BY EDEL-QUINN AGBAEGBU
The Cornell Alliance for Science released names of six Nigerians selected alongside 23 other “International Science Champions’’ to participate in Cornell’s 2018 edition of the fellows program. The 29 Champions who joined Cornell, August 23, 2018 were drawn from farmers, communicators, scientists, youth leaders and agricultural experts. The names of the six from Nigerians were given as; Etta Michael Bisong, Chibuike Emmanuel, Yewande Kazeem, Chidi Okereke, Okon Odiong Unung and Tracy Uzoigwe.
Ghana produced four, identified as Dennis Baffer- Awuah, Abigail Dankwah Ntiamoah, Evans Okomeng and Reuben Quainoo. Four also came from Kenya. They are Gerald Andae, Kennett Monjero Igadwa, Zola Kazira Madaga and Vernardo Meeme and two Tanzanians: Louis Juma Baraka and Kalvin Edward Gwabara.
There are also four fellows from Philippines: Cecilia Edith Burgos, Taikee Calleja, John Albert Caraan and Kamona Nieva; four from Uganda: Victoria Mbigidde, Alfred Namaasa, Winniefred Nanteza and Jonan Twinamatsiko. We also have: Veronica Mwaba from Zambia and four Zimbabweans – Knowledge Chikundi, 3Kudzai Mafuwe, Rumbidzai Pamela Magwiro and Samantha Salimu.
The 29 Fellows represent eight countries across Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa to further strengthen the Alliance’s global network of science and agricultural champions. They are currently in the USA, attending the 12-week intensive fellows training program from August 27, to November 12, 2018 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Their program courses include; Training in Effective Communications, Grassroots Organizing, Strategic Planning, International Policy and The Science behind Agricultural Biotechnology. Upon completion of this certificate program, Fellows become members of an international professional network uniquely qualified to promote evidence-based decision-making around global issues such as food security, agricultural development, environmental sustainability and climate change.
The Director of the Alliance for Science Sarah Evanega (PhD), said that, “The Fellows are integral part of our mission to create a global network of science champions who are dedicated to helping smallholder farmers, reducing poverty and eliminating hunger”. “We are thrilled to welcome such an engaged, talented and dedicated group of Fellows,” said Polly Endreny Holmberg, who developed and leads the Global Leadership Fellows Program (GLFP) and other short-course training programs for the Alliance. The GLFP, now training its third cohort, is designed to build the skills of emerging international leaders who are committed to advocating for access to agricultural innovation in their home countries.
The program graduated 28 Fellows in 2016 and 25 Fellows in 2015. Together, they represent 20 countries across South and Southeast Asia, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the United States. The network has partners on six continents. These alumni Fellows have successfully launched activities in their home countries that support science education and expand public awareness of the role that agricultural biotechnology can play in improving the lives of smallholder farmers and boosting food security. They have also worked to advance science-based policies related to agriculture in their own countries. The GLFP is supported in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well donations from individuals and sponsorships by partner organizations.
EDEL-QUINN AGBAEGBU IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EVERY WOMAN HOPE CENTRE (EWHC) AND THE SECRETARY, NATIONAL BIOSAFETY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY CONSORTIUM (NBBC), NIGERIA.