The Gender Researchers’ Leadership and Mentoring Program is a collaboration of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and the CGIAR Generating Evidence and New Directions for Equitable Results (GENDER) Platform.
The GENDER Platform, through its capacity development strategy, is working towards a world where research on gender equality drives transformation towards equitable, sustainable, productive and climate-resilient food systems.
The GENDER Platform-AWARD collaboration focuses on strengthening researchers’ capacity to influence institutional processes towards gender-equitable and socially inclusive agricultural transformation.Targeting mid-career gender researchers in the CGIAR and partner institutes, the Program seeks to equip participants with practical tools to increase their visibility, gain influence, and accelerate the impact of gender research for global sustainable development.
Through the Gender Researchers’ Leadership and Mentoring Program, AWARD is committed to developing effective and confident gender research leaders who will promote the advancement of science, policy and practice or gender-equitable and sustainable agricultural development.
The Program consists of four main components:
Participants will undertake a customized leadership and negotiations skills training course designed to strengthen the leadership capabilities of gender scientists and enhance their knowledge on:
Targeted coaching sessions will support gender researchers in their journey toward advancing their careers. The six-month coaching is tailored to:
The mentoring package includes both mentoring sessions and mentoring training to equip the gender researchers with the knowledge of a formal mentoring process and the mentoring tools they can use to enhance their career pathways and those of emerging scientists.
The training provides a unique opportunity for both the mentors and mentees to explore how different aspects influence personal and working relationships and develop a solid foundation for a successful mentoring relationship. The mentoring sessions will bring together two generations of researchers connected and investing in each other: a mentor and a gender researcher.
Within their mentoring relationship, the mentors and gender researchers will meet regularly to discuss and document progress, challenges, and achievements against the goals set in their Purpose Road Maps.
It is hoped that the “graduates” of the Leadership and Mentoring Program will be influential leaders and role models who will strive to create a vibrant, visible community of practice. The community of practice will be designed as a network to share knowledge, learnings, and skills with peers and other stakeholders in the gender and agricultural development fields.
The “graduates” will be required to contribute to the CGIAR GENDER Platform’s annual conferences, which are some of the networking platforms that provide the opportunity to share
knowledge and forge collaborations within the CGIAR centers and beyond.
Gitta Shrestha is a Gender Specialist and a Researcher working at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Her research focuses on examining the reproduction of social and gender inequalities and their impact on the changing human-environment relations. She has also worked on migration, women in peace and conflict, water governance, gender in organizations, and masculinities. Gitta’s current research investigates gender in solar irrigation technologies, climate change and water-induced disasters, WASH, and rural agricultural development.
Gitta hopes to gain diverse life skills, including leadership, communication, problem-solving, self-management, and emotional intelligence through the Program. She also hopes to collectively strategize techniques for driving change in challenging environments and effectively communicate gender solutions to achieve high-level gender-transformative outcomes. “I see the Program as an opportunity to gain new skills, confidence, and clarity on working efficiently in an organized way with diverse teams and stakeholders from various cultural, social, political, or educational backgrounds,” she says.
Maimouna Ndour holds a Masters in Sociology of Development and Rurality. She has ten years of working experience in gender and diagnosing socioeconomic and cultural environments and twenty years working on technology transfer in several African countries. She is currently working at AfricaRice in Senegal.
Maimouna, who specializes in gender issues in agriculture, is working with women groups to help them improve their entrepreneurial and leadership skills. “I must improve my skills and methodologies to help the women better. I hope to gain new knowledge from the Program so that I can transform them into practical ways for my job and my career,” she says.
Tabby Karanja-Lumumba is a Research Scientist at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). A holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture and a Master’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics, Tabby is currently undertaking a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics. She is passionate about gender equality and has worked in gender research and development for eight years, focusing on gender dynamics in livestock value chains and livestock vaccine use. She is enthusiastic that the Program will propel her in becoming a confident, effective and influential gender research leader.
