Feb 7, 2012
On the Road to Success: AWARD Fellows from Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia Report on their Career-path Progress at Regional Meeting

Agricultural research advanced, grants obtained, scholarships won, new knowledge acquired, and promotions received. These are just a few of the accomplishments of AWARD Fellows from Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia, who convened recently during an AWARD Regional Progress Monitoring Meeting in Chisamba, Zambia.

The 16 women scientists reported on their progress according to their “purpose road maps”—career goals they set after winning an AWARD Fellowship almost one year ago.

“I’m well on my way toward my goal of raising US$10,000 for my research on catfish and tilapia production systems,” confidently said Jacqueline Kazembe, a deputy chief fisheries officer in Malawi. “I learned how to write an effective proposal at an AWARD training course, I wrote a first draft, and I identified funding agencies to which I am going to submit my proposal in the next few months.”

Fellow Malawian Asimenye Nthakomwa echoed Kazembe’s enthusiasm. “I was offered a scholarship from the Tropical Biology Association to attend an upcoming short course in Madagascar,” reported Nthakoma, who just secured a new position as a program officer with the Malawian government’s Enhancing Community Resilience Programme. Her long-range career goal is to contribute to smallholder farmers’ ability to utilize forest resources sustainably through collaborative management, as a tool in climate change adaptation in sub Saharan Africa.

Angela Manjichi, manager of the Business Incubator Center at the Instituto Superior Politécnico de Manica in Mozambique, is pleased with her progress. “I attended a training workshop in gender and climate change mainstreaming in agricultural research, and I collected data for two articles that I plan to write on market access and technology adoption,” she said. “I also applied for a Fulbright PhD scholarship, and I passed the first phase of the process.”

The scientists were accompanied by their AWARD Mentors—senior scientists who have volunteered to coach and support an aspiring researcher in her career development over a two-year period.

“Being a mentor has been very eye-opening for me,” said Eustace Chanel Nkandu, a lecturer at the University of Zambia. Inspired by the success of Lorraine Chishimba, the AWARD Fellow whom he mentors, he drew up his own purpose road map, and is already seeing benefits. “I was accepted into PhD program, invited to join a government committee, and I have learned to mentor my university students better as a result of the training I received from AWARD.”

In the final year of the two-year fellowship, AWARD Fellows with advanced degrees are required to share their experience by mentoring a junior scientist themselves. Known as AWARD Fellows’ Mentees, these young women benefit from training courses offered by the fellowship. Four fellows’ mentees participated in the Zambia meeting.

“Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship that works two ways,” says Lizzie Kachulu, a plant breeder with CIAT, who is being mentored by AWARD Fellow Salome Malongo. “For instance, when networking, we introduce each other to useful contacts.”

The third and final AWARD regional meeting will be held in Mukono, Uganda from June 11-15 for participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.



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