• We need to make sure we are investing in the scientists of the future

    The impacts of global warming are increasingly evident, particularly in developing countries, including in sub-Saharan Africa. How do you see African scientists responding to the climate crisis?

    If we are going to adapt to living on our continent in a warming world, then Africa has to develop its own scientific capacity to address the increasingly complex challenges we face in a time of climate change.

  • Dr Wude Tsega on tropical livestock production

    Dr. Wude Tsega is a researcher at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research. She is visiting the Roslin Institute as part of her fellowship with the organisation African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and funding from the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health through a BBSRC GCRF-STARS award.

  • Personality Profile: How a Ghanaian Scientist is working to decrease Ghana’s dependence on tomato paste (Part II)

    The first part of this was published last week and both episodes have been culled from a recent interview I had with Dr. Mavis Owureku-Asare, a recipient of the OWSD Early Career Fellowship, a prestigious fellowship that awards up to $50,000 to women who have completed their doctorates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) on Breakfast Daily on Citi TV.

    I learned about her very ambitious research that she hopes will help solve our dependence on imported tomato paste by proposing the use of a cost-effective method to produce tomato paste locally.

    Her research focuses on finding a simple and convenient solution to the processing problems by leveraging technology to reduce post-harvest losses of tomato.

  • IVVN African Schools Outreach Programme celebrated at the Scottish Parliament

    A reception at the Scottish Parliament this week celebrated the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network's African Schools Outreach Programme and other University of Edinburgh-based work on tackling gender inequality in science in Scotland and internationally.

  • Gender and leadership in Africa: Exploring the nexus, trends, and opportunities

    The topic of leadership, as a process and a complex set of interactions to motivate and inspire others, has been, in the context of Africa, a matter of interest and research over the past six decades. A study by Fourie, van der Merwe, and van der Merwe (2017) documented some 114 peer-reviewed research articles on leadership in Africa. 

  • New report highlights need for gender equality to achieve agricultural growth goals in Africa

    Lomé, Togo, - Many African governments have committed to promoting inclusive agricultural growth in recent years, but their efforts often neglect the key role played by gender, according to a new report. Evidence shows that gender differences are affecting African countries’ ability to meet their goals of ending hunger, reducing poverty, boosting trade, and increasing resilience to climate change and other risks.

  • African Green Revolution Forum 2019

    From September 3 to 6 2019, over 2000 delegates will gather in Accra (Ghana) to participate in one of the year most anticipated conference on African Agriculture. Convened by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) “is considered the world’s most important and impactful forum for African agriculture, pulling together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward.”

  • Recherche scientifique au Sénégal : 10% de représentativité de la femme qui nécessite un travail en amont.

    Ce matin, s'est déroulé le 2e forum des femmes dans la recherche scientifique qui se tient pour la première fois au Sénégal, en terre francophone. Dans le cadre de la recherche, à travers le monde, l'inégalité liée à la représentativité de la femme dans la recherche est de 11%, selon la représentante du ministre de l'enseignement supérieur qui prenait part à ce forum.

  • Il faut renforcer le rôle des femmes dans l'agriculture (Wanjiru K. Rutenberg, sécretaire executif AWARD)

    L'initiative scientifique venant des femmes est remarquable surtout avec l'accueil du Sénégal du 2e forum sur la recherche scientifique des femmes. Le recherche agricole est cependant l'une des initiatives qui pourront conduire au développement de l'Afrique.

  • Gender-Responsive Agricultural Research for Development Course

    African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) works toward inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity for the African continent. It does so by strengthening the production and dissemination of more gender-responsive agricultural research and innovation. Gender-responsive agricultural research takes into account different gender dynamics depending on the purpose of a study. For example, it can be strategic (research focusing mainly on gender in the field of agriculture), or it can be integrative (gender components are integrated into agricultural research that is not per se focused on gender).

  • For Women to ‘Deliver,' They Need Power

    Last week, self-proclaimed feminist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put his money where his mouth is. To a global audience of 8,000 gender-equality advocates, Trudeau announced that the federal government would gradually increase international aid for women’s health — including sexual and reproductive health rights — to $1.4 billion by 2023. Read more

  • Kenyan Scientific Researcher Promotes Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato to Mitigate Hunger

    "Potato is the second important crop after maize and with short period of maturity and immense potential in terms of food security in Kenya and Africa. Am encouraging women farmers to grow more potato to feed our children and fill our food basket."


  • Fighting for Science in the Shadow of Al-Shabaab

    When Nina Wambiji climbs into a boat on the northern Kenyan coast, she always does so with some trepidation. “Working in the ocean is scary. You can drown, or be eaten by a shark. Al-Shabaab is just another scary thing on the list,” she says.

  • Gender Equality in African Agriculture: An Innovation Imperative

    President Barack Obama once highlighted the importance of leveraging the talents of Africa’s women using the analogy of a football match. He pointed out that any team that decides to only put half its players on the field is destined to lose the match.

    Africa is playing a life-and-death match when it comes to food security, especially in the context of climate change and population growth. The need for the talents of a full team is more urgent than ever.

  • Africa Seeks New Green Development Model

    BARCELONA, March 18, (RTRS): African countries must tackle climate change with a new economic model rooted in clean energy, forest protection and technology to support farmers – but they will need more investment and research to make that happen, leaders said on Thursday. 

    French President Emmanuel Macron, who hosted the “One Planet” climate summit in Nairobi, highlighted the example of West Africa’s Solar Mamas, a group of female engineers who install solar systems in their villages.

    Their work both improves their social position and brings renewable energy to local people, he said.

  • Call for Inclusiveness in the Fight against Climate Change

    The One Planet Summit is an annual gathering of government, corporate and civil society leaders to discuss methods of battling climate change, alongside pledges to embrace clean energy such as wind, geothermal and solar.

    Kenya Thursday made a pledge to achieve at least 10 percent forest cover in the next three years, even as the country struggles with fresh cases of settling in woodlands.

  • AWARD Director Selected Among the Speakers at the One Planet Summit Opening Assembly in Nairobi

    APO Group (www.APO-opa.com ), the leading media relations consultancy and press release distribution service in Africa and the Middle East, has been named the Official Newswire of the One Planet Summit 

  • Africa Needs Cash, Science for New Model of Green Development - Leaders

    BARCELONA, March 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African countries must tackle climate change with a new economic model rooted in clean energy, forest protection, and technology to support farmers - but they will need more investment and research to make that happen, leaders said on Thursday. 

  • French Leader, Others Urge Speed in Climate Change Fight

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — France's president and others made passionate calls on Thursday to speed up the fight against climate change, telling a United Nations environmental summit that impatience is growing among those who will inherit the battle.

    "Our youth tell us, 'You are not moving fast enough.' They have reason to be impatient because we've acted too slowly," French President Emmanuel Macron said. "The best response to climate change is not words, but actions."

  • Africa Needs to Find Own Solutions to Climate Change Problem

    NAIROBI, Kenya — Leaders and experts say Africa must find its own solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. French President, Emmanuel Macron, said Thursday that energy resources, like coal, that fueled industrialization in the developed world are no longer viable because they create pollution.

  • “Every intervention I undertake is gender responsive”

    Faith Milkah Muniale an agricultural researcher, discusses her involvement in the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellowship, and her work with indigenous Kenyan communities and women’s role in agricultural research.

  • Investing in women’s leadership skills

    Dr Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), discusses the importance of gender responsiveness and building women’s confidence across the agricultural sector.

  • Emerging scientist: Chikondi Manyungwa-Pasani

    Chikondi Manyungwa-Pasani is pursuing a PhD at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, where her WorldFish and FISH-funded research focuses on the role of women in small-scale fish value chains in Malawi. She also works as a Chief Fisheries Officer at the Department of Fisheries in Malawi. She was awarded the inaugural Rosemary Firth Award for best presentation at the 2016 IIFET conference and a fellowship as part of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (2008–2010). Here, she talks about the research she is most proud of and why going to the field is her favorite part of the job.

  • ​ ​ Achieving Woman Scientist Fiona Mumoki saving the world one bee at a time

    2015  African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellow, Fiona Mumoki recently received a fellowship award in the Regional programme L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Africa. The programme has over the last 20 years recognised female scientists and funded research projects that make an impact to the world. Fiona opens up about her journey to a scientist changing the world, one bee at a time.

