Mar 23, 2011
USAID Commends Mozambican AWARD Fellows

Leslie Rowe, U.S. ambassador to Mozambique, (front row, second from right) recognized the research work of 11 AWARD Fellows during the annual opening lecture at the Instituto Superior de Ciências e Tecnologia de Moçambique (ISCTEM) on March 21, 2011 in Maputo. The event, attended by some 200 students, faculty, and guests, was part of the institution’s Women’s Month celebrations, organized in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Five-man football teams don’t win many matches and countries that sideline half their populations aren’t likely to be world leaders, said Leslie Rowe, U.S. ambassador to Mozambique.

“Women and their contributions are central to a healthy economy and society, and a viable political system,” said Rowe during the annual opening lecture at the Instituto Superior de Ciências e Tecnologia de Moçambique (ISCTEM) on March 21, 2011 in Maputo. The event, attended by some 150 students, faculty, and guests, was part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Women’s Month celebrations, organized in partnership with ISCTEM.

“If more than half the world’s people are not given the chance to reach their full potential, then the possibilities for solving the world’s problems also drops by more than half,” remarked the ambassador, emphasizing that women’s issues are everyone’s issues. “Empowering women is not just a secondary or tertiary goal compared to other more important issues, but is vital for the national security of every nation. For that reason, the United States is dedicated to advancing the status of women at home and abroad.”

Education is critical to advancing the status of women, noted Rowe. She commended 11 leading Mozambican women agricultural scientists who are working to alleviate poverty through their research. All are fellows of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), a project supported by USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

AWARD’s goal is to strengthen the research and leadership skills of African women in agricultural science, empowering them to contribute more effectively to poverty alleviation and food security in sub-Saharan Africa. The project offers two?year, career-development fellowships focused on mentoring, building science skills, and developing leadership capacity.

The Mozambican researchers were selected from among 1,681 applicants from 450 institutions in 10 African countries who have competed for one of 180 AWARD Fellowships offered since the project began in 2008.

“Scientists are on the cutting edge of solving Africa’s food crisis. But we need to urgently address the gender gap in our scientific community,” said Karen Homer, AWARD Communications Manager, during the event. “Women produce, process, and market up to 80 percent of Africa’s food, but only one in four agricultural researchers in Africa is female. And only one in seven holds a position of leadership. We need more women to pursue careers in agricultural science and to hold positions of influence if we are to improve food security long-term.”

Six of the 11 AWARD Fellows are staff members of the Mozambique Agriculture Research Institute (IIAM), which USAID supports in its work to strengthen the country’s agricultural research system capacity and promote the adoption of improved agricultural technologies.

To effect change in agriculture or society at large, both women and men must work together, said Rowe, commending groups like Homens pela Mudança em Moçambique (Men for Change in Mozambique), an alliance of organizations led by men committed to advancing the status of women.

“Any man who would like to see real progress within his family and within his country should push as much for the education of his daughters, sisters, and wife, as for the boys and men in his family,” said Rowe. “Mozambican civil society, government, business, and international partners must all work to increase the number and quality of educational and economic opportunities for women. The United States will continue to work together with Mozambique and its people in this vitally important effort through programs like AWARD.”

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After the ambassador’s address, the researchers participated in a panel discussion on women’s access to education, science and technology—the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.  Dr. Rafael Uaiene, a senior researcher with the International Food Policy Institute who volunteers as a mentor with AWARD, moderated the proceedings.

“You must be passionate about science to succeed,” said Paula Pimentel, a senior researcher at IIAM, who specializes in livestock technology transfer.  She encouraged the students in the audience to study hard to ensure they are equally competent as their male counterparts.

 Dácia Correia, Head of the Para-Clinical Department at Eduardo Mondlane University, spoke about the importance of building networks in the scientific community. “It is crucial to establish networks of like-minded people who can tackle the barriers to women’s career development together. Mozambique is still behind in science and technology and networks are important to achieve the desired development; we cannot do it alone.”

Mozambique’s AWARD Fellows

  • Esperança Rosita Elias Chamba, Researcher and Head of Cooperation
    Mozambique Agriculture Research Institute
  • Dácia Alzira de Augusto Correia, Head of Para-Clinical Department
    Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology Center
    Lecturer, Pharmacology and Toxicology and Researcher, Environmental Toxicology
    Eduardo Mondlane University
  • Filomena dos Anjos , Senior lecturer
    Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
    Eduardo Mondlane University
  • Marta Celeste Francisco, Research and Communications Manager
    Mozambique Agriculture Research Institute
  • Dr. Maria Alexandra Jorge, Genebank manager
    International Livestock Research Institute
  • Sónia Maciel, Specialist in Reproduction
    Mozambique Agriculture Research Institute
  • Anabela da Piedade Manhiça, Senior researcher and Head of Technology Transfer Department
    Mozambique Agriculture Research Institute
  • Carla Menezes, Head of Nutrition Division
    Mozambique Agriculture Research Institute
  • Dr. Isilda Nhantumbo, Senior researcher
    Forests and Climate Change Group
    International Institute for Environment and Development
  • Paula Pimentel, Senior researcher
    Mozambique Agriculture Research Institute
  • Alda Tomo, Research assistant
    Socio-Economic Research Studies Center
    Mozambique Agriculture Research Institute


To read more about the Mozambican scientists, visit:

  1. Mozambique Fellows
  2. http://www.usaid.gov/press/frontlines/fl_feb11/FL_feb11_WMoz.html


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