Disease Control / Event / Genomics / Indigenous Breeds

AWARD Fellow, Sheila Ommeh participates at the International Women’s Day briefing event for British Parliamentary Group in London

ILRI former scientist Olivier Hanotte and ILRI scientist Sheila Ommeh

Sheila Ommeh, ILRI scientist with Olivier Hanotte, former ILRI scientist and her PhD supervisor at the meeting with British parliamentarians on March 7 (photo credit: AWARD/Karen Homer)

‘On the eve of International Women’s Day and against the backdrop of deepening food crises across sub-Saharan Africa, two leading African women agricultural scientists joined U.K. experts at a lunchtime parliamentary briefing of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development today on “Effective Solutions for Agricultural Development through Empowered African Women Scientists.”’

‘An estimated 239 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are hungry, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The urgency to boost food production is clear, and ensuring the continent’s food security will require mobilizing the best minds from every discipline, especially women, who are the backbone of African agriculture. However, although the majority of those who produce, process, and market Africa’s food are women, only one in four (25%) agricultural researchers is female. Even fewer, one in seven (14%), hold leadership positions in African agricultural research institutions.’

‘African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) is addressing that gap by building the capacity of African women scientists conducting pro-poor agricultural research.’

‘Dr. Sheila Ommeh, a Kenyan winner of an AWARD Fellowship and a molecular geneticist whose research focuses on breeding disease-resistant indigenous chickens, commented: “Seventy-six percent of all Kenyan rural households are engaged in some kind of poultry rearing. It’s critical to food security. However, their flocks—and their livelihoods—are endangered by bird flu and Newcastle disease. I’m researching these diseases and am trying to make the ‘chicken agenda’ a priority for research institutions and governments.”’

Read the whole article: AWARD Fellows Brief MPs on Women’s Role in Delivering Effective Solutions for Agricultural Development

Other related stories:

African women scientists praise fellowship scheme

Sheila Ommeh, her journey through agricultural research and passion for chicken research

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