  • AWARD director and mentors recognized as some of the Faces of Kenyan Science

    At the centre of Africa Science Week-Kenya is a flagship Faces of Kenyan Science campaign, a nationwide multi-media and multi-platform campaign featuring 20 exceptional Kenyan researchers, practitioners, innovators, educators, tinkerers and makers of all stripes. Throughout the week, the initiative shares stories of their work and scientific journeys through a number of creative outlets such as podcasts, social, media, and public events. The campaign also features interesting facts about Kenya’s long history of excellence in science, connecting the public both to Kenya’s scientific past and its scientific future. Meet the Faces of Kenyan Science campaign, among them AWARD Director, Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg and AWARD Mentors Prof. Mary Abukutsa and Prof. Mabel Imbuga.

  • CIMMYT celebrates AWARD’s ten years of empowering African women in agricultural research

    The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center’s (CIMMYT) gender team joined African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) to celebrate its ten years of empowering women with essential skills and knowledge. The AWARD program advocates for a more gender-responsive agricultural research ecosystem. This is key in driving a more sustainable and inclusive agricultural growth in Africa. The tenth anniversary event took place in Nairobi on November 29, 2018. Rahma Adam, Gender and Development Scientist, and Kristie Drucza, Gender and Social Inclusion Researcher, showcased the work that CIMMYT’s gender team has done on maize and wheat-based farming systems, not just in Africa, but globally

  • Six Takeaways from COP24 Business and Industry Day

    As new scientific research elucidates the need to take urgent and comprehensive climate action on the global level, business charted paths to a low-carbon economy at a major event in Katowice, Poland. At what has been billed as the most important global climate conference since the Paris Agreement was adopted at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) three years ago, business discussed how to collectively raise climate ambition at the COP24 Business and Industry Day in Katowice. Among the six key takeaways from the day’s discussions was the need to talk about gender where a powerful series of remarks came from Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Director of African Women in Agriculture (AWARD), in Kenya. Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg explained that it is impossible to talk about climate adaptation in Africa without talking about agriculture – and the way African agriculture is produced is very gendered.

  • Celebrating Achievements of Women in Livestock Development During AWARD@10

    To enhance the capacity of its women scientists, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has benefited from the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellowship over the last 10 years. Several women working at ILRI have benefited from AWARD’s fellowships and training programs which seek to strengthen research and leadership skills. ILRI joined AWARD in marking its tenth anniversary as they too celebrated the gains made by some of the women beneficiaries.

  • Meet the Women who Shape Agricultural Research Policy

    The gender gap when it comes to access of land, uptake of technology, fertilizer and markets has always been unfavourable for women not just in Kenya, but globally. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that if women were given the same access as men, yields on their farms would increase by about 30 per cent, and world hunger would reduce by close to 15 per cent. However, the reality of the disparity exists, and it is even greater among women in agricultural research. Smart Harvest sampled a few notable women in research to talk about their research, input and the lessons they have learnt.

  • Women Scholars Urged to Seize Global Opportunities

    African women scholars have been urged to be less cautious and take advantage of international opportunities open to them in respect of scholarships, fellowships, grants, leadership positions, and career advancement. Speaking at the Sixth African Higher Education and Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) Biennial Conference in Nairobi, African Women in Agriculture Research and Development (AWARD) Director, Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, emphasized that time is now ripe to transform universities and research institutions to enable them to support and nurture women scientists.

  • AWARD Deputy Director Visit JIC to Celebrate Success and Build on Partnership

    It has been two years of partnership between African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and the John Innes Centre (JIC). Since 2016, the collaboration has seen bidirectional researcher placements, joint grant proposals, new institutional collaborators and the preparation of the next AfriPlantSci masterclass. AWARD's Deputy Director Programs, Michèle Mbo’o Tchouawou, visited JIC to celebrate successes and build upon the last two years of partnership. Her visit provided fresh insight into the continued work of AWARD, and the opportunity to reflect on the last few years. 

  • GhaWARD empowers SHS students at the Bright Future Career Fair

    Ghanaian Women in Agricultural Research and Development (GhaWARD) organized a role modelling event for young women from various Senior High Schools and graduates within the Greater-Accra, Eastern, Central, Western and Volta regions, to introduce them to various career opportunities in agriculture research and development and other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) domains. Dr Angela Parry-Hanson Kunadu, First Vice President of GhaWARD and 2015 AWARD Fellow, said the event is aimed at changing the minds of many young ladies on some misconceptions about certain courses in their various schools.

  • Start of a New Journey: Arshni’s Path Towards Becoming a Mentor

    To kick-off the eighth round of the AWARD Fellowship, a mentoring orientation workshop for the selected fellows and their mentors was held on February 19-23, 2018. The current cohort of AWARD Fellows is truly global comprising 28 scientists drawn from 8 Francophone and 4 Anglophone African countries, Spain, Fiji and Bangladesh. Among the participants at this workshop were Arshni Shandil and her mentor Logotonu Waqainabete from Fiji. 

  • AWARD Fellows at Laboratory of Food Analysis

    From October 2016 on, the Laboratory of Food Analysis hosts two AWARD fellows: Mrs. Marguerite Niybituronsa (Ruanda) and Mrs. Ifeoluwa Adekoya (Nee Olotu) (Nigeria). AWARD is a career-development program that since 2008 has equipped top women agricultural scientists across sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate agricultural gains by strengthening their science and leadership skills, through tailored fellowships.

  • Celebrating Women and Girls in Science: Recognizing Hidden Potential and Opening Career Opportunities

    I'm hugely excited to be part of the second annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This day both enables us to celebrate the contributions that women and girls make in the realm of science, and inspires us to redouble our efforts to make agricultural science [as well as other critically important fields in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)] more welcoming to women and girls.

  • Ubuntu is at the Heart of Agriculture

    AWARD Director Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg is part of the February 2017 AgriLeaders Journal.

  • Who is YPARD? Understanding Our Community Identity

    Never doubt the power of the right question asked at the right moment. Who is YPARD Kenya? asked Monica Kapiriri, a trainer with the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). The question put a pause on the conversation immediately.

    Here we were, the mentors and mentees, gathered in Naivasha, Kenya as part of the closing workshop of YPARD's face-to-face pilot mentoring program which has been running for the past 12 months in Kenya.

  • AWARD's Director wins the 2016 New African Woman in Education award

    Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Winnifred Selby and Almaz Ayana are among the top African game-changers, recognised tonight at the 2016 New African Woman Awards in London.

    The Awards, held at the Andaz Hotel in London, recognise African women who have been instrumental in shaping their societies and pay tribute to individuals who have made significant contributions in various fields within and outside the continent.

  • Society honours leading female African agricultural scientists

    The Society has awarded five new Fellows of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) programme free membership for five years in recognition of their work. The programme equips female agricultural scientists across sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen their research and leadership skills. The organisation’s work aims to contribute to the prosperity of African smallholder farmers, most of whom are women. To date, 460 African women scientists from 11 countries have benefited as AWARD Fellows.

  • Healing plants to feed a nation

    Motivated by a desire to develop solutions for farmers to combat crop losses and help ease their suffering, AWARD Fellow Miriam Otipa pursued a career as a scientist, becoming a leading plant researcher in Kenya.

    “It is incredibly fulfilling for me to see such progress, as farmers can now confidently diagnose and treat their plants. Instead of throwing out sick plants, farmers are able to fight crop losses and have the chance to adopt new farming practices that help them proactively boost their harvests and incomes.”

  • AWARD featured in African Union publication

    Invest in Africa 2015 is an official publication of the African Union, launched at the 25th African Union Summit in Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africa, on 7-15 June.

    The publication explores the important role of the African Union and highlights its initiatives in key areas, such as regional integration and foreign direct investment. It also analyses the African continent's investment opportunities across a wide range of industrial sectors and looks at the African Union's international partnerships.

    To mark the African Union's Year of Women's Empowerment, the publication includes a focus on the critical role of women in African society and how gender equality is central to achieving sustainable development for all.

