Twenty-five mid-level and senior faculty and researchers from various universities and national agricultural research institutions (NARIs) in Kenya convened for AWARD’s Leadership Program for Agricultural Research and Development (LEPARD) course from June 5-9, 2017. AWARD partnered with Moi University’s School of Agriculture and Natural Resources to deliver the course and a special half-day gender seminar on June 9th.
Moi University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof Isaac Kimengi, officially opened the course. In his opening remarks, Prof Kimengi thanked AWARD for the leadership program initiative and commented that “We cannot afford to leave women behind in leadership.”
The LEPARD course is the second training in a budding partnership between AWARD and Moi University. In February 2017, AWARD facilitated a Mentoring Orientation Workshop (MOW) to kick-start Moi University’s mentoring program that is designed to increase collaboration between senior faculty and new staff. This LEPARD course is aimed at not only expanding the leadership capacity of university faculty and NARI leaders, but also to continue the groundwork laid by the MOW. “The LEPARD course is really insightful and timely. I’m learning how to be a change agent and get people on board with my vision for the mentoring program,” says Dr John Chelal, Moi University’s mentoring coordinator.
AWARD trainers Pamela Yieke, Albert Tsindi, and Benjamin Kamoye facilitated the LEPARD course and Anne-Marie Nyamu facilitated the half-day gender seminar. On the importance of LEPARD, Mr Kamoye says, “The participants’ increase in self-awareness will be a springboard to being an effective leader.” The trainers used a combination of group activities and individual reflection throughout the course.
LEPARD’s main objectives are to enable agricultural research leaders to become agents of transformative change within their institutions, motivate leaders of agricultural research institutions to pursue broader change programs that guarantee gender inclusiveness, and identify and create individualized plans for driving institutional change upon course completion.
Dean of Moi University’s School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Prof Timothy Sulo, participated in the course and hopes to share the lessons from LEPARD with his fellow deans. “Each of us are like CEOs of our own schools. With this course, we can change attitudes and collaborate more. I wish this program was available to all of the University’s senior staff.”
AWARD’s partnership with Moi University is part of AWARD’s Gender Responsive Agricultural Research and Development (GRARD) initiative that supports African research institutions to better respond to the needs and priorities of a diversity of men and women across agricultural value chains. “Agricultural value chains start well before the farm gate; they start at the research stage, with scientists making decisions that have critical bearings on what happens across the entire value chain. It is therefore particularly important that agricultural research be gender responsive with the ultimate aim of closing the gender gap that contributes to Africa’s low agricultural productivity,” explained AWARD Director Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg as she celebrated launch of the courses.
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