Friday, August 27, 2010

Women Researchers Recognised

Anthropogenicagent says: What is good for rural women will be good for natural resource managemnt.

Of course this is slightly off topic... But it is news too good not to share:


East African Business Week (Kampala)

Africa: Sixty Women Researchers Recognised
Joseph Olanyo
23 August 2010

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Kampala, Uganda — A passion fruit pathologist, a catfish breeder, and a pigeon pea researcher are among the 60 outstanding women agricultural scientists from 10 African countries who received a fellowship from African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD).

The fellowship will help these top researchers strengthen their research and leadership skills, and enhance their contributions to poverty alleviation and food security across the continent.

"Today we debunked the myth that qualified African women researchers 'aren't out there'-an excuse that's often used to justify why women are not hired or promoted equitably within agricultural research institutions, universities, and corporations," said Vicki Wilde, AWARD Director in a statement sent to East African Business Week.

"We've proven that top-notch female scientists do exist in significant numbers and, equally important, they are conducting critical food security research that is desperately needed to feed future generations. We are recognizing and supporting these women today with an AWARD Fellowship."

Dr. Ruth Amata, a senior research officer at the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute, is one of this year's 60 fellowship winners. "I am so excited about this great opportunity," said Amata.

"My main goal is to help rural women farmers to improve production of their food crops, including sweet potato and cassava, through disease management. This fellowship will help me link up with and learn from other women scientists who are making an impact, and to develop the leadership skills I need."

Amata was selected from 784 applicants representing 54 institutions in 10 countries; she joins 120 AWARD Fellows currently in the program. In total, 1,681 female scientists from 450 institutions have applied for the prestigious fellowships since AWARD began in 2008. AWARD Fellows benefit from a two-year program focused on mentoring partnerships, science skills, and leadership development.

The fellowships are awarded on the basis of intellectual merit, leadership capacity, and the potential of the scientist's research to improve the daily lives of smallholder farmers, especially women.

"Agriculture is key to economic growth in Africa," said Haven Ley, Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports AWARD through a grant to the CGIAR's Gender & Diversity Program.

"AWARD is changing agricultural research and development to better respond to the needs and challenges of women producers on the continent."

AWARD addresses many of the barriers, including a lack of role models and mentors, which prevent African women from playing a more active role in agricultural research and from considering a career in agricultural science.

Recent research conducted in 15 African countries by AWARD and Agricultural Science and

Technology Indicators (ASTI) shows that between 2000 and 2008, the number of African women professionals employed in the agricultural sciences grew by 8 percent per year, while the number of African men grew by 2 percent per year.

However, women still represent less than one quarter of AWARD is a professional development program that strengthens the research and leadership skills of African women in agricultural science, empowering them to contribute more effectively to poverty alleviation and food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

"AWARD offers two-year fellowships focused on mentoring partnerships, science skills, and leadership development. African women working in agricultural research and development from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia who have completed a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in selected disciplines are eligible," the statement further said.

A project of the CGIAR's Gender & Diversity Program, AWARD is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID.

Copyright © 2010 East African Business Week. All rights reserved.

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