  • Non-Profit spotlight AWARD – empowering African women scientists and fostering a cross-regional alliance

    AWARD was mentioned in the American Geographical Society Newsletter for its strong belief in changing the current agricultural status quo- where by many women across Africa enroll in agricultural science programs but face discouraging male-dominated dynamics in the workplace- by equipping top women scientists with the tools to have a stronger voice and position in the agriculturall research workforce.

  • What can the world do to improve food security for all nations

    AWARD Fellow Bettie Kawonga talks candidly to Cultures Magazine on how the World can help improve food security for all Nations.

  • Deutsche Welle interviews AWARD Fellowship Laureates

    Swahili radio journalist Carolyne Tsuma discusses the work and impact of the AWARD Fellowship to female agricultural scientists and researchers in Africa. In this candid interview, titled Wanawake Watafiti, AWARD Fellows Frida Nyamete (Tanzania) and Norah Ndege (Kenya) talk about their engagement with AWARD and their current research work.

  • Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women Agricultural ScientistsAfrica Renewal | Special Edition on Agriculture 2014

    AWARD Fellows from across Africa are advancing in their careers and their research that benefits smallholder farmers.

  • Report reveals low participation of women in agricultural research

    The 2014 ASTI report reveals that for a sample of 37 sub-Saharan African countries, only 22 percent of all agricultural researchers are female. Southern African countries employed comparatively more female researchers, whereas women’s representation in agricultural research in West Africa, as well as in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and DR Congo, was particularly low, at 10 percent or less.

    “The new ASTI data show that the share of women researchers aged 40 or younger is twice the share of agricultural researchers in their 50s and 60s, which could indicate a shift toward greater gender balance over time,” says Nienke Beintema, co-author of the 2014 ASTI report.

    “AWARD recognizes both the need and potential for increased participation of women scientists and agricultural researchers at higher levels of policy making,” says Marco Noordeloos, AWARD’s acting Deputy Director for Outreach and Learning. “This is why we have invested in the career development of nearly 1,000 women scientists and professionals in sub-Saharan Africa.”

    African women continue to face unique challenges when pursuing careers in agricultural research, and ASTI’s latest study reaffirms the potential that a program like AWARD holds to strengthen their careers and increase their influence in the sector.

  • Reflections on 2014 World Food Prize Mavis Owureku-Asare

    Mavis Owureku-Asare is a specialist in food preservation and post-harvest management of fresh agricultural produce. She is a Research Scientific Officer at the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute - Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. She earned her BSc in Nutrition and Food Science and MPhil in Food Science, both from the University of Ghana.

  • Low cost device helps farmers to reduce waste

    Smallholder farmers to greatly benefit from the development of Coolbot, a cold storage technology expected to contribute to the reduction of postharvest losses. AWARD Fellow and lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Dr. Jane Ambuko, who is spearheading the piloting of the Coolbot Innovation in Africa, recently spoke to journalist, Maureen Odiwuor of the Standard Newspaper, at the Second African Conference of Science Journalists held in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • Becoming a top female fisheries researcher in Kenya

    Rabbitfish researcher Nina Wambiji talks about AWARD  has helped her become a leading expert in her field in this video produced by SciDev.  

  • Investing in female scientists to feed Africa

    AWARD Director Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg speaks about investing in female scientists to feed Africa in this video interview with SciDev.net. She outlines the daunting challenge facing Africa: to rapidly expand agricultural production so that the continent can feed itself. Women currently produce the majority of Africa’s food but are severely underrepresented in agricultural research and development. Kamau-Rutenberg argues that it is therefore imperative to invest in female researchers. Only by fully using this resource will Africa be able to meet its food needs. 

  • Growing Kenyan Greens on an American Balcony

    “Women scientists in Africa are a tremendous investment, but the return is absolutely spectacular,” says Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, AWARD Director, speaking to Afronline.org.

  • Free Insects Reduce Feeding Cost for Fish Farmers

    Some smallholder commercial fish farmers in the South-South region of Nigeria are reducing feeding costs by about 15 percent through provision of free insects for fish to consume all night long.

    Ebinimi Ansa, an aquaculture researcher and African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellow, who has been at the forefront of innovative aquaculture researches, says “Even when there is no electricity supply, hanging a lantern on poles near the fish pond can produce the same result.” She says this is more easily achieved in places where there is vegetation, especially in rural areas that are surrounded by thick vegetation.

  • How Passion and Focus Helped Scientist Achieve Her Dream

    Can a nine-year-old be influenced to pursue her dream? AWARD Mentor Professor Wanjiku Chiuri is living proof that it is possible. She shares with Kenya’s Management magazine.

  • AGRA’s Jane Karuku: Africa’s own Green Revolution Cannot Happen Without Women

    Jane Karuku talks about AGRA’s goal to help smallholder farmers (70 percent of whom are women) overcome daily challenges, and her organization’s valued partnership with AWARD.

  • A New Market for Dried Tomatoes in Ghana?

    The tomato is one of the basic elements in African cooking; and Ghana is no exception to the rule. Although a tomato producer (350,000 tons per year/FAO), the country imports a large quantity to meet the population's needs, primarily because nearly 40-50 percent of tomatoes produced in Ghana are lost or discarded as post harvest losses. However, solutions exist to reduce these losses and they involve, in particular the development of processing activities, that engage smallholder women farmers, as is being done by Mavis Owureku-Asare, an AWARD Fellow and research scientific officer at the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission.

  • AWARD Fellow Damaris Odeny Shares the Stage with Michelle Obama, Laura Bush at First Ladies Summit

    Newsone | August 6, 2014

    Following a rousing performance by the Soul Children of Chicago, who managed to get every First Lady on their feet during their performance, CNN International’s Isha Sesay moderated the “Public Private Partnerships: Fostering Women’s Economic Participation and Promoting Healthy Lives Through Technology and Training” panel as a part of U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush’s second First Ladies’ Summit.


  • Report Sheds New Light on Gender Gaps in Agriculture

    African research institutes need to provide policymakers with better evidence on what works to close the large gap in agricultural production between men and women, says a report. The joint report published by the World Bank and US-headquartered ONE Campaign aims at providing policymakers and researchers with an assessment of Africa’s gender gap in agriculture and to address the challenge. AWARD Director Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg comments on the report in this article.

  • Investing in Women Scientists for a Food-Secure Africa

    Women are central to achieving food security on the African continent. Yet, while women make up a large percentage of the agricultural labor force, they are underrepresented as researchers. Women comprise only about a quarter of agricultural research scientists in Africa, and only one in seven decision makers at African agricultural research institutions are female.

    AWARD is seeking to change this landscape by building the capacities of a growing pool of woman agricultural scientists in Africa. Through skills-building, leadership training, and mentoring, AWARD trains these women scientists as leaders in the agricultural science sector.

  • Mushroom Farming Means Opportunity and Better Nutrition in Tanzania

    Delphina Peter Mamiro is mad about mushrooms.

    This senior lecturer at Tanzania’s Sokoine University of Agriculture is convinced that local farmers can learn to profitably produce oyster mushrooms in order to improve their household nutrition and generate income for their families. One of 390 African women scientists to win a fellowship from African Women in Agricultural Research and Development, a program supported by Feed the Future and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Mamiro is helping advance food security in Tanzania by focusing her research and field work on a nutritious and high-value crop traditionally harvested by women.

  • AWARD Innovators Sweep Science Category in Kenya's 2014 “Top 40 Under 40 Women”

    We are proud to congratulate three women from AWARD's community who were recognized for their remarkable contributions to agricultural science in Africa and its advancement: Dr. Sheila Ommeh, 2009 AWARD Fellow; Dr. Charity Mutegi, AWARD Pilot Program Fellow/Mentor, and Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, AWARD Director.
    For the past six years, Kenya's Business Daily, the leading regional business publication, has invited readers to nominate Kenyan women under age 40, who in their view have made significant achievements in various segments of society and the economy. These outstanding women have broken the career glass ceiling early and are headed for success. The judges’ choices for 2014 were recently published in a special “Top 40 Under 40” issue. AWARD's three nominees swept the science category.


    Related links:

  • AWARD Grows Women in Agricultural Research

    Kenyan AWARD Fellow Jacqueline Karithi, a doctoral student at the University of Cape Town, is featured in this article about her field research in Kenya’s Mount Elgon region.