Scolastica Wambua is a Research Scientist working at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness Management from Egerton University and a Masters of Science in Agribusiness Management and Trade from Kenyatta University, Kenya, where she is currently undertaking her Ph.D. studies. Scolastica has worked with smallholder farmers in both crops and livestock sectors for over 13 years. Her research focuses on women empowerment and social inclusion through carrying out gender transformative research and implementing the results to empower women in agribusiness. Currently, she is a principal investigator in a project titled; Enhancing Indigenous Poultry production and Marketing Systems for Poverty Alleviation and Improved Food Security amongst Smallholder Households in Machakos, Kenya.
Esther Leah Achandi holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She has over ten years of research experience in Eastern Africa, covering Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Burundi, with expertise in agricultural value chains.
Currently, Esther is a Postdoctoral Fellow in gender at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Her research explores the role of different livestock species in giving women financial autonomy and how this autonomy contributes to women’s empowerment. She is also supporting four country teams, including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam.
Gloria Kukurije Adeyiga is a Researcher with the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), specializing in adapting agroforestry interventions to the local context. Gloria’s portfolio focuses on providing technical support to farmers across the Sahelian parklands of Ghana. Her research centers on developing the capacities of smallholder farmers in harnessing local resources and relationships for improving wellbeing and landscape health. Gloria is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Agroforestry at the University of Bangor, Wales, where she is mapping the pathways to gender transformation in a land restoration context.
Gloria looks forward to seeing women’s perspectives reflected in land restoration. She hopes the Program will sharpen the vision for the next phase of her career and help transform her into an excellent leader.
Hellen Opie is a Socio-Economist at the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute in Uganda, working in the dryland cereals program. She has nine years of experience in farming systems research concerning gender in crop variety and seed systems development. She is currently a Ph.D. research fellow at Makerere University, Uganda, in the Agricultural & Environmental Sciences College. Hellen is also passionate about innovation systems, and her research focuses on seed systems and gender issues in dryland crops resources.
Hellen notes that participating in the Gender Researchers’ Leadership and Mentoring Program will allow her to improve herself and become a competent gender scientist with the capacity to lead vibrant research teams and build robust networks through interactions with peers. She is motivated to find her footing as a confident and influential female scientist who can inspire and mentor younger researchers.
Isabel Lambrecht is a research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), focusing on land tenure and women’s empowerment. She employs quantitative and qualitative research methods and has experience in data collection and econometric analysis of survey data. In 2014, she obtained her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from KU Leuven University, Belgium, focusing on gender and integrated soil fertility management in Eastern DRC. After that, she was based in Ghana as an associate research fellow with IFPRI, researching land tenure and women’s empowerment. Currently, she is a research fellow based in Myanmar.
“Whereas I’m passionate about gender research, I have often found it challenging to advocate for it in our agricultural policy projects. I hope this course will help me to effectively communicate about the need for and findings from gender research and connect me to a broader network of gender researchers,” says Isabel.
Khadija Begum is working as a Gender and Youth Specialist at Pakistan’s International Water Management Institute (IWMI). She holds a double Masters in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a Masters in International Relations from Peshawar University, Pakistan. She has eighteen years of working experience in the development sector. Khadija’s area of interest is women empowerment, gender mainstreaming, gender analysis, and social inclusion. Being a social scientist, she believes research in agriculture and the water sector should include women’s perspectives. She wants to explore how mega projects in the agriculture and water sector impact women’s and men’s lives and whether they are contributing towards gender parity or increasing the disparity.
Through the Program, Khadija hopes to gain new skills that will enable her to contribute to and influence decisions at the policy /strategic level for gender mainstreaming and highlight the role of women in agricultural transformation more effectively.
Eileen Bogweh Nchanji is a gender expert with the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) under the Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance. Eileen leads strategic gender research on seed, breeding, entrepreneurship, climate, and nutrition across 31 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is a feminist to the core and believes in equal opportunities and fairness for all. Before joining the Alliance, she worked with the Center for International Forestry Research and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
Eileen is looking forward to learning how to lead change, drive performance, and cultivate people in innovative and creative ways to achieve gender-equitable outcomes. “To be a leader, you have to be willing to learn,” she says. She is also hoping to build networks and join forums to accelerate the impact of gender by influencing the institutional processes towards gender-equitable and socially inclusive agricultural transformation worldwide.
