This project was funded by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet, known as the Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab (SMIL). This lab is funded by USAID and managed at Kansas State University.
African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) hosted the Women’s Leadership and Management Course (WLMC) for women in agricultural research positions. AWARD is focused on investing in inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity in Africa through gender-responsive research and innovation.
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet (SMIL) continues to support professional and researcher development and supported five attendees in the WLMC program this year, Alemnesh Bekele Jebessa, Ethiopia, Elisabeth Diatta-Holgate, Senegal, Fanna Maïna Assane Mamadou, Niger, Hannatou Oumarou Moussa, Niger and Mame Penda Sarr Diawara, Senegal.
The training was focused on building a network of women in agricultural research as a connection for information and professional support. The robust seven-day course allowed women serving in leadership positions the opportunity to address and understand hidden barriers and opportunities. In fact, the course offered a 360-degree review for each participant as a way to reflect upon their current leadership and management capabilities.
Another SMIL-sponsored researcher, Alemnesh Jebessa Bekele from Haramaya University in Ethiopia, reflected on how she would explain the conference to other researchers. “The AWARD training on leadership and management is a great opportunity for professionals within hard sciences to improve their leadership and management style within the short period of effective learning.”
When asked to describe two key takeaways from the conference, Jebessa Bekele shares, “First, the difference between leadership and management, and second, the different options of leadership styles and the choices we have to be an effective leader.”
Since its founding in 1995, the AWARD WLMC has impacted women’s leadership capacities in Africa, and this year's training proved to be positively impactful for the five SMIL-sponsored women scientists who attended.
A SMIL-sponsored researcher, Dr. Hannatou Moussa Oumarou from the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN), said the conference training gave her the opportunity to be able to communicate concerns and gather solutions for them.
“By attending the conference, I was able to learn my leadership style and capture and understand my strengths and weaknesses,” Moussa Oumarou explained. “It is nice knowing that I am not the only one facing challenges in my work as a woman.”
Following the training, many institutions were able to promote capable candidates to upper management levels.
"By attending the conference, I was able to learn my leadership style and capture and understand my strengths and weaknesses,"