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Science+innovation+education+girlchild+women leaders at csw58 un women document

  1. 1. Page  1  of  10   EDUCATION  AND  CAPACITY  BUILDING:  WOMEN,  GIRL  CHILD  AND  SCIENCE   EDUCATION       Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams  and  Olabukunola   Williams1     Abstract     Issues  of  education  and  capacity  building  are  critical  to  every  girl  child  realizing  her  full  potential  globally,   even  more  so  in  Africa.  Although  the  saying  “Knowledge  is  Power”  is  widely  accepted,  in  the  context  of  the   girl  child,  the  power  in  knowledge  is  essential  for  her  to  thrive,  compete  and  create  spaces  for  herself  and   others   in   social   and   business   communities.   Available   data   and   studies   show   the   multiplier,   inter-­‐ generational  impact  of  educated  women  and  girls  in  household  welfare  and  in  improving  the  welfare  of   the   community.   Building   strong   families,   resilient   communities   and   innovative   industries   rests   on   the  foundation  laid  by  informal  and  formal  education  opportunities  for  the  girl  child  throughout  her  life.   Education  is  a  pivotal  need  and  human  right  of  every  child,  especially  the  girl  child.     Empowering  African  girls  and  women,  specifically  in  the  fields  of  Science,  Technology,  Engineering  and   Mathematics  (STEM)  is  crucial  to  achieving  MDGs  for  all.  Many  women  are  discouraged  from  STEM   professions,  starting  even  before  the  early  years  of  high  school.  In  most  African  countries,  women  make   up  close  to  70%  of  the  labor  force  in  agricultural  production,  which  is  characterized  by  a  low  level  of   mechanization.  Yet,  in  African  Academies  of  Science,  African  Agricultural  Economics  Association,  African   Accounting  profession,  African  Societies  of  Engineering  and  in  African  universities  and  technical  colleges,   women  are  noticeably  underrepresented.    Closing  this  skills  gap  is  essential  to  Africa  maximizing  its   natural  endowments  of  agricultural  production  assets  to  feed  itself  and  many  others  in  the  world.     Beyond  eradicating  hunger,  empowered  women  with  STEM  education  can  unleash  a  level  of  creativity  in   multiple-­‐objective  innovation  for  sustainable  development,  including  adaptation  processes  and  tools  to   dampen  the  impact  of  Climate  Change  in  Africa,  and  in  other  emerging  market/developing  regions  of  the   world,  and  developed  market  economies.    The  African  Women  in  Agricultural  Research  and  Development   (AWARD)  Program2  is  intervening  to  change  the  gender  ratio  in  STEM  professions  in  universities,  the   public  sector,  and  industry.  AWARD  grants  fellowships  of  mentoring  and  financial  support  to  female   Agricultural  Research  Scientists  –  in  physical  science,  animal  science,  and  social  science  –  at  every  stage  in   their  careers  to  advance  goals  related  to  improving  the  livelihood  of  women  farmers  and  their   communities.  To  lead  in  taking  this  program  of  empowering  African  women  scientists  to  the  next  level,   the  Nigerian  AWARD  Fellow  community  formed  an  alumni  organization,  Nigerian  Women  in  Agricultural   Research  for  Development  (NiWARD),  as  a  platform  to  apply  their  research  to  transforming  the  lives  of   rural  women  farmers  and  their  communities,  while  serving  as  a  beacon  to  encourage  more  women  to   respond  to  Africa’s  need  for  dynamic  science  and  technology  innovation  along  agriculture  based  value   chains.  Country-­‐level  ownership  of  programs  such  as  NiWARD,  and  the  strengthening  of  the  STEM  talent   pipeline,  to  bring  gender  equality,  as  an  instrumental  link  in  all  dimensions  of  African  agriculture  to   transformative  economic  impact,  is  critical.                                                                                                                       1    Stella  Williams,  Ph.D.  is  a  retired  Professor  of  Agricultural  Economics  and  Initiator  of  NiWARD,  ;   Joyce  Cacho,  Ph.D.  advises  the  Department  of  Rural  Economy  and  Agriculture  (DREA)  of  the  African  Union   Commission  (AUC)  in  Addis  Ababa  (;  Dr.  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema  is  the  Acting   Director  of  the  Centre  for  Gender  in  Science  and  Technology  (CEGIST)  at  the  Federal  University  of  Technology,  Akure   (FUTA),  Ondo  State,  Nigeria,;    Viola  Williams  is  the  Program  Manager  of  PANAFSTRAG,;  and,  Olabukunola  Williams  is  the  Program  Manager  of  NiWARD,     2  Initially,  the  AWARD  Program  was  funded  by  the  Bill  and  Melinda  Gates  Foundation  (BMGF)  and  the  United  States   Agency  for  International  Development  (USAID),  offering  fellowships  to  candidates  English-­‐speaking  Africa.  AWARD,   in  partnership  with  the  West  and  Central  African  Council  for  Agricultural  Research  and  Development   (CORAF/WECARD)  in  Dakar,  Senegal,  and  Agropolis  Fondation  in  Montpellier,  France,  are  collaborating  to  expand   AWARD’s  successful  career-­‐development  program  to  five  francophone  African  countries.  
