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Jan 1, 1970
AWARD Fellows at New Mexico State University

“Lifechanging” is how four AWARD Fellows describe their recent experience at New Mexico State University (NMSU) as the first participants in the prestigious, newly created Service Learning for Women (SLW) program.

The four participants were:

  • Chikondi Precious Chabvuta, 2010 AWARD Fellow, an environmental scientist, who is the Gender Coordinator with the Farmers’ Union of Malawi. Chabvuta has conducted pioneering work with eco-sanitation, teaching women in urban slums how to convert human waste into valuable, effective fertilizer.
  • Meaza Melkamu Abawari, 2010 AWARD Fellow, Food Security and Economic Growth Program Manager and a focal person for natural-resource management with Food for the Hungry in Ethiopia.
  • Anabela da Piedade Manhiça, 2010 AWARD Fellow, Senior Researcher and Head of the Technology Transfer Department at the Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique. A livestock veterinarian, Manhiça is researching technology transfer, with a special emphasis on animal nutrition.
  • Esther Wamono, 2009 AWARD Fellow, a nutrition officer with UNICEF, who works with women and children in the Karamoja region, a conflict zone in northeastern Uganda.

To view a photo gallery of the trip, visit the NMSU photo gallery.

Launched in September by NMSU and AWARD, the SLW program was aimed at empowering women from developing countries to achieve their highest potential and be catalysts for change.

NMSU chose four African women agricultural scientists to participate. They took part in a four-week (Sept. 12-Oct. 7) cross-cultural exchange at the university, with studies focusing on agricultural extension and leadership skills. The women attended classes and workshops, worked with mentors in their respective disciplines, met with state agricultural leaders, visited current agriculture and extension programs, and presented their experiences to local groups.

The program is the initiative of New Mexico philanthropist Linda Stout. Stout, whose grandparents were New Mexico homesteaders and parents were farmers, shares the African agriculturalists’ passion. “My youth was spent breathing the dry-land dust and hoping for rain and a good crop. My main farming job was driving tractors and grain trucks,” says Stout. “My vision in doing NMSU Service Learning for Women is that we will nurture and empower women who are already courageously pursuing careers in the agricultural sciences to reach their full leadership potential.”

As AWARD Fellows, these women have already been identified as leaders. Their participation in the NMSU-SLW program will allow them to not only expand their knowledge and research capabilities, but to network with others in agricultural research and extension leadership roles.

The SLW placements are given to women who have rarely had the opportunity to gain an international perspective, and are based on their potential to positively affect the lives of rural women in their respective countries, with whom they work.

“We are extremely proud of these four outstanding women who have such a passion for the rural poor,” said AWARD Director Vicki Wilde. “They exemplify the spirit of AWARD. We are deeply grateful to Linda Stout and NMSU for creating this opportunity, which will undoubtedly bear measurable results for years to come.”

For more information about NMSU Service Learning for Women, visit the NMSU website.

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