FELLOWS

Meet the AWARD fellows

AWARD Fellows reflect the richness and diversity of women scientists in agricultural research and development in Africa today. Some grew up in remote, rural villages; others in major metropolises. Representing ten East and Southern African countries, they are a bouquet of socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, linguistic and religious backgrounds.

AWARD Fellows are ambitious, determined professionals who are chosen through a rigorous competition. Seventy applicants are selected from up to 1,000 applications received each year.
Professionally, AWARD Fellows range from recent university graduates to recognized experts in their fields. Their research covers various disciplines in agricultural R&D. Yet these outstanding women share one passion: to help alleviate hunger and poverty in Africa through their research, working alongside the continents smallholder farmers, most of whom are women.

Fellows' stories

By Phyllis Wambui Muturi, 2013 AWARD Fellow, Kenya

I won the AWARD Advanced Science Training (AST) opportunity and was awarded a placement at DuPont Pioneer in collaboration with Iowa State University (ISU) in the USA. The training I am undertaking will significantly improve my skills, experience and knowledge in the use of modern biotechnology for crop improvement to contribute to food security and improved livelihoods. While at DuPont, I am privileged to be mentored by two leading women scientists in this field, Prof. Maria Salas-Fernandez from the Department of Agronomy, at ISU and Dr. Laura Higgins from DuPont.

I left Kenya for my research adventure in June 2015; this being my first time in America. Barely two weeks at ISU, had I gained extensive knowledge and skills in environmental health and safety. The knowledge has helped me become more adept in the molecular laboratory and out in the field.


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  • Fellow Mentees

    During the second year of the fellowship, AWARD Fellows are requested to nominate a junior woman scientist whom they will mentor. These junior scientists are referred to as fellows' mentees. Fellows' mentees must have a minimum qualification of a bachelor's degree in an agricultural field.

    Mentoring a junior scientist serves the following purposes:

    • Fellows put their new skills into practice
    • Extend the benefits of the fellowship to many more African women agricultural scientists
    • Strengthen institutions by wider staff participation in the fellowship

    The fellows' mentees get an opportunity to attend a Mentoring Orientation Workshop and are given the opportunity to develop their career development plan or what we refer to as a purpose road map. Our team of AWARD trainers assists the fellows' mentees develop their respective career plans.

    The relationship between the AWARD Fellow and fellows' mentee is monitored every quarter by the Fellowships Officer.

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  • Fellows' Publications

    AWARD is a career-development program that equips top women agricultural scientists across sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate agricultural gains by strengthening their research and leadership skills, through tailored fellowships. AWARD is a catalyst for innovations with high potential to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of African smallholder farmers, most of whom are women.

    AWARD helps women scientists to build their technical skills in several ways.

    First, AWARD offers courses to equip participants to write and edit scientific papers for peer review, and gain the technical skills required for effective research proposal writing in order to raise funds for their research. Each course contains a component on gender issues in agricultural R&D.

    Secondly, AWARD offers fellows the opportunity to compete for advanced science training placements at internationally recognized research institutions. AWARD also supports fellows to attend science conferences to present their papers and posters. Such training and support helps prepare scientists to produce the technological innovations and advances required for positive, sustainable impacts in agricultural R&D in Africa.

    Recent data on the first two rounds of fellows (2008 - 2010) reveals that 83 percent improved scientific skills and access to resources, contacts and opportunities. AWARD Fellows' publication record almost doubled. Growing positive reputation led to promotions, with the majority making significant career changes within the sector. Almost half (48%) received other awards, such as scholarships and grants.

    AWARD is proud to feature the research published by our fellows.

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AWARD Fellows Directory

AWARD currently has 465 fellows and 397 unique mentors (some mentors have more than one fellow) from 16 sub-Saharan African countries. In our directory, you'll find each AWARD Fellow listed by country, including her degree and institution, as well as her mentor's name and title.