  • Ininda, the Scientist with a Knack for Turning Every Seed into Gold

    AWARD Pilot Program Fellow Dr. Jane Ininda has produced and commercialized 26 different maize strains and 180 other crop varieties with fellow scientists, which are planted in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, and South Africa, and she is not about to stop.

  • Nine Kenyan Women Nominated for Agricultural Research Award

    Nine Kenyan women are among 70 agricultural scientists from 11 countries across Africa to benefit from the AWARD Fellowship. AWARD Fellows benefit from a two-year career-development program focused on fostering mentoring partnerships, building science skills, and developing leadership capacity.

  • More Women Scientists Needed to Spur Food Production

    [NAIROBI] Sub-Saharan Africa needs more female agricultural research scientists to accelerate food production and to strengthen leadership skills among women, says the new leader of a career-development programme for women.

    Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, who became the director of African Women Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) last month, says that having more female researchers in agriculture in Africa will help generate new ideas, necessary skills and attract the young among the womenfolk to the sector, adding that the move could even help majority of African smallholder farmers who are women.

  • Dr. Mercy Afua Adutwumwaa Derkyi Wins Prestigious AWARD Fellowship

    Dr. (Mrs.) Mercy Afua Adutwumwaa Derkyi is the first scientist from the University of Energy and Natural Resources to win a prestigious AWARD Fellowship. She and her AWARD Mentor, Professor (Mrs.) Esi Awuah, Vice Chancellor, participated in the AWARD Mentoring Orientation Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya from 24-28 March, 2014.

  • Six Innovative Initiatives that are Working to Strengthen Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture

    Farmers and farmers groups, researchers and scientists, and government leaders and policy-makers from across the continent are gathered to better understand family farming in North America and to agree upon common recommendations for the development and support of family farmers in the United States and Mexico. The Dialogue also hopes to identify the key challenges family farmers face as well as the solutions they’re developing in their communities.

  • Is the success of M-Pesa ‘Empowering’ Kenyan Rural Women?

    The popular mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa, appears to improve the everyday lives of  rural women in Kenya. But a review of some of the current research indicates a need for further conceptualisation of what women’s empowerment means.

    M-Pesa (“M” for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) in Kenya is one of the most celebrated success stories of information and communication technologies (ICTs) allowing poor communities to access a revolutionary bank service. M-Pesa entails the use of a mobile phone to make immediate money transfers from town to village and vice versa, saving time and money, facilitating rapid solutions to the daily problems affecting vulnerable communities, and opening up new ways to manage the cash flow of people whose lives can be improved with very small amounts. At the national level, this technology revolution touches the lives of nearly 70% of Kenyan adults who transfer money to each other via their mobile phones. Kenya ranks number one worldwide in this domain: more than US$320 million is transferred via Kenyan mobile phones each month, which represents roughly a quarter of the country’s gross national product (GNP). Increasingly cash payments are avoided and posters in shops indicate preference for payments via mobile banking.

  • Ice-cold Innovation to Reduce Postharvest Losses

    The adage “waste not, want not” is University of Nairbori horticultural researcher Dr. Jane Ambuko’s vision for her own country and for Africa, where the equivalent of four billion dollars’ worth of food is lost annually due to inefficiencies across the agricultural value chain after crops are harvested, according to a study by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. This kind of food waste is referred to as “postharvest loss”, and has many causes ranging from poor infrastructure for transporting agricultural goods to improper or outdated food storage practices.

  • Mentorship in Action

    I set out to build a generation of young women leaders with a message to girls to own their own lives. We cannot sit down and expect women to be confident leaders if we do not invest in them when they are young," says Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Founder and former Executive Director of Akili Dada, who is the newly appointed AWARD Director.

  • Not Just A Man’s World

    Science has long been considered a male-dominated sector. But more and more women are venturing into the field, dispelling misconceptions and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. The Saturday Nationspoke to three young inspiring female scientists (including AWARD Fellow Sheila Ommeh and AWARD Mentor Charity Mutegi), who are giving a new face and name to science.

  • Ensuring Food Security: Key Resource

    From nutrition to gender issues, Michael Hoevel scans the best online resources relating to food security.

    Addressing food security requires looking at multiple phenomena simultaneously- from hunger, livelihoods and nutrition to climate change, gender and market access. The resources detailed in this article, including the AWARD Gender Materials web page provide experience, information and recommendations from a range of experts around the world.

  • Award-Winning Researcher Leads Search for Clean Energy Sources

    Having grown up in a rural Kiambu village, Mary Njenga knows only too well the effect of wood fuel on communities, especially women and girls who are often charged with the responsibility of collecting firewood in Kenya. “I remember how it felt to walk for long distances in search of wood, and later carry the heavy load on my back. I would arrive home at dusk very tired and with no energy to do anything else,” says Dr. Njenga. “Back in the kitchen, I and my sisters would sit around the fire as we helped mum prepare meals. All this time, we would inhale smoke emanating from wood fuel not knowing that it was dangerous for our health.” These painful experiences coupled with her love for the environment drove Dr. Njenga to search for an alternative cooking fuel that would benefit women and save them from the ordeal she had endured while young.

  • City Slum Residents Cash In On Charcoal Briquettes to Earn Decent Livelihood

    Beneath the succession of brown rusty rooftops in Kibera slums, home to hundreds of thousands of Nairobi city residents, women voices pierce the air. From a distance, one can hear occasional laughter, snatches of conversation, labored breathing, and hasty movements of people at work. A closer look reveals a group of about six women. Some are bending while others are down on their knees, with all hands rigorously making dough out of some black solid mass. “This is a mixture of charcoal dust, soil and water. We want to bind it and make charcoal briquettes,” says Felistas Asiko, a mother of four, who like the others surrounding her, earns a living from selling the fuel.

  • Conversations in Development: The Critical Role of Women in Agriculture

    The majority of those who produce, process, and market Africa’s food are women, but only one in four agricultural researchers and one in seven agricultural policymakers are female. Vicki Wilde, Director African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), recently sat down with BurnessGlobal's Ellen Wilson to discuss why that gap is a major concern and how AWARD is working to bridge it.

    Conversations in Development is a monthly series that features interviews with fascinating people in the development space. Through these interviews, fresh perspectives on a variety of issues ranging from agricultural development, global health and forestry are shared in the hope of sparking dialogue about the top development priorities in the world today.

  • It’s High Time Kenyans Recognized the True Heroes of National Food Security

    The ground-breaking work of Dr. Charity Kawira Mutegi and Professor Miriam Kinyua, two AWARD Pilot Program Fellows, are featured in this Daily Nation column.

  • Working with Civil Society to Strengthen Food Security

    In Kenya, community groups led primarily by women and youth have played a critical role over the past decade in reducing the cost and environmental impact of cooking fuel by developing and expanding the use of charcoal briquettes in household cooking.

  • Nigerian Journalist Wins First AWARD-FARA Media Competition

    ACCRA (July 20 2013)—Nigerian journalist Oluyinka Alawode is the winner of the first Africa-wide media competition held by African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

    Alawode’s winning entry discussed the role of innovative Nigerian women agricultural scientists whose research is enabling smallholder women farmers to increase their incomes. The prize was announced today during FARA’s Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW), a conference attended by some 1,000 international delegates.

    African journalists from nine countries (Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) competed in the contest.


    Read more

    Nigerian journalist wins FARA Media Competition Award - NAIJA Lately

    Nigerian journalist wins FARA Media Competition Award - Peoples Daily

    Winner of AWARD-FARA Media Competition to be Announced at AASW

  • Sisters in ScienceSisters in Science

    AWARD Fellows Dr. Salome Mutayoba, Associate Professor at Sokoine University of Agriculture, and Betty Chalamila, Agricultural Research Officer at the Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute, discuss their roles as leading women scientists in Tanzania in this comprehensive BBC radio documentary.


    About the documentary

    BBC reporter Penny Dale travels to Tanzania to explore the state of science and technology in one of Africa's poorest countries – through the eyes of its female scientists. Tanzania's leaders are trying to see science and technology as the keys to progress. The government has started to try to cut down on foreign funding and strengthen home-grown research by boosting funding. However, women are still in the minority in scientific research, even after years of campaigns to get girls to take up science subjects. 