  2. 2. Education  And  Capacity  Building:  Women,  Girl  Child  And  Science  Education   Page  2  of  10   Authors:   Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams       and  Olabukunola  Williams     Presented  at:   Commission  on  the  Status  of  Women  (CSW58)  side  event     Planetary  Emergency:  African  Women  and  STEM     I.   Introduction   Innovation   is   a   basic   dimension   to   African   countries   rising,   especially   in   the   context   of   agriculture   continuing   to   dominate   the   economies   of   the   majority   of   continent.   Therefore,   agricultural   sector   growth   is   a   necessity   in   the   context   of   increasing   demands.     Achieving   economic   growth   targets   through   integrative   development  policies  and  investment  with  agriculture  at  the  center  is  the  unavoidable,   pressing   focus   of   political,   social,   and   industry   discussions   –   domestically   and   internationally.  This  is  especially  true  in  assessing  strategies  to  achieve  the  Millennium   Development  Goals  (MDGs)  and  Post  2015  Development  goals,  where  gender  equality,   sustainable   development   and   food   security   are   closely   tied.   We   now   know   that   “improving  the  education  of  women  and  thus,  their  economic  opportunities,  not  only   can  make  a  substantial  contribution  to  a  country’s  economic  growth,  it  is  also  the  single   most  important  determinant  of  food  security.”3  Thus,  the  saying  that  “when  you  educate   a  woman  or  the  girl  child,  you  are  educating  a  nation.”  not  only  holds  true  today,  it  is  at   the   center   of   current   strategy   formulation   discussions   about   eradicating   hunger   and   achieving  economic  growth  rates  for  increasing  populations  worldwide.      In  his  2014   State  of  Union  speech,  United  States  President  Barack  Obama  described  this  notion  in   the  context  of  raising  the  minimum  wage  across  the  nation,  as  “when  women  succeed,   America  succeeds.”     II.   Science,  Innovation  and  Agricultural  Development   The   late   Norman   Borlaug4  demonstrated   through   his   research   in   Mexico,   that   investment  in  agriculture  anchors  food  security  and  economic  growth.  Even  today,  the   agriculture   sector   is   the   largest   employer   of   labor   in   most   African   countries;   where   close  to  70%  of  women  in  these  countries  are  the  drivers  of  agriculture  production  that   is  at  the  center  of  rural  communities.    The  documented  under-­‐representation  of  women   in   African   Academies   of   Science,   African   Agricultural   Economics   Association,   African   Accounting  profession,  African  Societies  of  Engineering  and  in  African  universities  and   technical  colleges,  led  to  the  creation  of  the  African  Women  in  Agricultural  Research  and                                                                                                                   3 Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olive De Schutter – Women’s rights and the right to food. 4  Dr.  Norman  Borlaug  was  an  American  biologist,  humanitarian  and  Nobel  laureate.  He  passed  away  in  2009,  at  the   age  of  95  years  old.  
