Wangari Muta Maathai is Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

On October 8, 2004, Maathai received a cell phone call from the Norwegian ambassador to Kenya, telling her to keep the line open for a call from Oslo.

Shortly afterward Maathai received a call from Ole Danbolt Mjos, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. He informed her that she was the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.She became the first African woman, and the first environmentalist to win the prize.

"My God, my God", Wangari Maathai exclaimed, when the Director of the Nobel Institute called her on a poor mobile phone connection to tell her that she had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004. She bubbled over with joy, and the news was all over the world in an instant – a good twenty minutes before the official announcement in Oslo! Maathai was visiting the little village of Ihururu, 95 kilometres north of Nairobi, distributing food from the government. Her Kenyan listeners – mostly women – clapped politely when she told them that she had been awarded the Peace Prize. But they laughed out loud when she told them that she had been given so much money that she couldn't even count it.