Feb 7, 2022
Dr. Susan Kaaria Appointed as AWARD Director

Monday, February 7, 2022— African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) is excited to announce the appointment of its new Director, Dr. Susan Kaaria, effective February 21, 2022. A Kenyan national, Dr. Kaaria brings more than 20 years of experience in international development, working with a range of international organizations promoting gender equality and women empowerment in agriculture.

Before taking up the position of Director, AWARD, Dr. Kaaria was the Team Leader for Gender at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy, where she provided strategic leadership to the organization’s technical work on gender integration in agricultural policies, programs, and strategies. Dr. Kaaria is enthusiastic about her new role’s possibilities and seeks to promote women’s leadership as influential agents of change who can lead advances and innovations for ARD.

“I am thrilled to join  AWARD, an organization that is passionate about gender-responsive agricultural research and development (ARD). I look forward to leveraging my extensive experience to transform the lives of women and girls in Africa, ensuring that gender equality and women’s empowerment are central in all aspects of agricultural innovation,” said Kaaria.

Dr. Kaaria started her career as an Agricultural Extension Officer with the Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya, giving her firsthand experience of the challenges and opportunities confronting rural women and men. Since then, she has worked with various organizations, implementing global and country programs on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Professor Lateef Sanni, the AWARD Steering Committee (SC) chairperson, stated that the SC is confident in Dr. Kaaria’s capabilities to advance the organization’s agenda.

“We look forward to seeing Dr. Kaaria take AWARD to greater heights as she assumes her new role as Director. She has joined AWARD when the organization is preparing to chart a new strategic direction and identify ways of scaling its impacts,” said Professor Sanni.

Dr. Kaaria previously worked as a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation Office for Eastern Africa, managing a diverse portfolio of grants to expand livelihood opportunities for poor households in Eastern Africa. She has also worked as a Senior Scientist and Senior Research Fellow at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), where she led a program on “Enabling Rural Innovation,” implemented in Eastern and Southern Africa. She has published widely on agriculture and development and is co-editor of the book “Innovation Africa: Enriching Farmers’ Livelihoods”.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Kaaria assume the leadership of AWARD. Susan is not only highly knowledgeable on the global ARD landscape but is also passionate about women and gender equality, as well as leveraging greater synergy from gender balance and diversity. Her passion and expertise are exactly what AWARD needs now to grow into its next phase of advancing inclusive ARD in Africa,” said Professor. Tony Simons, Director General, ICRAF.

Dr. Kaaria holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University in the USA, and a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Eastern Africa in Kenya.

AWARD works toward inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity for Africa by strengthening the production and dissemination of more gender-responsive agricultural research and innovation. AWARD is hosted by the World Agroforestry (ICRAF), headquartered in Nairobi, 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.

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