Nov 13, 2023
Cultivating Leadership and Managerial Effectiveness among Female Policy Practitioners: AWARD’s tool in fostering gender-responsive agri-food policies in Africa

Doreen Tekedese, a 2023 AWARD Policy Fellow, envisions the Women’s Leadership and Management Course (WLMC) as an opportunity to develop her leadership skillset in the agri-food sector. The course is part of the Gender Responsive Agriculture Systems Policy (GRASP) Fellowship under African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD).

Her expected outcome is to gain foundational skills that will help her advocate for the inclusion of women in the agricultural value chain in her home country of Mozambique. She believes it is crucial to leverage inclusive policies given that 70% of the population relies on agriculture, with rural women playing a crucial role but having little to no access to productive resources.

“I want to take the lead role in ensuring the institution of quotas in female representation in developing public economic budget documents geared towards agricultural projects for smallholder farmers,” she says.

The 2023 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report on the Status of Women in Agrifood systems lists the lack of involvement of women in the agriculture policy cycle as a gaping concern in developing agrifood systems that align with smallholder women farmers.

It outlines that “Even though more than 75 percent of agricultural policies that FAO analyzed recognized women’s roles and/or challenges in agriculture, only 19 percent had gender equality in agriculture or women’s rights as explicit policy objectives. Furthermore, only 13 percent encouraged rural women’s participation in the policy cycle.”

Doreen is one of many AWARD Policy Fellows working to integrate gender in agrifood policies. The AWARD Policy Fellows receive targeted training on leadership, mentoring, and gender in agrifood systems policies to sharpen their capability to lead policy changes toward gender-responsive options.

The WLMC is specially designed to reinforce the leadership capacity and managerial effectiveness of women professionals working in Government, International Research Centers, and other multinational organizations.

The course was recently offered to the 2023 AWARD Policy Fellows, the first in-person training for the second cohort of the GRASP Fellowship, from October 8 to 14, 2023, in Mombasa, Kenya.

The training focuses on skills such as sustaining team performance, managing conflict, and building alliances to achieve research and business results.

Dr. Maria Nassuna-Musoke, an AWARD trainer for the WLMC module and Senior Lecturer at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biosecurity, Makerere University, notes that the skills gained from the WLMC will help the Policy Fellows become capable, influential leaders in the policy space.

“Formulating policies requires streetwise knowledge in lobbying, developing networks, and shrewd pushing to adopt interventions. These are acquired skills that are not taught in school, and we make it our mission to impact these foundational skills in training programs such as the Women’s Leadership and Management Course under the GRASP Fellowship.” Dr. Musoke said.

Looking ahead, the GRASP Fellowship will continue to develop the leadership and managerial acumen of the Policy Fellows. This will be done through guided training modules across the Fellowship period and create a pool of confident female practitioners capable of influencing policy processes in the African agricultural sector.

See highlights of the week-long in-person training in Mombasa, Kenya.





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

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