The Flagship AWARD Fellowship

The Flagship AWARD Fellowship is a career-development program that has, since 2008, equipped top women agricultural scientists from 23 countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Burundi, Fiji, Madagascar, Spain and Togo) to accelerate agricultural gains by strengthening their science and leadership skills.

About the Flagship AWARD Fellowship model

AWARD Fellows benefit from a two-year program focused on fostering mentoring partnerships, building science skills, and developing leadership capacity. Following a highly competitive process, the fellowship is awarded based on intellectual merit, leadership capacity and the potential impact of the scientist’s research to improve the livelihoods of small holder farmers. During the two-year fellowship, AWARD Fellows remain in their institutions, continue their research, and travel to participate in AWARD training courses held in various locations across Africa.

Fostering mentoring partnerships

Mentoring is a proven and powerful driver for career development and particularly for retaining women in science. AWARD pairs each fellow with a mentor—a senior professional, carefully chosen to match the fellow’s area of expertise and career goals. Each AWARD Fellow is mentored for one year as part of the fellowship package.During the second year of the fellowship, AWARD requires all fellows to serve as a mentor to a junior woman scientist, known as the fellow’s mentee.

Why Mentoring?

Mentoring is a proven and powerful driver for career development and particularly for retaining women in science. AWARD offers one year of mentoring for AWARD Fellows, and in the second year of the program, fellows in return mentor a junior scientist (known as an AWARD Fellow’s Mentee). Both men and women scientists are eligible to volunteer as AWARD Mentors.

What does a mentor do?

Every scientist who wins an Flagship AWARD Fellowship is matched with a mentor— a senior professional —who volunteers for one year to guide the AWARD Fellow in their career development. Mentoring in AWARD is specifically designed to help AWARD Fellows to become more technically competent, more confident, more visible, and better networked, as they build their research and leadership skills.

The overall goal is for mentors to share their experience, scientific knowledge, and networks with their fellows, providing the kind of nurturing support that will allow them to grow both within their field and institutions.

We cannot predict everything that happens with a mentoring pair. Each mentoring relationship is a unique learning experience. Through it all, mentoring pairs have the benefit of support from the AWARD team, including the AWARD Mentoring Coordinator.

Why become a mentor?

Mentoring allows senior professionals to share their experience, knowledge, and networks with their AWARD Fellows. AWARD Mentors also advance their own careers as they network with other fellows and mentors. Mentors benefit from AWARD through:

  • access to expanded network of colleagues in African agricultural research and development
  • exposure to new ideas and methods from interaction with Fellows
  • skills development from participation in various AWARD training courses
  • deepened understanding of gender issues in agricultural research and development
  • opportunity to develop and practice a more personal leadership style
  • enhanced skills in mentoring, listening, and role modeling
  • additional recognition and respect by colleagues and those in leadership

Who is eligible to be a mentor?

  • a senior scientist conducting research related to or complementary to AWARD Fellow’s research
  • a senior professional with the ability to guide the AWARD Fellow’s career growth
  • commitment and willingness to mentor an AWARD Fellow.
  • available to attend a five-day Mentoring Orientation Workshop together with the fellow
  • available at least one hour per month for 12 months for mentoring sessions
  • A Fellow’s supervisor is not eligible to be a mentor

What are the attributes of a good mentor?

The role of a mentor is multi-faceted and may change or evolve according to the needs of the Fellow.  Some attributes of a good mentor include:

  • concerned with the Fellow’s career aspirations and needs (growth in leadership skills, knowledge, self-confidence, independence, and autonomy)
  • assertive and well organized
  • an achiever, trustworthy listener, and goal setter
  • reliable, inspirational, empathetic, introspective, and receptive
  • motivated and committed
  • professional and approachable
  • interested in sharing their knowledge and professional experiences
  • able to provide guidance, advice, and constructive criticism
  • respects confidentiality
Building science skills

One of the keys to improved agricultural -dependent livelihoods is a strong, effective talent pool of agricultural research and development experts. AWARD expands the fellows’ world of science, facilitating their access to the latest methodologies and technologies while building their professional networks. AWARD offers its Fellows a portfolio of tailored training courses and services including: 

Strengthening the scientific research skills of the fellows is a critical component of the Flagship AWARD Fellowship.  Advanced Science Training (AST) is a key component of our efforts to strengthen African women’s scientific research skills; AWARD Fellows are selected to participate in research placements with partner institutions around the world. AST placements are only open to the very best of our Post Masters’ and Post-Doctoral AWARD Fellows. 

Developing leadership skills

The Flagship AWARD Fellowship is explicitly designed to help women in agricultural science increase their visibility and to empower them to serve as effective leaders within their research teams, institutions as well as their communities. Through AWARD’s leadership training courses, fellows learn to navigate organizational gender issues, leverage team talents, manage conflicts, and use influence appropriately.

Read more about Courses offered to the Fellows.?

Flagship AWARD Fellowship FAQs


African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). Hosted by World Agroforestry Centre, United Nations Avenue, Gigiri. P.O Box 30677-00100 Nairobi, Kenya.

Email: awardqueries@cifor-icraf.org | Tel: +254 (0) 20 722 4242