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Kenyan Women in Agricultural Research and Development steps up to empower agricultural communities

Participants of the first Ke-AWARD Annual General Meeting & Business Pitch at Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organisation (KARLO) Headquarters on October 16, 2017.

Monday, October 16, 2017, marked a day of celebration within the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) community.  On that day, Kenyan Women in Agricultural Research and Development (Ke-AWARD), one of AWARD’s country chapters, held its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Business Pitch at the Kenya Agriculture & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. 

The event, attended by 32 participants representing different disciplines in agricultural research, marked a major milestone for Ke-AWARD. One of nine AWARD country chapters which serve to promote networking and research collaboration within the agricultural research and development community, Ke-AWARD held its first meeting in 2016, and currently has a membership of 48 women researchers drawn from past or present AWARD Fellows, Fellow mentees, and Mentors. 

Welcoming participants to the meeting themed “Women in Leadership and Resource Mobilization, Dr. Lusike Wasilwa, the chair of Ke-AWARD’s board of management, expressed her excitement at their achievement noting that Ke-AWARD can now serve as a vehicle to drive the message that agriculture is truly profitable.

Ms. Nora Ndege, Ke-AWARD’s chairperson, articulated Ke-AWARD’s vision of empowering agricultural communities and how they hoped to achieve it. She mentioned that Ke-AWARD will adopt a thematic approach to facilitate collaborative research and contribute to improved and sustainable agricultural production and commercialization.

A past AWARD Fellow and a current legislator, Dr. Lilian Gogo, who is also the Member of Parliament for Rangwe Constituency and a former lecturer in the Dairy and Food Technology department of Egerton University, was the Guest of Honor at the meeting. In her keynote address, Dr. Gogo reminded the Ke-AWARD members of the need to be very specific and clear in their objectives. “I urge you to identify who your followers are, who you want to inspire, identify where they are, and where you want to take them,” said Dr. Gogo.

 “I urge you to identify who your followers are: who you want to inspire, identify where they are, and where you want to take them.” 

Looking to make a significant contribution to the agricultural research and development (ARD) sector in Kenya, Ndege noted that Ke-AWARD has been formally registered in Kenya as a community-based organization, and has an operational structure in place. The meeting also saw Ke-AWARD unveil its logo and operational structure, as well as its constitution.

After the meeting officially dismissed, attendees sipped tea while wandering through an exhibition of artisanal products with ties to the AWARD community.  From colorful, beautifully knit scarves to all-natural soaps, the products were as bright and innovative as the meetings’ attendees. 

See photos from the event here