  3. 3. Education  And  Capacity  Building:  Women,  Girl  Child  And  Science  Education   Page  3  of  10   Authors:   Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams       and  Olabukunola  Williams     Presented  at:   Commission  on  the  Status  of  Women  (CSW58)  side  event     Planetary  Emergency:  African  Women  and  STEM     Development  (AWARD)  Fellowship  Program  in  2008  .  Through  this  career-­‐development   program,  top  women  agricultural  scientists  across  sub-­‐Saharan  Africa  are  equipped  to   accelerate   agricultural   gains   by   strengthening   their   research   and   leadership   skills,   through  tailored  fellowships.  Initially  funded  by  the  Bill  and  Melinda  Gates  Foundation   (BMGF)   and   the   United   States   Agency   for   International   Development   (USAID),   fellowships   were   offered   to   candidates   from   English-­‐speaking   Africa.     More   recently,   AWARD,   in   partnership   with   the   West   and   Central   African   Council   for   Agricultural   Research   and   Development   (CORAF/WECARD)   in   Dakar,   Senegal,   and   Agropolis   Fondation  in  Montpellier,  France,  joined  forces  to  expand  AWARD’s  successful  career-­‐ development  program  to  five  francophone  African  countries.    Additionally,  AWARD  has   attracted  support  from  a  few  private  sector  partners.    These  female  scientists/  AWARD   Fellows,  are  charged  to  return  to  their  home  countries  and  assist  with  responding  to  the   daily  challenges  rural  female  farmers  face,  by  focusing  on  crops,  livestock  and  fisheries   that  are  essential  to  household  nutrition  and  community  trade,  innovating  processes  to   improve   access   to   market   and   agricultural   extension   information,   and   reducing   the   drudgery  of  value  addition  in  their  farming  enterprises.   Increasing   the   number   of   African   women   in   Science,   Technology,   Engineering   and  Mathematics  (STEM)  is  pivotal  to  Africa  achieving  the  goals  of  hunger  eradication   and  poverty  reduction.    Although  historically,  if  women  were  explicitly  considered,  it   was  with  a  single  focus  on  agricultural  production,  it  is  clear  that  women  in  Africa  are   essential  in  primary  processing,  post  harvest  loss  management,  and  marketing  roles  in   transforming  agricultural  commodities  to  consumer  ready  items  –  for  national,  regional,   continental  and  off-­‐continent  markets.    In  today’s  consumer  demand  driven  agriculture,   overlooking  these  additional  roles  of  African  women  translates  into  missed  innovation   opportunities.  Fortunately,  the  visibility  of  women  in  agriculture  is  increasing  and  the   value  they  add  to  the  sector  is  being  recognized  and  researched.  This  recognition  that   began  in  the  1970s  and  is  steadily  increasing,  coincides  with  the  much-­‐needed  push  to   bring   gender   equality   to   STEM   professions   and   the   talent   pipeline   in   Africa.     The   significant  contributions  by  women  in  leadership  and  integration  of  women  in  STEM,   especially  in  Africa,  are  crucial  to  extracting  the  maximum  contribution  from  agriculture,   while  increasing  economic  welfare,  peace,  prosperity  and  security  in  rural  communities.    
