AWARD Mentors: creating new champions for African agriculture
Mentoring is at the heart of AWARD, whose fellows work across a wide range of disciplines in ten countries. Every woman who wins an AWARD Fellowship is matched to mentor, based on expertise, location and preference.
Hundreds of Africa’s most senior leaders in agriculture—both men and women—volunteer their time as mentors to AWARD Fellows. In exchange, mentors are offered the opportunity to participate in two of AWARD’s special events, such as courses in leadership or research proposal writing.
Professor Mary Abukutsa, AWARD Mentor/Pilot Project Fellow, Kenya
Professor Abukutsa-Oyango was awarded the Order of the Burning Spear 2010 of the Republic of Kenya by His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki. The award is one of the highest civilian service awards granted by the president on Jamhuri Day (December 12), which celebrates Kenya's establishment as a republic in 1964. Professor Abukutsa-Onyango was recognized for her lifelong research work with indigenous vegetables.
She also received 12 million Kenyan shillings from the Kenya National Council of Science and Technology for her research. “This is a big boost to my research and professional development,” said Abukutsa-Onyango. “I have something to celebrate as 2011 begins.”
Recently, the African Union marked its 11th anniversary with ceremonies honoring five African women scientists, including Professor Abukutsa of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. She won for her research on production of indigenous vegetables in developing countries, and her work as a determined promoter of agricultural diversity. She sees the award as an end in itself, because it gives other women a belief in themselves.
“Many of the women who will see us receiving this will be encouraged, and when we speak to them and we share what we have experienced here, I think it will give them a boost in an endeavor to solve our African problems of poverty, malnutrition, and poor health,” Abukutsa says.
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A cover story on Professor Abukutsa also appeared in the September 2010 issue of African Woman
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