Jun 30, 2022
One Planet Fellowship Progress Monitoring Meeting Reports Remarkable Mentoring Gains

On June 21-24, 2022,  One Planet Laureate Candidates and Mentors from the First Cohort of the One Planet Fellowship convened in Mombasa, Kenya, to review the progress made during their mentoring journey over the last two years.

A three-tiered mentoring model is a fundamental component of the One Planet Fellowship. One Planet Laureate Candidates are paired with more established African scientists (Mentors) carefully chosen to match their area of expertise and career objectives. The mentoring pairs commence a year-long mentorship relationship and are supported to build successful partnerships geared toward enhancing the Laureates’ career growth. In the third year of the Fellowship, the Laureate Candidates select emerging African and European scientists (also known as Learning Partners) to whom they serve as Mentors. This model creates a mentorship pod of three generations of scientists working on innovations to help African smallholder farmers adapt to a changing climate.

The Progress Monitoring Meeting (PMM), provided a platform for the Laureate-Mentor pairs to review and reflect on their mentoring journey while documenting lessons, refining, and setting the stage for the next mentoring phase that will include Learning Partners.

Presenting their progress since acceptance into the Fellowship in September 2019, the Laureate Candidates illustrated their personal and career journeys, highlighting their achievements, the hurdles, and opportunities along their path. The mentors’ unwavering support and guidance were a recurring highlight in all the presentations, recording the invaluable role the mentors played in shaping the Laureate Candidates’ career paths.

The Progress Monitoring Meeting marks a transition point for the Laureate Candidates as they embark on the next phase of the mentoring program, where they will serve as mentors.

Professor Job Lagat, a Mentor from Kenya and Associate Professor at Egerton University, appreciated the graphic illustrations of the PRMs, stating that art is a universal language everyone can relate to. He applauded the Laureate Candidates for their resilience and agility in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and its unprecedented challenges. Professor Lagat commended his mentee, Dr. Miriam Karwitha, a Lecturer at Egerton University. Dr. Karwitha was part of a technical team that developed and won a bidding proposal to have Egerton University host the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) Regional Research Centre (RRC), the first of such a center in sub-Saharan Africa.

Saumu Shaka, a One Planet Laureate Candidate and Senior Meteorologist at the Kenya Meteorological Department, highlighted how the mentorship has helped her relate better with junior colleagues at her workstation. She also appreciated the numerous learning opportunities the Fellowship has offered her, including the scientific writing and partnership skills she gained during the 2019 AWARD Science Week in Casablanca, Morocco, which she is putting to good use.

Dr. Said Mohammed making his remarks

The PMM provided an opportunity for continued collaborations on scientific publishing for the participants. Dr. Said Mohammed, a Mentor from Kenya and Senior Programme Officer at IUCN, expressed pride in a publication he is working on with two Laureate Candidates, including his mentee Dr. Kwaselema Malley from Tanzania, and Dr. Hussen Seid from Ethiopia. Speaking about his mentee, Dr. Said noted,

“My vision was for him to grow and achieve his career goals. He moved to resident training and was able to work in two locations, including a new consultancy role in Loliondo, Tanzania.”

Laureate Candidates Elias Gaveta, an Environmental Trainer at Peace Corps Malawi, and Dahan Kueshi, a Ph.D. student from Togo, singled out how the One Planet Fellowship has provided them opportunities at a global stage after appointment as 2021 World Bank Global Youth Climate Network Ambassadors in their respective countries.

For Dr. Alimata Bandaogo, a Laureate Candidate from Burkina Faso, writing her research projects in English was an obstacle she overcame after AWARD offered full sponsorship for her English classes. Dr. Bandaogo also achieved the rank of Research Master from the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (CAMES), a step towards her aspiration of becoming a Research Director in line with her career goals.

Professor Adebayo Shittu, a Mentor from Nigeria and Professor at the Federal University of Agriculture, acknowledged the resilience of his mentee,  Dr. Sarah Edewor, who, despite facing numerous rejections for grant funding, just started a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research. Professor Shittu noted that although he was the mentor, he has learned a lot from his mentee, whose determination has seen her progress towards achieving the objectives on her Purpose Road Map.

As the Mentors transition out of their roles, Dr. Paulette Taita, a Mentor from Burkina Faso, noted,

“AWARD gave us a chance to network, publish, and participate in scientific events. We are thankful. Generally, Francophones find it challenging to open up and work with others, but that has changed. Thank you for all the sessions that helped build our capacity to improve self-confidence and skills as we interacted with colleagues from across Africa”.

The One Planet Fellowship Mentors are selected based on the Laureate Candidates’ recommendation and AWARD’s assessment. AWARD offers the Mentors an opportunity to enhance their skills, knowledge, and networks through participating in AWARD training courses and supporting them attend international conferences.

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More photos of the Progress Monitoring Meeting are available on the AWARD Flickr page.


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