    But there are pockets of excellence - and it is these pioneers we meet. Penny visits the laboratory where Tanzania's first female haematologist is working on a pilot study to screen new-borns for sickle cell anaemia. New-born screening has significantly reduced mortality from sickle cell anaemia in the West, but there have not been any studies in Africa - despite the fact that over 70% of carriers live there. 

    Tanzania's economy is mostly based on agriculture, and a significant amount of scientific research is now being focused in this field. Penny travels to some villages with agricultural scientists who are exploring new technologies for cassava, a crop which is resistant to the droughts Tanzania is prone to, and for feed to improve the nutritional value of chickens. And she journeys to the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro where river pollution by nitrates in fertilizers has inspired three secondary-school girls to turn to science for solutions—and earned them top prize in Tanzania's first ever Young Scientist Of The Year competition. 

    Sisters in Science explores the science and finds out the personal stories of these women scientists - what inspired them to take up science in a society where there is not a strong culture of science, and where women still struggle to have their voices heard?

  • AWARD Listed among Food Tank’s Top 14 Global Initiatives Helping Women Deliver

    AWARD is listed among 14 top global initiatives that are helping women to overcome the challenges of reproductive health, economic empowerment, food security, social justice, and the environment, according toFood Tank.

    Food Tank announced the list of selected organizations at “Women Deliver”, a conference held recently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AWARD, which strengthens the research and leadership skills of African women working in agricultural research and development, is one of only two Africa-based programs on the list.

     “These 14 organizations are working to empower women in the food system. They’re giving hope to women everywhere, and Ellen Gustafson and I hope that they will give hope to you, too,” saidDanielle Nierenberg, Food Tank co-founder.

    Food Tank aims to offer solutions and environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty by creating a network of connections and information sources with various stakeholders in the food sector from farmers to policy makers.

    The Women Deliver conference brought together women from around the world to discuss various topics affecting communities and their livelihoods.


  • African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)

    Dr. Josephine Songa, AWARD Science Officer, speaks to reporter Pius Sawa about the importance of getting agricultural research innovations to those who need it most—Africa’s smallholder farmers, most of whom are women.


  • Agribusiness—Inspiring the Next Generation

    Entomologist Dr. Josephine Songa, AWARD Science Officer, was one of 15 African women scientists in the pilot program that preceded AWARD.  A strong advocate for youth, she has since mentored several AWARD Fellows, encouraging them to advance in their careers.

    How can Africa’s young people be inspired and equipped to become skilled and successful farmers and agri-business entrepreneurs?

    Dr.  Josephine Songa, AWARD Science Officer,was one of the delegates at the African Green Revolution Forum in Arusha, Tanzania who gave their views, including the need to teach agri-business in schools, rural, agricultural training centres for school leavers, and use of social media and ICT to engage young people with agricultural information. Other suggestions include giving young agricultural graduates access to government farmland, and government support for loan facilities targeted at young people, to provide start-up capital.

    According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the average age of a farmer in Africa is around 60 years old. At the same time, every year thousands of young people are leaving rural areas to search for work in towns. The question of who will grow the food to feed Africa’s future generations is a serious one. 

    For most young people, the type of farming practiced by their parents and grandparents is not an attractive option. But could there be a different way forward, such as using machinery and other new technologies? And how can young people be encouraged to invest their time and energy in this kind of farming? The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa has recently invited farming experts from across the continent to share their ideas and develop action plans for Africa’s agricultural sector.

    Josephine Songa—Science Officer, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development
    Joan Rutaro—Program Director, Uganda Development Trust
    Grace Omondi—Communications specialist, CABI Africa 
    Janet Magoiya—Programme manager, Farm Concern International


    Pius Sawa reports from Arusha, Tanzania.

  • AWARD at the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development

    AWARD Director Vicki Wilde chaired a session on the learning and empowerment of women and youth at the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

  • Understanding What Could Empower Women Farmers

    AWARD Fellow Bridgit Muasa, a Kenyan veterinarian, spoke at the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development in Uruguay.

  • The Face of Food Security is Female

    AWARD Director Vicki Wilde and AWARD Fellow Mary Njenga are interviewed about women in agriculture from the World Food Prize event in Des Moines, Iowa.

  • Indigenous Chickens

    Researching disease-resistant indigenous chickens is the focus of promising Kenyan scientist Sheila Ommeh, recipient of an African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) fellowship.

  • Cultivating a New Generation of African Women Agricultural Scientists

    Dr. Susan Ikerra, Executive Director of the Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority (TFRA) and a former principal agricultural researcher for 25 years, is a leading fertilizer expert in her country, and in East Africa. But Ikerra is a rare breed of leader in African agricultural research circles—she’s a woman

  • New Prize for Women Scientists in Low-output Countries

    A new awards program has been launched by the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), and the Elsevier Foundation to recognize the talent of women from the developing world's scientifically weakest countries, who are at the early stages of their science careers. AWARD Director Vicki Wilde comments on the program.

  • Global Alliance Shares Progress, Considers Strategies to Use Modern Tools to Unlock the Promise of Cassava

    Global leaders in cassava research have drawn up an action plan to unleash the potential of cassava as a key crop to boost food security, tackle poverty and address a changing climate.

    Over half-a-billion people in sub-Saharan Africa eat cassava every day, and it is a crucial industrial crop grown by small holder farmers in Asia and Latin America. Recent research has also shown that it could be one of the most climate-smart crops farmers can grow, tolerating drought and in some cases increasing productivity as temperatures rise. But currently cassava yields hover at just 10 percent of the crop’s potential, leaving significant room for improving livelihoods and incomes.

    Participants at the second scientific meeting of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21), in Kampala, Uganda (June 18-22), heard that tackling devastating crop pests and diseases, supporting genetic research of cassava, and improving on-farm practices, among other measures, will be critical to improving productivity and incomes.

    “The potential of cassava is truly phenomenal. There is no other crop that offers so much promise to so many people in so many parts of the world,” said Dr. Claude Fauquet, Co-Chair of GCP 21. “I am energized by the significant progress we have made, but caution that we must continue to monitor and anticipate challenges before they can escalate causing suffering for millions.”

    Joe Tohme, Agrobiodiversity Research Area Director at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and co-chair of GCP21, agreed: “There’s no doubt that if the international community is really serious about tackling food insecurity, overcoming poverty and helping smallholder farmers adapt to climate change, they have to get serious about cassava,“ he said. “One urgent task is to tackle cassava’s susceptibility to pest and disease outbreaks – the crop’s ‘Achilles Heel’, which is a major obstacle to maximizing the potential of cassava for improving livelihoods in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

    For key action points from GCP21 II, visit the Danforth Center website

    Participating AWARD Fellows included:

    • Dr. Foluke Abimbola Aderemi, Nigeria
    • Dr. Bolanle Akinwande, Nigeria
    • Teddy Amuge, Uganda
    • Ugo Chijioke, Nigeria
    • Vincentia Naa Ayele Hammond, Ghana
    • Dr. Emma Kambewa, Malawi
    • Dr. Salome Mutayoba, Tanzania
    • Dr. Folasayo Titilola Fayose, Nigeria
    • Dr. Damaris Odeny, Kenya
    • Olapeju Onadipe, Nigeria
    • Dr. Josephine Songa, AWARD
    • Deborah Wendiro, Uganda

    AWARD Mentors

    • Professor Malachy O. Akoroda, Agronomy Department, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
    • Professor Sanni Lateef Oladimeji, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria
    • Professor Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana

  • Global Gathering Features Leading Authorities on Cassava Research

    An impressive lineup of the leaders in cassava research and development from around the globe will present during the second scientific conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21), June 18 – 22, 2012 in Kampala, Uganda. More than 300 leading cassava researchers and stakeholders from around the world will attend, including three AWARD Fellows representing Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria.

    GCP21 consists of 45 member institutions working on research and development of cassava, a staple crop relied on by more than 700 million people worldwide. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to improve cassava productivity through scientific research and development. Topics to be covered at the conference include climate change, pests and diseases, genomics, breeding, and biodiversity.