Olamide Deborah Olaosebikan specializes in social research to inform gender-responsive and inclusive breeding, variety development-dissemination, and seed systems in roots, tubers, and banana (RTB) crop at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and holds an MSc and a B. Agric in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development. Olamide seeks to achieve transformative agricultural livelihoods for rural youth, women, and men. Her current research explores mixed methods, participatory and interdisciplinary approaches to capture gender sensitivity, dynamics, needs, priorities, and challenges stakeholders experience within the agricultural value chain to mainstream gender perspectives in breeding program design and implementation.
Through the Program, she hopes to gain new skills. She references a quote from Jim Rhon, “be like a sponge when it comes to each new experience. If you want to be able to express it well, you must first be able to absorb it well”.
Susan Ajambo is an Associate Scientist working with the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Uganda. Her gender-oriented research experience includes crop pests and diseases, mainly bananas, seed systems, and value chain analyses and upgrading. Her research focuses on identifying barriers to women’s access to improved agricultural technologies, developing and testing innovative strategies and modalities to address gender inequities, and integrating gender-responsive and transformative approaches in project designs and M&E process. Susan’s areas of expertise include qualitative research design, data management and analysis, participatory methods, gender research methods and concepts, sustainable development, and disaster management.
Rachel Voss is a Gender Specialist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Kenya. Her work focuses on social inclusion in maize seed systems and related value chains in eastern and southern Africa. It also includes research on gendered product preferences, intrahousehold dynamics, and differentiated access to productive resources and technologies. Before joining CIMMYT, Rachel researched gender dynamics in the context of seed adoption, climate change adaptation, ICT-enabled extension, soil management, and digital financial services in Senegal. She has a B.A. in International Studies from the American University in Washington DC and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Rachel is looking forward to connecting with other gender researchers. “Because transforming institutions and challenging outdated thinking and practices is not work that we can or should do alone,” she says.
Berber Kramer is a senior research fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and is currently outposted to Nairobi, Kenya. Her research focuses on financial inclusion and resilience, and in particular on innovations in agricultural insurance and seed systems that can help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change. She leads a research program that aims to strengthen agricultural insurance and finance in Ethiopia, India, and Kenya through picture-based crop insurance, using smartphone images of targeted crops to monitor crop health and management.
In other projects, she uses high-frequency panel data and (laboratory) field experiments to analyze health and financial decision-making in rural households, the role of polygamy, and trust between actors in agricultural value chains. She is the Editor-in-Chief for the Social Science section of Development Engineering. Dr. Kramer joined IFPRI in 2013 and has a Ph.D. in Economics from the Tinbergen Institute in the Netherlands.
Thelma Akongo is a Social Development Specialist and practicing development planner, working with the National Agricultural Research organization. She holds a Ph.D. in Gender, Policy, and Rural Development, a Postgraduate Diploma in Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E), MSc and BSc degrees in crop science.
Thelma is experienced in natural and social science research, specifically crop science and commodity development. She is well vast with experimental and social research methodologies, quantitative and qualitative data inquiry procedures, data collection tools and methods, analysis, and reporting. She aspires to be a competent and professional leader in science and make significant contributions towards gender research.
Linda Etale is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the CGIAR GENDER Platform. She has experience in evidence-based research and implementation of development programs in gender, natural resources management, land use, land rights, food security, and livelihoods development. Her research focuses on evidence generation and adoption for the transformation of food systems while contributing to women’s empowerment in the agriculture sector. Linda received a Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Science from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She also holds an MSc degree in Education for Sustainability and a BA in International Relations.
Linda’s expectation from the Program is to be empowered to lead as a gender researcher effectively. She also wants to learn from the experiences of like-minded people in her field.
Sarah Mayanja is an agro ecologist working as a gender scientist with the International Potato Center, Uganda. She holds an MSc in agroecology and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in agroecology and food systems. Sarah has extensive experience in gender-responsive seed systems, breeding, and value chain development. Her work spans the greater East African region and, more recently, in southern Africa.
Sarah is an AWARD Fellow. She hopes the AWARD Leadership Program will equip her with the skills to navigate the research and corporate world. She seeks to contribute to propelling the gender equality agenda to fruition.
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