This article was first published in our Oct-Dec 2012 “Around Africa” newsletter
Funders have renewed support for African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), a program that helps women in Sub-Saharan countries develop leadership and scientific skills.
A second grant, spanning five years, was announced in October, and comprised of US$14 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and US$5 million from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
It will spark more effective innovations in agriculture according to Karen Homer, AWARD’s spokesperson. “We believe that effective solutions for African agriculture will come through empowered women scientists,” she said. The majority of those who produce, process and market Africa’s food are women, but only one in four agricultural researchers is female, according to a 2008 study conducted by AWARD.
Every AWARD fellow attends courses on leadership and management, science skills and proposal writing. They are also twinned with senior scientists as mentors. The first phase of AWARD, in 2008, enlisted 250 African women agricultural scientists from 11 countries
By Rita Murphy