Enhancing the Future for African WomenRATIONALE
While great strides have been taken in the advancement of women, many are still disadvantaged by education, financial, health, or social factors. Through the African Women Leaders in Agriculture and Environment (AWLAE), Winrock International has established a strong scholarship program that selects and nurtures promising women leaders from government, extension services, and universities.
Increasing the number of African women leaders graduating with degrees in agriculture and the environmental sciences, this scholarship initiative is being undertaken in nine countries to provide funding for B.Sc. and M.Sc. scholars.
Winrock's Scholarship programs and field offices manage this scholarship program. These offices, with the assistance of the local AWLAE partner organizations: - Recruit, recommend, place and monitor progress of scholars. - Provide pre-departure orientation and scholarship services such as disbursements of stipends, tuition and fees, travel, research, etc. - Provide funding for scholars to attend and participate in conferences, workshops and seminars that complement their academic coursework.
Forty-two women from nine African countries were awarded scholarships to pursue degrees at the B.Sc. or M.Sc. level from 2000-2005. As of January 2007, 28 scholars have successfully completed their degrees. With the program extension, 48 additional scholars have been selected to receive partial scholarships. Six of the Malian scholars who received full support under the original grant agreement also continue to receive support in order to complete their degree programs.
Several of the scholars have undertaken additional research projects or community projects as a result of their increased knowledge and capacity. A group of four scholars in Mali, all enrolled in the mid-career B.Sc. program, conducted a training for rural women in household level poultry production. One of the scholars in Benin was involved in an extensive review of fish species in a watershed, part of a national natural resource review. Several other scholars are acting as mentors to younger women and girls. Most of the scholars are active participants in a local AWLAE professional organization or a related NGO.