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From the mouths of fellows

“Mentorship is both innate and external, acquired from ordinary people surrounding us in our day to day lives from family to school,” said Esther Kanduma, 2010 AWARD Fellow, during a mentorship assembly hosted by AWARD at the ICRAF campus on April 11, 2016. The meeting which was organized in partnership with theAkili Dada Fellowship Programme was attended by AWARD Fellows; Esther Kanduma, Regina Tende,Virginia Wangechi Wangondu, Sarah Akwabi Mukolwe, Naomi  Keter Chelimo and fellow's mentee Doris Kemunto Nyamwaya. The six scientists served as panelists as 31 girls from different high schools listened keenly to their respective mentoring journeys. The participating schools were: Maryhill Girls High School, Loreto High School Limuru, Kenya High School and Precious Blood Secondary School, Riruta.

Kevin Mwachiro, AWARD’s Senior Communications Officer, opened the session with a quote from Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, “Let us remember; one book one child and one teacher can change the world. It is important to know who you are, to make decisions, to show who you are,” setting the stage for what was an intense and an insightful meeting.

The panelists emphasized the essence of mentorship for young people in helping them make the right decisions. While sharing her mentorship experience, Nyamwaya highlighted the challenges faced by the younger generation in career choice. “As young people, we get into careers because of the allure of money and finer jobs, that is how I got myself into a wrong profession, medicine. Later, I realized it wasn’t for me. My lecturers, who were my mentors then, helped find the right course for me, that is, science in microbiology and biotechnology.”

The panelist encouraged the girls not to shy away from opportunities and to have mentors with admirable qualities they would want to look emulate. “Opportunities and mentors propel one towards life’s goals. This combination steers both social and academic growth,” said Wangondu.

The visit to AWARD and the ICRAF campus culminated with a tour of the ICRAF science labs.