  4. 4. Education  And  Capacity  Building:  Women,  Girl  Child  And  Science  Education   Page  4  of  10   Authors:   Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams       and  Olabukunola  Williams     Presented  at:   Commission  on  the  Status  of  Women  (CSW58)  side  event     Planetary  Emergency:  African  Women  and  STEM     III.   Challenges   There  are  many  challenges  on  the  road  to  gender  equality  in  agriculture  in  Africa.     Although  these  challenges  characterize  the  agriculture  sector  in  several  regions  of  the   world,   challenges   of   land   rights,   access   to   market   information,   access   to   extension   services,   access   to   credit,   mechanized   tools   and   equipment,   and   absence   of   robust   intellectual  property  rights,  combine  to  form  a  formidable  wall  for  women  from  diverse   cultures  of  the  African  continent.  Focus  on  increased  access  to  formal  education  in  every   dimension,  and  at  every  life  stage  –  especially  of  girl  children  –  is  the  factor  that  will  best   equip   Africans   with   the   tools   and   understanding   of   the   integrated   links   between   nutrition,   education   performance,   community   resilience,   household   income,   growing   domestic   consumer   demand   for   food   and   energy,   innovation   and   adaption   processes   and   products   to   respond   to   climate   change.     From   early   childhood   education,   to   integrating   mobile   telephone   technology   and   smart   phone   technology   to   deliver   efficient  and  effective  extension  service  and  improving  access  to  credit,  education  is  at   the   heart   of   empowering   and   transforming   the   lives   of   African   women   and   girls,   opening  the  aperture  for  each  member  of  the  community  –  including  men  and  boys  –  to   contribute  to  increasing  the  prosperity  of  the  community.    It  is  not  surprising  that  there   is   a   strong   correlation   between   countries   with   a   high   gender   gap   and   countries   struggling   with   high   levels   of   hunger5.     Additionally,   “wages,   agricultural   income   and   productivity  –  all  critical  for  reducing  poverty  –  are  higher  where  women  involved  in   agriculture  receive  a  better  education.”6  Closing  the  gender  gap  in  agriculture  through   education   will   catalyze   countries   to   achieve   the   MDGs   goals,   especially   in   addressing   hunger  and  sustainability.                                                                                                                       5  United  Nations  International  Fund  for  Agricultural  Development  (IFAD),  Salzburg  Global  Seminar,  Belgian  Fund  for   Food  Security;  (13-­‐17  November  2011);  ‘Transforming  agricultural  development  and  production  in  Africa:  Closing   gender  gaps  and  empowering  rural  women  in  policy  and  practice’;   6  UNESCO  et  al.  (2013);  Framework  And  Plan  Of  Action  for  the  Global  Alliance  for  Partnerships  on  Media  and   Information  Literacy  (GAPMIL):  Promoting  Media  and  Information  Literacy  (MIL)  as  a  Means  to  Open  and  Inclusive   Development;;   accessed  11  March  2013.  
  5. 5. Education  And  Capacity  Building:  Women,  Girl  Child  And  Science  Education   Page  5  of  10   Authors:   Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams       and  Olabukunola  Williams     Presented  at:   Commission  on  the  Status  of  Women  (CSW58)  side  event     Planetary  Emergency:  African  Women  and  STEM     IV.   Women,  Girl  Child  and  Science  Education   Women   and   girls   can   excel   in   the   fields   of   science   and   technology   yet   the   numbers  do  not  reflect  this  reality.    Half  of  the  world’s  population  is  women  and  girls   and   yet   data   shows   that   almost   half   of   the   worlds’   out-­‐of-­‐schools   girls,   are   in   sub-­‐ Saharan  Africa.  Therefore,  in  terms  of  basic  literacy,  the  noticeably  large  gap  between   girls  and  boys  persists.    The  MDGs  forced  many  African  nations  to  increase  education   funding,  which  is  linked  to  a  subtle  narrowing  of  the  literacy  gap  between  African  girls   and   boys.   However,   the   challenges   are   not   going   away   at   a   rate   to   make   the   much   needed,  dramatic  difference  in  eradicating  hunger  and  reducing  poverty,  not  even  in  the   next  15-­‐20  years.     The  gaps  are  most  stark  and  prominent  in  STEM  education,  especially  in  rural   areas.  These  areas  require  our  focus  and  commitment  to  turn  the  tide.  Interventions  to   promote  education,  gender  equality  and  food  security  must  include  rural  women  and   rural   communities.   It   has   been   shown   that   “empowering   rural   women   increases   agricultural  production  and  food  security.”  There  are  various  initiatives  and  programs   targeted   at   addressing   gender   equality   and   agriculture   from   all   angles.     To   build   on   international  grant  programs,  such  as  the  AWARD  Fellowship  Program,  AWARD  Fellows   and   Mentors   in   Nigeria   came   together   to   create   the   Nigerian   Women   in   Agricultural   Research  for  Development  (NiWARD)  program     V.   