NAIROBI, KENYA (JULY 27, 2010) A passion fruit pathologist, a catfish breeder, and a pigeon pea researcher are among the 60 outstanding women agricultural scientists from 10 African countries who received a fellowship today from African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). The fellowship will help these top researchers strengthen their research and leadership skills, and enhance their contributions to poverty alleviation and food security across the continent.
"Today we debunked the myth that qualified African women researchers 'aren't out there'an excuse that's often used to justify why women are not hired or promoted equitably within agricultural research institutions, universities, and corporations," said Vicki Wilde, AWARD Director. "We've proven that top-notch female scientists do exist in significant numbers and, equally important, they are conducting critical food security research that is desperately needed to feed future generations. We are recognizing and supporting these women today with an AWARD Fellowship."
Dr. Ruth Amata, a senior research officer at the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute, is one of this year's 60 fellowship winners. "I am so excited about this great opportunity," said Amata. "My main goal is to help rural women farmers to improve production of their food crops, including sweet potato and cassava, through disease management. This fellowship will help me link up with and learn from other women scientists who are making an impact, and to develop the leadership skills I need."
Amata was selected from 784 applicants representing 54 institutions in 10 countries; she joins 120 AWARD Fellows currently in the program. In total, 1,681 female scientists from 450 institutions have applied for the prestigious fellowships since AWARD began in 2008. AWARD Fellows benefit from a two-year program focused on mentoring partnerships, science skills, and leadership development. The fellowships are
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