Editorial Chief: Jemimah M. Njuki, Africa Centre for Gender, Social Research and Impact Assessment

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Vol 2, Issue 1, pp 77-105, 2017

Strengthening mentoring partnerships for African women scientists in the agricultural research and development system in sub-Saharan Africa

Author: Dorothy Mukhebi1*, Evelyne Otunga1, Melody Mentz2, and Anne Wangalachi1
1African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)
2MelodyM Consulting
*Corresponding Author: D.Mukhebi@cgiar.org


The contribution of women to development is particularly important to the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa where women constitute a large proportion of smallholder farmers. Despite their important role, the participation of women in agricultural research, particularly at the leadership level, remains low. This paper explores the role of mentoring in increasing the pool of women in agricultural research using the case of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development program. The paper elaborates on evidence collected over a three-year period to evaluate program effectiveness, benefits accrued and key success factors. Results show that the program’s structured approach has direct career benefits for mentors and mentees. Furthermore, the program has proven effective in increasing gender responsiveness for mentors, particularly males, increasing their probability of serving as champions within institutions. Four discrete factors for successful mentoring were identified: commitment, shared research interests, proximity and personality. The paper concludes with recommendations for program design.

Keywords: Women, scientists, mentoring, partnership, empowerment, gender, sub-Saharan Africa

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DOI: 10.19268/JGAFS.212017.5
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