Case  Study  on  Ownership  and  Leadership  at  the  Country  Level   The   NiWARD   concept   exists   because   of   the   more   than   6   years   of   history   that   the   AWARD   Program   created.     AWARD’s   direct   focus   on   fostering   leadership   skills   in   African  women  for  institutional  development  and  supporting  research  directly  related   to  the  roles  of  women  in  African  agriculture  production,  processing,  marketing,  and  post   harvest  loss  management  was  timely.    Given  the  size  of  the  gender  equality  challenge  in   STEM   in   Africa   and   the   strong   appetite   for   Africa’s   markets   that   grew   at   an   average   annual   rate   of   more   than   8   percent,   despite   the   precipitous   drop   in   global   economy   performance,  the  AWARD  program  was  a  strategic  outgrowth  of  a  pilot  project  by  the  
  6. 6. Education  And  Capacity  Building:  Women,  Girl  Child  And  Science  Education   Page  6  of  10   Authors:   Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams       and  Olabukunola  Williams     Presented  at:   Commission  on  the  Status  of  Women  (CSW58)  side  event     Planetary  Emergency:  African  Women  and  STEM     Gender   and   Development   Program   of   the   Consultative   Group   in   International   Agriculture  Research7    (CGIAR).     NiWARD  takes  the  AWARD  Program  goals  of  building  connections  and  networks   to  continue  to  focus  on  achieving  food  secure  countries  through  empowering  women   and  mainstreaming  gender.8    A  study  undertaken  by  AWARD  and  Agricultural  Science   and   Technology   Indicators   (ASTI)   on   “Female   Participation   in   African   Agricultural   Research  and  Higher  Education:  New  Insights”  found  that  only  1  in  4  researchers  were   women  and  at  the  leadership  level,  only  1  in  7  women  held  management  positions.    The   results  of  the  study  show  that  programs  like  AWARD  are  necessary  to  reduce  the  gender   gap   in   agriculture.     In   countries   with   available   comparative   data,   the   percentage   of   women  working  in  agricultural  research  and  institutions  of  higher  learning  range  from   as   low   as   6%   in   Ethiopia   to   41%   in   Botswana,   which   ranked   highest   in   the   survey.     Although,  the  survey  results  indicated  a  small  increase  in  the  overall  number  of  women   participating  in  agricultural  research,  the  increase  occurred  mostly  in  the  fields  of  life   and   social   sciences.     In   the   most   critical   sciences   -­‐-­‐   basic   science   which   has   been   historically   overwhelmingly   dominated   by   men   -­‐-­‐   that   have   huge   implications   for   transformational  innovation  in  agriculture  and  the  related  fields  of  water  management,   soil  quality  management,  and  nutrition  for  example,  the  participation  rate  of  women  is   flat   or   declining.   When   examining   the   career   trajectory   of   the   increasing   women   graduates   in   agriculture,   women   show   a   low   preference   for   pursuing   agricultural   research  as  a  profession.    This  pattern  of  declining  proportion  of  women  in  agricultural                                                                                                                   7  The  Consultative  Group  in  International  Agriculture  Research    (CGIAR),  is  a  global  partnership  that  unites   organizations  engaged  in  research  for  a  food  secure  future.  CGIAR  research  is  dedicated  to  reducing  rural  poverty,   increasing  food  security,  improving  human  health  and  nutrition,  and  ensuring  more  sustainable  management  of   natural  resources.  It  is  carried  out  by  15  Centers  that  are  members  of  the  CGIAR  Consortium,  in  close  collaboration   with  hundreds  of  partner  organizations,  including  national  and  regional  research  institutes,  civil  society   organizations,  academia,  and  the  private  sector.  Members  provide  funding  to  the  CGIAR  and  includes  country   governments,  institutions,  and  philanthropic  foundations  including  the  USA,  Canada,  the  UK,  Germany,  Switzerland,   and  Japan,  the  Ford  Foundation,  the  Food  and  Agriculture  Organization  of  the  United  Nations  (FAO),  the  International   Fund  for  Agricultural  Development  (IFAD),  the  United  Nations  Development  Programme  (UNDP),  the  World  Bank,   the  European  Commission,  the  Asian  Development  Bank,  the  African  Development  Bank,  and  the  Fund  of  the   Organization  of  the  Petroleum  Exporting  Countries  (OPEC  Fund).  The  15  Research  Centers  generate  and  disseminate   knowledge,  technologies,  and  policies  for  agricultural  development  through  the  CGIAR  Research  Programs.  The   CGIAR  Fund  provides  reliable  and  predictable  multi-­‐year  funding  to  enable  research  planning  over  the  long  term,   resource  allocation  based  on  agreed  priorities,  and  the  timely  and  predictable  disbursement  of  funds.  The  multi-­‐ donor  trust  fund  finances  research  carried  out  by  the  Centers  through  the  CGIAR  Research  Programs.   8  “28  Outstanding  Scientists  Win  AWARD  Advanced  Science  Training  Competition”;­‐and-­‐events/award-­‐news.html;  accessed  11  March  2014.  
