What AWARD staff had to say from their experience at the 2016 Progress Monitoring Meetings
Kenneth Macharia: This was my first meeting and one of the things that impressed me as I interacted with the fellows, were the stories they shared about their various career journeys - the main highlight being the share-fair where fellows showcased the progress they had made since the start of their fellowships in terms of growth. I was also amazed by their confidence and public speaking skills.
As I reflect on the meeting, I feel encouraged and motivated to give AWARD my best. Hearing about and seeing the evidence of the fellows’ input in changing the lives of farmers through innovation motivates and gives me assurance that we will achieve what we are all striving for - a food secure Africa.
It is now clear to me that the training AWARD offers has a 100 per cent chance of bringing about positive change, especially as I chart a purpose-filled road map for myself.
Richard Jonyo: The West Africa Regional Meeting was an eye opener. I was able to relate to some of the stories that were told because they were comparable to those we hear from our fellows about their work and the innovations that they apply. I was surprised that most of the presenters at the meeting were applying the knowledge and skills acquired from AWARD to improve the quality of their scientific research, leadership skills and personal lives.
I am now aware that the Purpose Road Map really works and that it helps individuals set and achieve their goals strategically. This is one of the lessons I took away and I will apply the concept to achieve my career goals.
Kevin Mwachiro: The ‘magic’ of the fellowship came alive for me on our way from Entebbe Airport to the hotel. The conversation with fellow participants led to a discussion on the meanings of words from our respective cultures. I was already learning and we weren’t even at the meeting yet! As we celebrated our differences and similarities, I learnt that a bed was ekitanda in Luganda (Uganda), kitanda in Kiswahili (Kenya) and mphasa in the Nyanja language from Zambia. This Pan-Africanism was that ‘magic”.
We also shared views on China’s economic excursions in Africa, agriculture and the different rainy seasons and the impact of digital communication in our respective countries.
At the end of the regional meeting, I had been ‘sharpened’ by fellows and mentors from the region. The enthusiasm and passion at the meeting was contagious and it spurred me into thinking about my personal. I guess you call the inspiration the ‘AWARD effect’.