Low representation of women in agricultural research in Africa has been well recorded, with data indicating that women represent on average only 24 percent of researchers.

The International Veterinary Vaccinology Network (IVVN), in partnership with University of Edinburgh, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), University of Ibadan, University of Zambia, and the African Vaccinology Network (AfVANET) are working to bridge this gap by exposing young girls to the latest trends and career options in veterinary science.

A pilot of the IVVN African Schools Outreach Programme was launched in Nairobi, Kenya at Precious Blood Girls High School Riruta. The program aims to shape and inspire Africa's future generation of scientists perspective in science and agriculture. The teenage girls were taken through an immersive and interactive laboratory practical session.

Precious Blood Girls High School Riruta, Nairobi students write down their understanding of a virus, the various types of viruses and the qualities of a good scientist.

Qualities of a good scientist as suggested by the students

Students from Precious Blood Girls High School Riruta, Nairobi note their ideas on the qualities of a good scientist during the IVVN African Schools Outreach Programme lab session.

This four-minute video captures some highlights of the event held in March 2019.

Several outstanding African women scientists who are also members of the African Vaccinology Network participated in the exercise.

Photo: Glory Mbah of University of Buea demonstrates to the students how to use the Accumax.

Dr. Ntombi Mudenda from University of Zambia teaching the students how to correctly use the Accumax to collect samples.

Stacy Grace a student at Precious Blood Girls High School Riruta, Nairobi conducting the rabies test.

Stacy Methu and Muringi Wanjohi students at Precious Blood Girls High School Riruta, Nairobi collecting samples for the rabies test.

In addition to the lab sessions, the students attended a mentoring session led by AWARD Fellows from Kenya. The Fellows, who are also members of the Kenyan AWARD Country chapter ( KeAWARD) demystified myths about women and science careers. Norah Ndege, 2015 AWARD Fellow and the Chairperson, KeAWARD, underscored the value of mentoring and urged the students to be intentional in seeking mentorship opportunities as it is a fundamental pathway for building their knowledge.

Dr. Esther Kanduma, 2010 AWARD Fellow and a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, highlighted the different pathways toward a career in veterinary and livestock sciences.

The AWARD Country chapters are instrumental in deepening AWARD's intracountry engagements and influencing an enabling environment for gender-responsive agricultural research. Check out more images from the event here.

Photo Credits: AWARD/ Artfuleyes Productions



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