  7. 7. Education  And  Capacity  Building:  Women,  Girl  Child  And  Science  Education   Page  7  of  10   Authors:   Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams       and  Olabukunola  Williams     Presented  at:   Commission  on  the  Status  of  Women  (CSW58)  side  event     Planetary  Emergency:  African  Women  and  STEM     research  profession  may  indicate  deficiencies  in  the  research  work  environment  when   it  comes  to  supporting  the  career  advancement  of  women.   NiWARD   seeks   to   address   this   challenge   directly   by   drawing   on   the   network   strength  of  AWARD  fellow  and  mentor  alumni  of  women  and  men  to  promote  capacity   building   through   training   in   scientific   research   and   outreach   to   rural   communities   nationally.    By  partnering  with  the  Federal  and  State  government  to  help  local  women,   at   the   grass   roots   level,   to   increase   their   income   and   farm   productivity   through   improved  access  to  technology  and  finance,  NiWARD  is  building  a  portfolio  of  impactful   interventions.    NiWARD,  as  a  National  program,  will  ensure  the  visibility  of  empowered   Nigerian   women   scientists   through   their   involvement   in   the   nation’s   Agricultural   Transformation  Agenda  (ATA),  a  program  that  is  directed  by  the  President  of  Nigeria,   Dr.  Goodluck  Jonathan.  Demonstrating  leadership  and  ownership  by  Nigerian  women   scientists,  builds  on  skills  honed  as  AWARD  Program  Fellows  and  is  the  basis  for  raising   the  profile  of  agricultural  research  careers  to  women  and  girls  in  rural  communities,   academic  institutions,  government  administration,  and  more  broadly  State  and  Federal   legislative  bodies,  and  the  private  sector.   In  the  spirit  of  an  old  African  proverb  that  says  "If  you  want  to  go  quickly,  go   alone.  If  you  want  to  go  far,  go  together.",  it  is  important  to  note  that  the  inception  of   NiWARD  experienced  support  from  Dr.  Akin  Adesina,  Minister  of  Agriculture,  Nigeria;   Professor  Adebiyi  Daramola,    Vice  Chancellor  of  the  Federal  University  of  Technology,   Akure   (FUTA),   Ondo   State,   Nigeria   and   Professor   Baba   Yusuf   Abubakar.     “Going   far”   speaks   to   unwavering   commitment   and   institution   building.     The   collective   efforts   of   Federal   and   State   level   support   led   to   NiWARD   establishing   a   base   at   the   Centre   for   Gender  in  Science  and  Technology9    (CEGIST)  at  FUTA.       VI.   Conclusion   The   AWARD   Program   took   the   first   step   by   investing   in   the   African   women   scientist,  determined  from  the  lab  bench,  to  create  a  resilient  tomorrow,  where  more                                                                                                                   9  The  Centre  for  Gender  Issues  in  Science  and  Technology  (CEGIST)  of  the  Federal  University  of  Technology,  Akure   was  established  in  January  2009,  following  a  directive  of  the  Nigerian  Universities  Commission  to  set  up   Entrepreneurship  Study  Centres  in  all  Nigerian  universities.  The  Centre  which  started  as  an  entrepreneurship  and   gender  issues  Centre,  now  focuses  on  gender  issues  only  with  a  restructured  mandate  to  promote  gender  equity  and   entrepreneurship  empowerment  towards  the  reduction  of  poverty  and  creation  of  wealth  in  the  context  of  gender   mainstreaming.;  accessed  11  March  2014.  
