Mentor’s Moment – Mary Onyango

15 05 2009
Mary Onyango

Mary Onyango

AWARD congratulates Mary on her most recent achievement as the top ranked winner of the Women and Young Professionals Science Competitions under the category of women. With over 300 abstracts submitted from over 20 countries in Africa, all reviewed by an independent panel of renowned scientist, Mary’s paper on “Development and Promotion of Technologies for Sustainable Production and Utilization of Indigenous Vegetables for Nutrition Security and Wealth Creation in Kenya” came in first.

She recently flew out to Addis Ababa to receive her award at the Conference of African Ministers of Agriculture, Land and Livestock at the African Union Headquarters.

As the mentor of AWARD post doctorate fellow, Sheila Okoth, Mary has applied many of the practical learning from her time as G&D Rockfeller pilot program participant to being the best possible mentor. The most useful skills, Mary recounts, she learned during her time as G&D Rockefeller pilot fellow were facilitation, negotiation and leadership skills.  Mary is a Professor of Horticulture at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. She was previously an Associate Professor at Maseno University.

Mary has a passion for indigenous African vegetables. She adds, “I have a particular interest in African foods.  We continue to suffer from food insecurity yet our own hardy crops have been neglected. Over 60% of the rural communities in Western Kenya are poor, resulting in malnutrition and poor health among many rural households.  Yet the underutilized and little-known AIVs are rich in vital nutrients and micro-nutrients, with medicinal and other agronomic properties superior to exotic vegetables.  AIVs are good for the family table and for generating income.  Priority AIV species include cowpeas, vegetable amaranth, spider plant, African nightshade, jute mallow and the African kale.   I would like to see more research in African indigenous foods and it is gratifying to see more and more national and international initiatives on indigenous foods.  I lead some of these initiatives.”

  1. The outreach program works with 75 contact farmers, majority of who are women farmers or women’s groups.

Mary concludes, “my purpose in life is to serve and help communities.  We must translate our research findings into development.”

AWARD would also  like to congratulate Dr. Jolly Kabirizi, a G&D pilot program Fellow from Uganda who won fourth place for  her paper,  “Participatory Testing of Forage Legume Innovations with Women Farmers in Masaka District, Uganda: Impact on Fodder Availability, Animal Performance and Household Income”.




19 responses

15 05 2009
Sheila Ommeh

Congratulations Prof.!

Indeed you are a role model to all of us! I love your dedication towards indigenous foodstuffs in Africa and I wish you all the best in your endeavours!

Sheila Ommeh

17 05 2009
Miriam Judith Otipa

Congratulations Prof Mary Onyango!.

You indeed are a great inspiration to some of us!!.
Just sitting and listening to you during the Kenya country meeting taught me a lot. Prof you spoke so deeply to me. Your mentoring abilities just come out naturally. I guess AWARD has played a big role in this!

AWARD Keep up the good work!.

6 06 2009
Mary Abukutsa-Onyango

Dear Miriam
Glory be to God, Ahsante Sana
I am sure you are on the right path. Thanks a lot for your encouraging comments. Learning and serving is a continuous process it continuous till you have your last breathe. Achievements are useful and more fulfilling if only they are used self lessly touch other peoples lives.

18 05 2009
Dorothy Mukhebi

Dear Mary, You have done it AGAIN. CONGRATULATIONS and keep it up.
We are so proud of you.

6 06 2009
Mary Abukutsa-Onyango

Thank you Dorothy for your kind words and encouraging message. Learning is a continuous process and as a mentor in the AWARD program I am learning a lot.
Keep up the good work and kind regards

18 05 2009
Ebele Amaechina

Congratulations Prof. More feathers to your cap. Its nice to read you have a passion for the rural communities. We are proud of you.

6 06 2009
Mary Abukutsa-Onyango

Thanks Ebele Amaechina
I am very much encouraged with your kind words. I in return convey good tidings and prosperity in your endevours
Kindest Regards

6 06 2009
Mary Abukutsa-Onyango


22 06 2009
Sharon Ongadi

Congratulations Prof.
You are a real inspiration. One just needs to talk and listen to you and they will understand what i am talking about.

2 07 2009

Thanks very much Sharon
I wish you well

10 07 2009
Ronald O'Neale

I just came upon this article by chance, but I am really moved that there are still people passionate about promoting indigenous foods. I am from the Caribbean where our indigenous foods are rapidly being replaced by imported highly processed (sugar and salt laden) foods from the developed world, and hopefully, the recent increases in food prices globally has taught us a lesson to be more self sufficient.
Prof. Mary Onyango, I salute and congratulate you on winning this award, and hope that you will continue to inspire not only fellow Africans, but also people people all over developing countries to look for solutions within and around us.
Keep up the great work!

15 07 2009
Mary Abukutsa-Onyango

Thank you Ronald O’Neale
I appreciate your kind words and encouraging suggestions. It is true that many indigenous foods have more advantages than one and need to be promoted in the vespective regions and globally, that is the bigger picture that we need to focus to help us address some of the millenium development goals in develping countries. We could collaborate and compara notes wherever possible.
Thanks and kind regards
Mr O”Neale

11 09 2009
Meshack Mutinda

Bravo Prof.
Am happy to learn that you are still doing great in your work as an horticulturist. Your contribution to humanity is praiseworthy. You will always be an encouragement to us who were your students at Maseno University.

7 10 2009
prof Abukutsa

thank you Mechack for your kind words
Be blessed
Kind Regards

5 10 2009
Ronald Orwa

Prof, you are great,

Your articles are so tremendous ,
Your courage is quite overwhelming,
Your determination is no doubt incredible,
Your achievements, are so encouraging.
You are an inspiration to many. I just hope that we shall strive to follow your footsteps……….. KEEP UP!!

7 10 2009
prof Abukutsa

Ronald Orwa
I am convinced that you will be a better person than me, that is my wish for you as I know you are on the right track
Kind regards

1 12 2009
Jarret Mhango

Congratulations Mary. You are a true daughter of Africa who do not rest until she has done something worth. May God bless you and Keep it up my dear!
We are there right behind your foot steps.

With AWARD, Africa will never be the same.
Love you Mary. Well done!
Love you AWARD!
Jarret Mhango,
Malawi-The warm heart of Africa.

27 11 2009
Mibei Elias

I have just seen this article and I am impressed. Congratulations and thanks Prof. for your overwhelming and inspirational mentorship to African communities. You are a role model to all of us and your philosophy is what inspires me. Your humility is admirable. I know many Profs go for processed food and undermine the indigenous food with the believe that they are meant for poor people. Indeed, you are a good example. May the LORD honor you for your humility. Thanks.

8 12 2009
Courses and Science Awards opportunities « AWARD News & Views

[…]  For details on these awards, click here AWARD Mentor, Professor Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, won the Women in Science award in 2009. Read more… […]

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