Eleven fellowship winners to help shape agri policies

Young women harvest maize at Namakat farm, in Turkana. [Mike Ekutan, Standard] 

Eleven Kenyan women are among 49 African women selected as fellows in the first cohort of Gender Responsive Agriculture Systems Policy (GRASP) Fellowship.

This is an initiative of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This fellowship targets African women in agri-food policies who can support the implementation of gender-responsive agricultural policies in Africa.

Millions of women around the world are essential to the production of the world’s food and resources — yet they are often underpaid or forced to work in unsafe or unfair conditions.

As such, effective policies are critical if research innovations are to provide gender-inclusive, sustainable solutions which allow Africa to develop equitable agri-food systems capable of feeding its growing population.

Drawn from diverse organisations including the private sector, non-governmental organisations, and government agencies, the fellows are from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia.

The women are set to participate in a series of interventions, including leadership and mentoring training, designed to enable them to become more effective policy practitioners.

 “I have previously worked with other scientists to develop innovations that have the potential to empower women and address gender issues. What has been lacking, however, is their inclusion in policy,’’ said GRASP Fellow Beatrice Muriithi of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.

When policies are well implemented, the payoff is significant says fellow Judith Libaisi of SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation.

A wealth of career experience has seen the Kenyan fellows become leaders in their fields. Through her role at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Cooperatives, fellow Scholastica Musyimi is involved in developing policies and strategies and  consistently aims to ensure elements of women empowerment are included.

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