    The Global Cassava Partnership serves as an advocate for cassava issues and leverages research and development by facilitating dialogue among farmers, stakeholders, producers, researchers, and donor agencies via scientific and technical meetings, collectively seeking smart strategies, funding opportunities, and catalyzing solutions to technical challenges such as cassava genomics.

    “The greatest reward during my life time will be to bring about a significant transformation in cassava to impact on many lives that depend on the crop,” said Dr. Yona Baguma, a scientist at NaCRRI and chairman of GCP21-II.

    Cassava is cultivated mainly by hundreds of millions of subsistence farmers, often on marginal lands and is vital for both food security and income generation. In Asia and Latin America, cassava serves as livestock feed, an industrial input, and a source of fuel and food. In Africa, it is the second most important source of calories after maize, an inexpensive and essential food for the poor, and an emerging cash crop. Tapioca, yucca, and manioc are other names for cassava.

    Although cassava has many properties that make it an important food across 105 countries in the world, it also has many limitations. Cassava lacks essential vitamins and nutrients and is susceptible to many pathogens, particularly in Africa, where one-third of the continental harvest is lost each year to viral diseases.

    During the conference, concurrent sessions will be held on a variety of topics such as biodiversity and genetic resources, physiology and abiotic stress, agronomy, modern breeding, metabolic engineering and cassava seed systems.

    Since it was founded in 2003, GCP21 has developed a list of technologies and research themes to focus activities and promote investment in those priority areas. In the last year, several research projects totaling more than $60 million in grants in the areas of cassava genomics, genetic engineering, biofortification, genetics and biology have been initiated and will be reported on during the five-day program.

    Participants will exchange knowledge and experiences in the areas of socio-economics, biodiversity and genetic resources, post-harvest, starch modification, nutrition, genomics, molecular genetic markers and gene discovery, tissue culture and transformation, biotic and abiotic stresses, participatory research and technology transfer.

    After reviewing advances made to date, members of GCP21 will present a synopsis identifying gaps in technical, capacity and funding as well as set additional priorities for R&D that will enable cassava production to withstand global changes in climate and related issues.

    Participants will include representatives from NARS, international agricultural research centers, advanced laboratories and universities from developed and developing countries, United Nations’ agencies, governmental and non-governmental organizations, donor and development organizations, businesses in the ag-biotechnology and food processing industries.

    GCP21 is chaired by Dr. Claude Fauquet, Principal Investigator at the Danforth Plant Science Center and Director of International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology (ILTAB) in St. Louis, MO and Dr. Joe Tohme, Director of Agrobiodiversity Research of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia.

    “It is crucial for humanity to invest science and technology into cassava if we want the fourth source of calories in the developing world to feed more than one billion people by 2050,” said Fauquet.

    “This is an unprecedented opportunity for some of the world’s leading crop scientists to join up to support smallholder farmers across the tropics in boosting production of one of their most important and promising food crops,” said Tohme.

    Participating AWARD Fellows include:

    • Ugo Chijioke, Nigeria
    • Dr. Damaris Odeny, Kenya
    • Vincentia Naa Ayele Hammond, Ghana
    • Dr. Josephine Songa, AWARD

  • Agriculture Is Her Forte

    Malawian AWARD Fellow Chikondi Precious Chabvuta is recognized by the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa

  • Women in Science in East Africa

    The East African has a new special on Women in Science in East Africa. Two pilot-program AWARD Fellows, Dr. Lusike Wasilwa and Dr. Jolly Kabirizi both have their work profiled

  • AWARD Fellows Organize Exhibition to Encourage Mozambican Youth to Pursue Careers in Agriculture

    The USAID Feed the Future newsletter features an article by AWARD Fellow Paula Pimentel about her role modeling event in Namaacha, Mozambique

  • Feeding the Planet by Leveling the Plowing Field for Women

    Idah Sithole-Niang, Chair of AWARD's Steering Committee, writes from the first Global Conference on Women in Agriculture in New Delhi, India.

  • African women scientists praise fellowship scheme

    Kenyan geneticist Sheila Ommeh and Rwandan scientist Christine Mukantwali discuss how the AWARD Fellowships they received are helping them to make valuable contributions to their fields.

  • The Need to Focus on Women and Technology

    The Need to Focus on Women and Technology

    Two AWARD Fellows inspire Susan Upton from Practical Action to write about the need to focus on women and technology.

  • Rwandan scientist aims to squeeze more out of pineapple sector

    Christine Mukantwali, a 2010 AWARD Fellow, is interviewed about her goals to see Rwandans make better use of their crops, particularly pineapples, which in turn will help reduce poverty and malnutrition. 

  • Designer chicken could help empower Africa's rural women

    Dr. Sheila Ommeh, a 2008 AWARD Fellow, is interviewed about her research on the role chickens can play in reducing rural poverty in Africa, particularly among women farmers.

  • Féminiser la recherche en Afrique: le pari du programme AWARD

    The New Agriculturalist profiles the work of AWARD Fellow Olive Tuyishime.

  • Empowering Women in Agriculture

    Sir Gordon Conway writes about empowering women in agriculture and the event, Effective Solutions for Agricultural Development through Empowered African Women Scientists in Agriculture for Impact’s March newsletter. 

  • Empowering Women in Africa

    AWARD Fellow Professor Sheila Okoth, a fellow in the Society of Biology, explains how female scientists in Africa are overcoming the challenges of a male-dominated scientific community to undertake lifesaving research


    Interested in subscribing to The Biologist? Visit http://www.societyofbiology.org/membership/biologist

  • Changing the face of agriculture in Africa–one (emerging woman) leader at a time

    Dr. Sheila Ommeh, a 2008 AWARD Fellow, is profiled on the website for the International Livestock Research Institute, where she is a post-graduate fellow. Ommeh is conducting research on producing disease-resistant indigenous chickens.

  • East African Program Promotes University Education For Women

    AWARD Director Vicki Wilde talks about how AWARD is empowering African women agricultural scientists. 

  • The Constant Gardeners

    Confronting climate change and poverty, a new crop of city farmers comes of age in Africa. The work of 2009 AWARD Fellow Mary Njenga, a Kenyan environmental scientist, is featured in this onearth magazine cover story. 

  • What "Capacity Development" Means to Me

    2010 AWARD Fellow Anabela de Piedade Manhiça, a veterinarian from Mozambique, shares her views.

  • Feeding the Future in Oklahoma

    2009 AWARD Fellow Hedwig Nenkari is featured in this clip, as one one of seven Kenyans who were chosen to attend the U.S. Department of State Food Security Fellowship Program for 2011. Participants spent four weeks at Oklahoma State University and one week in Washington D.C.

  • Winners of ACSS AWARDS 2011

    Two AWARD participants were among the four outstanding scientists who received Council Awards at the 10th African Crop Science Society Conference in Maputo, Mozambique (October 10-13, 2011).

    Two AWARD participants were among the four outstanding scientists who received Council Awards at the 10th African Crop Science Society Conference in Maputo, Mozambique (October 10-13, 2011).

    The four winners were:

    • Professor Monty Jones (FARA, Sierra Leone)
    • Professor Kasem Zaki Ahmed (Minia University, Egypt)
    • Professor Joyce Kikafunda (Makerere University, Uganda)
    • Dr. John S. Tenywa (Makerere University, Uganda)

    Congratulations to the winners, especially to Dr. Joyce Kikafunda, a 2009 AWARD Mentor, and Dr. John Tenywa, an AWARD trainer.

    The following AWARD Fellows presented papers at the ACSS Conference:

    • Betty Chalamila, Tanzania
    • Lilian Kirimi, Kenya
    • Justina Lawal, Nigeria
    • Esther Lugwana, Uganda
    • Phoebe Mwaniki, Kenya
    • Charlotte Oduro-Yeboah, Ghana
    • Jennifer Quao, Ghana

    Many other AWARD Fellows and Mentors also attended the conference (see list below).

    AWARD Attendees at ACSS Conference October 10-13, 2011 Maputo, Mozambique




































    Research Attachment Supervisor

    Jansen van Rensburg


    South Africa













































    AWARD Steering Committee

















  • Mentoring Partnerships: Experiences and Lessons

    2009 AWARD Fellow, Mary Njenga, and her mentor, Dr. Yvonne Pinto, have published an article about their mentoring experience entitled Mentoring partnerships: experiences and lessons.

