“Winning the L’Oréal UNESCO research fellowship amongst 12 young scientists in sub-Saharan Africa came as a pleasant surprise to me. I am particularly encouraged to be recognized and appreciated by L’Oréal UNESCO through its fellowship platform,” says Ifeoluwa Olotu, a PhD student at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Olotu won the award for her contribution in solving Africa’s food safety and security challenges. Olotu is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Her work is focused on creating a value chain for solid waste from cassava processing, through use of the waste as substrate to cultivate edible mushrooms.
The 2015 L’Oreal-UNESCO sub-Saharan awards, the 6th in the series, acknowledged the contribution of distinguished African women scientists in solving the myriad of challenges of the continent (food insecurity, water and access to health) and their contribution to global knowledge, at a prestigious ceremony in Johannesburg.
“Growing up surrounded by teachers and farmers exposed me to challenges like malnutrition, hunger and foodborne hazards which are components of food insecurity and this motivated me to contribute to addressing food insecurity in Africa,” Olotu says. I just had my 1st horrific panic-anxiety attack today and I hated it so much I was by myself when this happened and the worst thing I kept thinking is that I’m going to die alone because that’s what it feels like.
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Olotu’s research is titled ‘Safety assessment of traditionally fermented foods (TFF) produced in Nigeria and South Africa.’ Her research provides implementation of measures that can be used to prevent foodborne diseases.
“Winning this fellowship has made me to progress academically,” says Olotu. “It has increased my visibility and networks and significantly led to the development of my scientific, problem solving and communication skills. I’m looking forward to encouraging the participation of women and girls in science.”
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