  8. 8. Education  And  Capacity  Building:  Women,  Girl  Child  And  Science  Education   Page  8  of  10   Authors:   Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams       and  Olabukunola  Williams     Presented  at:   Commission  on  the  Status  of  Women  (CSW58)  side  event     Planetary  Emergency:  African  Women  and  STEM     girl   children   are   empowered   to   live   their   dreams   of   a   better   tomorrow   for   all   communities   –   be   it   in   rural,   per-­‐urban,   or   urban   areas.   From   the   continental   level   AWARD   Program,   NiWARD   is   taking   ownership   and   leading   at   the   country   level   to   ensure  that  rural  women  and  communities  and  their  pivotal  role  in  eradicating  hunger   and   reducing   poverty   in   Africa,   is   engrained   in   the   dynamic   policy   and   action   frameworks.   Through   collaboration,   capacity   building,   and   gender   responsiveness,   Nigerian  AWARD  participants  through  NiWARD  can  transfer  and  share  their  knowledge   with   rural   women   and   continue   to   develop   Nigeria’s   agriculture   research   agenda.     Distinctly   including,   and   inserting   women   agricultural   researchers   and   rural   women   farmers   in   national   agricultural   investment   strategies   is   the   lever   to   catalyze   transformation  of  the  structure  of  Africa’s  economies  to  deliver  robust  growth  for  the   rapidly  increasing,  and  youthful  population.  The  rise  of  Africa  depends  on  it.     Programs  like  AWARD  and  NiWARD  are  examples  of  programs  that  are  needed   in   the   increasing   investment   climate,   where   the   cross-­‐cutting   issue   gender,   and   gaps   between  opportunities  for  women  and  men,  and  girls  and  boys,  is  shaping  decisions  to   scale-­‐up   the   results   from   many   pilot   and   multi-­‐phase   projects,   in   coordinated   frameworks  of  National  Agriculture  and  Food  Security  Investment  Plans  (NAFSIPs)  and   donor   coordination   at   the   national   and   regional   levels   in   Africa.10     This   is   an   acute   challenge   because   “in   many   parts   of   the   global   south,   there   is   a   structural   deficit   in   access  to  education  by  girl  children,  and  where,  when  there  has  been  improved  access   to  primary  education  there  are  high  attrition  rates  at  the  age  when  a  girl  matures  into  a   woman,   typically   at   the   high   school   age.   Defining   targets   on   a   gender   disaggregated   basis  in  the  Mutual  Accountability  Framework  of  the  Comprehensive.  Africa  Agriculture   Development  Programme  (CAADP),  is  critical  to  attracting  the  quantity  and  quality  of   African  and  off-­‐continent  investment  capital  to  support  NAFSIPs  in  a  way  that  should   translate  into  increased  investment  to  increase  access  to  school  and  at  at  the  same  time,   reduce  girl  child  attrition  rates  challenges  of  girls  from  school,  improve  women’s  access   to     agricultural   input   markets   and   at   the   same   time   increase   the   number   of   women                                                                                                                   10  Keizire,  B.  (2013);  “Promoting  Mutual  Accountability  through  Strengthened  Agricultural  Joint  Sector  Reviews”;  ;  Accessed  11  March  2014.   E.  Ransom  and  C.  Bain  (2011),  ‘Gendering  Agricultural  Aid:    An  Analysis  of  Whether  International  Development   Assistance  Targets  Women  and  Gender’,  Gender  &  Society  25(1):48-­‐74.    