  • New Mexico State University Announces New Service Learning for Women Program

    Four African women agricultural scientists were chosen by NMSU as the first participants in the prestigious, newly created Service Learning for Women (SLW) program. They will take part in a four-week (Sept. 12—Oct. 7) cross-cultural exchange at the university, with studies focused on agricultural extension and leadership skills. The women will attend classes and workshops, work with a mentor in their disciplines, meet with state agricultural leaders, visit current agriculture and extension programs, and present their experiences to local groups.

  • Fellowships for African Women Scientists a Big Hit

    The African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellowship program has been inundated with applicants. Since 2008, around 2,200 women have applied for only 250 available fellowships. This year there were 785 applicants from 11 African countries — more than 10 times the available fellowships. Vicki Wilde, Director of AWARD and the CGIAR Gender & Diversity Program, said the fellowship has been remarkably successful over the past four years.

  • Racheal Aye: ILRI Livestock Scientists among Top African Women Awardees

    Together with Lillian Wambua and Nimmo Gacheru, Racheal Aye was one of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) scientists among 70 African women agricultural researchers selected for the 2011 fellowships of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), which were announced on Thursday 18 August at Jacaranda Hotel in Nairobi. AWARD is an initiative of the Gender and Diversity program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

  • Lillian Wambua: ILRI Livestock Scientist Among Top African Women Awardees

    ‘As a little girl, growing up in the arid Makueni District of Kenya’s Eastern Province, my family’s few goats, chicken and humped zebu cattle were the most important assets we had. The sandy and stony land although vast, was largely unproductive. Unable to count on growing food crops, our livestock were the key to our livelihood. The same holds true for rural populations across much of the African continent. Livestock are essential to their wellbeing.’

  • CNBC Africa: “Beyond Markets” - Interview with Dr. Lusike Wasilwa

    Despite glaring shortcomings in Africa's food security as illustrated by the drought and related famine engulfing the Horn of Africa, female researchers still make up less than 25 percent of Africa's agricultural scientists.

  • 70 African Women Scientists Awarded

    As discussions of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa continue to dominate global headlines, it is clear that ensuring the continent's food security will require mobilizing the best minds from every discipline, including women agricultural researchers. African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) is committed to building the capacity of African women scientists who are conducting pro-poor agricultural research. AWARD has announced the 70 winners of its 2011 AWARD Fellowships. These outstanding researchers were selected from among an impressive cadre of 785 applicants from 11 African countries, bringing the total number of women in the program to 250.

  • Seventy Women Agricultural Scientists Bag AWARD Fellowships

    The African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Thursday announced 70 winners of its 2011 fellowships. In a colourful ceremony held at Nairobi’s Jacaranda Hotel, Ms Vicki Wilde, both Director of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Gender and Diversity Programme and AWARD, said the outstanding researchers were picked through a highly competitive process that attracted 785 high calibre applicants from 11 African countries, bringing the total number of women in the programme to 250.

  • Fellowship Puts Africa's Female Scientists on the Map

    At a time when a famine is plaguing the Horn of Africa, it is a relief to see an organisation that is committed to critical agricultural research. African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) is a professional development programme which seeks to make Africa’s leading female scientists more visible and to improve their research and leadership skills.

  • Agriculture Secretary: Discuss GMO with Sobriety

    Urban farming had been neglected in the past but it could help bridge the food shortage the country has been facing. The government is developing an agricultural policy that will guide urban farming in a bid to ensure the country is food secure. Agriculture secretary Dr. Wilson Songa says policy will address the environmental concerns of urban farming. Dr. Songa says although urban farming had been neglected in the past, it could help bridge the food shortage the country has been facing.

  • Spotlight On African Women In Agricultural Research

    The drought and related famine engulfing the Horn of Africa continue to dominate discussions about agricultural development and management worldwide. Finding sustainable solutions to the continent’s food security and environmental challenges requires the best scientific minds, including women agricultural researchers. However, female researchers still make up less than 25 percent of Africa’s agricultural scientists, and few hold positions of leadership.

  • Food Security and Gender

    AWARD Mentor Dr. Lusike Wasilwa, Assistant Director for Horticulture & Industrial Crops Research at KARI, interviewed on CNBC after 2011 AWARD Fellowship winners announcement.

  • AWARD Fellow Bolanle Otegbayo joins CIRAD

    AWARD Fellow Bolanle Otegbayo is the first Nigerian scientist to join the labs of CIRAD in Montpellier, France. She is studying the food quality and industrial potential of yams during a four-month research attachment sponsored by Agropolis Fondation. Otegbayo is a lecturer Bowen University's Department of Food Science and Technology.

  • No Longer at Ease in Kenya’s Biggest Wheat-Producing Belt

    Farmers face complete ruin as the devastating droughts, poor prices and dreaded stem rust disease conspire to bring a once lucrative farming activity to its knees. KARI research scientist Ruth Wanyera, an AWARD Fellow, talks about the fight against Ug99 stem rust.

  • Innovative Kenyan City Farmers an 'Example to the World'

    Residents of Nairobi slum grow food next to shacks and save many from hunger. AWARD Fellow Mary Njenga and Professor Nancy Karanja are teaching residents in Kibera slum an “amazing innovation” known as “vertical farming.”

  • AWARD Transforming Agriculture in Africa, One Woman at a Time

    USAID's Global Waters newsletter feaures the work of AWARD Fellows Sarah Ayeri Ogalleh, Carolyn Tyhra Kumasi, and Jean Metethiwa.

  • Growing Talent: Youth in Agriculture #12: Teddy Amuge

    AWARD Fellow Teddy Amuge is researching cassava diseases at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • Struggle to Feed Eight Children in a Refugee Camp

    AWARD Mentor Dr. Lusike Wasilwa, assistant director of Horticulture and Industrial Crops at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, is confident that food security is achievable if farmers have access to drought-resistant crops.

  • Merged Cultures to Empower Women

    The 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) of the United Nations (UN) closed last month with little fanfare, but there was cause for celebration. For the first time, the CSW, traditionally a forum to examine improvement of women's rights and gender equality, merged this broad interest with issues of science and technology (S&T). (AWARD is mentioned in this editorial.)

  • Study Finds 65% of Flour Unfit for Eating

    AWARD Fellow Dr. Sheila Okoth, a researcher at the University of Nairobi, says the high levels of aflatoxins in breast milk and cow’s milk in areas of Kenya is worrying.

  • Agriculture research ‘urgently needs more women’

    AWARD Director Vicki Wilde is interviewed about the status of women agricultural researchers following release of FAO’s 2010–2011 edition of “The State of Food and Agriculture”.

  • Women’s Day Brings New Ideas on Feeding World’s Hungry

    U.S. Government newsletter reports on release of the FAO’s 2010–2011 edition of “The State of Food and Agriculture” and mentions support for AWARD.

  • Mozambique Scientists Out to Prove Women Can Set a New Course for Agriculture in their Country and Beyond

    Eleven women scientists in Mozambique were selected from among hundreds of applicants from 10 sub-Saharan countries as fellows of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) project. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID, the project strengthens scientists' research and leadership skills to build up the talent pool of highly skilled African women in agricultural research and development.

  • Sh3.2 billion set aside to tame wheat disease

    2008 AWARD Fellow Ruth Wanyera, a plant pathologist with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, comments on the Sh3.2 billion research initiative to curb the deadly wheat rust fungus.

  • Building on local knowledge

    2009 AWARD Fellow Sarah Ogalleh Ayeri, associate researcher at the Centre for Training and Integrated Research in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Development, shares how smallholder farmers are dealing with climate change.

  • New soybean models triple smallholder growers’ incomes

    2008 AWARD Fellow Dr. Jendeka Mahasi, the principle research scientist at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, talks to Business Daily about new soya varieties.

  • Women Achievers: Sky Not the Limit for Top Scientist Mary Njenga

    2009 AWARD Fellow Mary Njenga talks about her innovative work in urban agriculture.

  • AWARD Seeks to Empower Women in Agric Research

    Women agricultural scientists in Liberia are eligible to apply for an AWARD Fellowship this year for the first time, thanks to funding from USAID.

