathai and the GBM published two manuals designed to share the approach. These manuals are drawn on to explore the GBM's educational practices with specific emphasis on their use of critical pedagogical tenets. Of particular interest for this study are the transferability potential of the GBM's approach to other social movements and the implications social movement theory.

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