  9. 9. Education  And  Capacity  Building:  Women,  Girl  Child  And  Science  Education   Page  9  of  10   Authors:   Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams       and  Olabukunola  Williams     Presented  at:   Commission  on  the  Status  of  Women  (CSW58)  side  event     Planetary  Emergency:  African  Women  and  STEM     entrepreneurs,   and     for   the   youth   –   girl   and   boy   children   –   turnaround   the   trend   of   declining  interest  in  agricultural  sciences.     The  time  is  now  to  close  the  gender  gap  in  agriculture  because,  in  addition  to   being   the   right   thing   to   do,   it   is   a   major   lever   to   raise   the   platform   of   economic   performance  of  African  nations  so  that  they  are  more  resilient  and  generators  of  growth   for   continent-­‐wide   demand,   and   global   market   demand.   Hitting   Africa’s   current   food   and   nutrition   security,   and   poverty   reduction   targets   is   the   basic   achievement   of   mainstreaming  gender  in  education  in  STEM  areas.    The  inter-­‐generational  impact  of   robust  innovation  systems  –  from  cradle  to  grave;  from  farm  to  table;  from  households   to   communities,   near   and   far   –   by   linking   gender   outcomes   with   the   portfolio   of   investments  today,  is  a  worthy  reward  to  seek   –  today.  It  is  through  advocacy  by  all   participants   at   the   58th   Session   of   the   Commission   on   Status   of   Women   (CSW),   UN   Women   and   the   Africa   Union   Commission’s   (AUC’s)   Commissioner   Rhoda   Peace   Tumusiime   ,   Department   of   Rural   Economy   and   Agriculture   (DREA)   –   especially   in   celebrating  the  AUC  2014  Year  of  Agriculture  and  Food  Security  –  to  continue  to  support   coordinated  policy  design,  and  data  based  advocacy  across,  so  that  there  is  a  structural   break   with   the   past   and     the   girl   child   and   women   are   integrated   into   identifying   solutions  to  achieve  near  term  targets,  such  as  the  MDGs,  but  also  to  forever  improve   the  innovation  process  and  the  career  environments  for  women  in  STEM  professions  in   Africa.     -­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­    ###    -­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­-­     Acknowledgements     Our   thanks   goes   to   Pan   African   Strategic   Policy   and   Research   Group,   USA   (PANAFSTRAG)  for  their  invitation  to  participate  in  their  UN  Women,  Commission  on   the   Status   of   Women   (CSW58)   side   event,   Planetary   Emergency,   African   Women   and   STEM.  Specifically  we  thank  Dr.  Iman  Drammeh  Nur,  Executive  Director,  The  Drammeh   Institute;  and,  Viola  Williams,  for  their  vision  to  give  additional  voice  to  these  key  issues.     Tireless  work  by  Vicki  Wilde  over  an  8-­‐year  period  reflects  exemplary  dedication   and  focus.    From  attracting  pilot  project  funding  from  Rockefeller  Foundation–Africa  in   2005,   to   form   a   strong   data   basis   for   the   project   concept   note   that   garnered   initial  
  10. 10. Education  And  Capacity  Building:  Women,  Girl  Child  And  Science  Education   Page  10  of  10   Authors:   Stella  Williams,  Joyce  Cacho,  Mojisola  Olayinka  Edema,  Viola  Williams       and  Olabukunola  Williams     Presented  at:   Commission  on  the  Status  of  Women  (CSW58)  side  event     Planetary  Emergency:  African  Women  and  STEM     investment  from  the  Bill  and  Melinda  Gates  Foundation  (BMGF)  and  the  United  States   Agency   for   International   Development   (USAID)   to   scale-­‐up   to   the   AWARD   Program   targeting   women   scientists   in   English-­‐speaking   Africa,   to   attracting   private   sector   partnership,   her   efforts   standout.     The   AWARD   Program   Advisory   Board,   fully   supported  Vicki’s  efforts  to  expand  the  Program  to  African  French-­‐speaking  countries   and  attracting  additive  funding  from  Agropolis  Fondation  in  Montpellier,  France;  and,   additive   partnership   with   the   West   and   Central   African   Council   for   Agricultural   Research   and   Development   (CORAF/WECARD)   in   Dakar,   Senegal.   In   2013,   Vicki   was   appointed  Senior  Program  Officer,  Global  Development,  Agricultural  Development  and   Gender   at   BMGF.     In   her   current   role,   Vicki   will   have   the   opportunity   to   deepen   the   embedding   of   women   in   STEM   education   and   strengthening   career   development   and   leadership,   as   key   levers   to   respond   to   challenges   in   innovation,   food,   agriculture,   nutrition,  and  wealth  creation  at  the  global  level.