  • Improving Rural Livelihoods by Empowering African Women Researchers in Agricultural Science

    With sharp minds, inquisitive souls, and iron wills, they are an 11-strong group of top-level women scientists in agricultural research with their eyes set on influencing national and regional policy to improve livelihoods in Mozambique and across Africa. Read about AWARD Fellows in Mozambique.

  • International recognition for African scientists

    The Society of Biology is a proud supporter of the work done by scientists in developing nations. Four AWARD Fellows were recently elected as Fellows of the Society of Biology.

  • In Search of Lasting Farming Solutions to Climate Change

    In the semi-arid Laikipia district of Kenya’s Rift Valley province, research scientist Sarah Ogalleh Ayeri travels from one village to another, documenting methods used by peasant farmers as they attempt to adapt to changing climatic conditions. "Farmers in this area can hardly grow any crop because of the prevailing drought. Instead, they keep livestock that include local cattle breeds, camels, goats and sheep."

  • Agricultural Budget Out of Reach of Small-Scale Farmers

    Although the majority of Kenyans are agricultural producers, only 3.6 percent of the country’s national budget goes towards the sector. This falls severely short of government’s promise to spend at least ten percent on agriculture.

  • An AWARDing approach to Science in Africa

    "If you really want to understand the challenges of women, it is better if you can get a woman to study their situation and circumstances," says Ugandan scientist Sarah Mubiru.

  • A Bid to Save Macadamia Crops

    Joseph Ndirangu Muriithi is a worried man. After watching the fall of coffee farming in Kenya a decade ago, he now fears that his other cash crop will also go into decline as a new disease preys on his macadamia trees.

  • US Sponsored Fellowship Program Benefits Women Scientists in Africa

    Female farmers play a big role in African agriculture. The Kenyan research firm ASTI says women make up 60 to 80 percent of the agricultural force in Africa. The 180 women who have received fellowships have come from 10 African countries.

  • Woman Researcher Tackles Aflatoxin Poisoning

    Dr. Sheila Okoth, a Kenyan research scientist, is in the process of finding a sustainable solution to fungal contamination and mycotoxin production in foods, including aflatoxins. She leads an interdisciplinary and farmer participatory project on Conservation and Sustainable Management of Below ground Biodiversity (CSM-BGBD).

  • Empowering Women to Lead Africa's Agricultural Research

    Stop in Anytown, Africa and the important role women play in agriculture is obvious — they're the ones running the village farms.Though women lead Africa's agricultural production, when it comes to efforts to innovate Africa's fields, they're being left behind.

  • Women are The Winners of this AWARD

    If you thought the glass ceiling was still harsh in the United States, take a look at Africa where women still represent less than one quarter of African scientists in agricultural research institutions and occupy managerial positions in only seven of those.

  • Developing More Top African Women Research Scientists

    "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. We need more women pursuing careers in agricultural science. Because women are the face of African farming,"

  • The Answer to Africa Hunger is in Her Hands

    Ms Oyunga’s study of indigenous plants resulted in her professional gospel: “God may not give everyone in Africa their daily bread, but there is something much cheaper and more nutritious than bread — the orange-fleshed sweet potato.”

  • Kenyan Women Experts Win Fellowships

    11 Kenyans in a group of 60 outstanding women agricultural scientists from 10 African countries awarded with fellowships.

  • Remove the Barriers, Remove the Fear of Sharing

    In her June 16 speech announcing the winners of the World Food Prize, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton refered to a “wonderful program called AWARD"

  • Catching Young Scholars Early

    To show appreciation for support she received from her village while growing up, Prof Waceke Wanjohi’s, an AWARD fellow and the Chair of the Department of Agricultural Science and Technology at Kenyatta University is now trying to share knowledge she has acquired with her village folk.

  • Beyond the Paradox: Realising Africa's Agricultural Revolution (AGRF 2014)

    Attending the Alliance for a Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2014, Kofi Annan, former secretary-general to the UN and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, encouraged participants to fulfil Africa's potential to be a leading and inclusive food producer. In doing so he alluded to a paradox that dominates African economic development.

    AWARD Director Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg is also mentioned in the article, calling for everyone to act and engage in realizing this agricultural revolution.

  • African Scientist Uses St. Charles County Lab for Food Research

    In a research park laboratory some 9,000 miles from home, scientist Filomena dos Anjos points to her work, beakers filled with what she hopes will lead to a sustaining food source for her native Mozambique.

  • AWARD at the AGRF

    “We are tremendously proud to be a Gates Foundation partner,” said Wilde. “The Foundation’s practical commitment to African women at every point along the value chain—from the lab to the field to the market—is changing the face agriculture across the continent.”

    During the forum, Wilde and Nabwami were featured speakers in a panel discussion on the role of women farmers and agri-entrepreneurs, chaired by Dr. Margaret Kroma, AGRA’s Gender Officer. Wilde highlighted AWARD’s work in equipping African women agricultural researchers for leadership roles in the ARD sector by strengthening their science skills and leadership capacity.

    “We are seeing more confident, motivated, and productive women, who are making measurable contributions in their fields,” said Wilde, reporting on recent data from AWARD’s 180 alumnae, who are working on 137 different technologies and products.

    • At least 57% refocused their research to be more gender responsive or more relevant to the needs of women farmers (indicative of sharpened focus and relevance)
    • 1 in 2 increased their average annual publication rate in peer reviewed journals (indicative of recognition and visibility)
    • 52% were promoted (indicative of growing influence)

  • New Farmer Films Help Spread the Word About Weeds

    Check out this informative video

  • More Women in Agriculture Reaching the Global Stage

    All eyes were on Des Moines, Iowa last week, where the 25th World Food Prize was presented before representatives from more than 65 countries. This annual award is given in honor of the late 1970 Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Norman Borlaug, for his efforts to improve the world’s food supply.

    This year’s joint winners—the former President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, and the former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva—led their countries to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of cutting poverty in half by 2015. Not only did they accomplish this feat four years ahead of schedule, their countries are the only member nations to achieve this goal to date.

    In its 25-year history, only three women have won the World Food Prize:

    • Dr. Evangelina Villegas of Mexico and co-recipient Dr. Surinder Vasal) were recognized in 2000 for their combined efforts and achievements in breeding and advancing Quality Protein Maize to improve productivity and nutrition in malnourished and poverty-stricken areas worldwide.
    • Catherine Bertini was chosen in 2003 for transforming the United Nations World Food Programme into the largest and most responsive humanitarian relief organization in the world, capable of ensuring that food of good quality would be available in sufficient quantities to the world’s neediest, even in the direst of circumstances.
    • Jo Luck, CEO of Heifer International, shared the honor with David Beckmann of Bread for the World in 2010. They were honored for their landmark achievements in building their NGOs into two of the world's foremost grassroots organizations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions of people.

    These women are inspirational pioneers, albeit underrepresented in international agriculture. However, I am optimistic that we will see more women in agriculture stepping onto the global stage in the near future. Two of the World Food Prize conference sessions this year highlighted the importance of women in agriculture, and an AWARD Fellow had the privilege of participating in the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, which is held in conjunction with the awarding of the World Food Prize.

    Anabela da Piedade Manhiça, a livestock veterinarian from Mozambique, participated on a panel entitled, “The Next Generation: Confronting the Hunger Challenges of Tomorrow”, at the invitation of USAID.

    Anabela’s research on technology transfer is coupled with her ongoing commitment to working with women farmers. As she says, “They are the most involved in agriculture, food security, and nutrition at the household level in Mozambique, and I love working with them.”

    Dr. Charity Mutegi, an AWARD pilot program fellow and now a Borlaug LEAP Fellow, also spoke on the panel. Charity is now the Kenya Country Coordinator for the Aflasafety project within the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, one of CGIAR’s global research centers.

    As the world wakes up to the crucial and compelling need to empower its women, AWARD is preparing African women in agriculture to take center stage.

    Recommended Read: “Women seen key to solving hunger issues in Africa.”


    Vicki Wilde, Director
    CGIAR Gender & Diversity Program and
    African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)

  • UK Research institutes support women agricultural scientists in Ethiopia

    Scientists at The Roslin Institute, the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) and John Innes Centre (JIC) will support a new fellowship programme of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), by helping to build and sharpen the scientific skills of new fellows.