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International Women’s Day Celebrations

AWARD in collaboration with World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), organized a weeklong series of events to commemorate this year’s International Women’s’ Day.

The documentary “Taking Root” ushered in the festivities and was screened to coincide with Wangari Maathai Day which is observed on March 3. The documentary on Africa’s first female Nobel laureate shows the journey of a scientist turned political activist.

On the penultimate day, a panel discussion dubbed “Transforming Agricultural and Rural Livelihoods through Gender Empowerment” was hosted at the ICRAF campus. The panelists comprised Purity Wanjiku; a farmer, Wanjira Mathai; the late professor’s daughter and Chair of the Wangari Maathai Foundation, Dr. Musonda Mumba from UNEP, Dr. Ramni Jamnadass from World Agroforestry Centre and Dr. Isaac Kalua from the Green Africa Foundation. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, AWARD’s Director, moderated the panel.

The discussion which drew in members of the AWARD family and staff members based at the ICRAF campus, touched on gender based science and how it influences gender parity, the role of men in accelerating gender equity and the legacy of Wangari Maathai.

“Men should support women in matters of access to information, access to money and readily available markets,” said Dr. Isaac Kalua.  Dr. Ramni Jamnadass emphasized the need for courageous men to rise above cultural barriers and support women as to make steps towards gender equality and equity.

The week was brought a close by an Event Mentoring Session for high school students led by ICRAF senior scientists and researchers.  The students from Hospital Hill, Redhill Academy, Kianda School, Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj, and Agha Khan Academy got an opportunity to visit the various laboratories at ICRAF. There was also a panel discussion that touched on career options in science, research and agriculture and also touched on gender issues and empowerment which generated a very lively discussion.