AWARD Feature: Empowering Women in Agriculture Science, Policy

7 12 2008

Feature Article:

Empowering Women in Agriculture Science, Policy

By Tiziana Cauli on 26 November 2008


Mentor Alice Kamau* and mentee Isabel Wagara worked together in an AWARD workshop in Kenya last October. AWARD allows African female graduates in agricultural science to pursue their studies for the benefit of their own communities. Photo by: CGIAR

For centuries, women have ensured nourishment for men and children in Africa’s rural communities by choosing nourishing crops, breeding their seeds and farming them. They have played a crucial role in agriculture across the continent, both as a source of workforce and as guardians of traditional knowledge. Yet, their presence in agricultural science and technology remains considerably low, as well as their power to influence policy and market trends.

In the past years, this gap has been increasingly acknowledged by the development sector, as women-targeted farming projects proved extremely effective in poverty-stricken regions across the globe, with a particular focus on the African continent.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development, are among the donors who have helped promoting female presence in African agriculture at a higher level through funding a support program for women scientists in the field.

“The idea started three years ago, when I was stuck in an airport for six hours, waiting for a flight with an old friend of mine, Peter Matlon*, who was head of the Rockefeller Foundation for Africa,” said Vicki Wilde, leader of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development program, which is spearheaded by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, a global network supporting sustainable agriculture.

For more, please find here:

*typos amended on posting, not reflected in the original article




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