Congratulations to Mercy Wamalwa who has won an African Women in Agriculture Research and Development (AWARD) fellowship! During the two year fellowship Mercy will be mentored by Prof. Lenah Nakhone Wati from Egerton University. The fellowship also supports attendance at either a leadership, science or proposal writing workshop to enhance the professional development of the fellow. For more details see her profile and visit www.awardfellowships.org.
“My passion for plants began during my childhood in the rural western part of Kenya; I used to accompany my mother and grandmother to the field during planting and harvesting time. Fascinated with plants I decided to study biological sciences. In 2007, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Egerton University. I enrolled for a Masters degree in Agronomy (Plant Breeding) in 2009 the same university. In 2010, I met Ms. Ruth Wanyera, a Principal Research Scientist at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Njoro and also an African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) fellow year 2009. She mentored me and this is the first time I came to hear and know about AWARD. She encouraged me to apply for AWARD which I did, but as much as I was not selected for three consecutive years. In 2014, luck was on my side I won the fellowship, this life changing AWARD. My mentor is Prof. Lenah Nakhone Wati from Egerton University. In the second year of the AWARD I will also mentor young female researcher as part of the AWARD program.
Again through Ruth’s had work, I am a beneficiary of a collaborative research grant with BBSRC under Sustainable Crop Production Research For International Development (SCPRID) project, ‘Maximizing the potential for sustainable and durable resistance to yellow rust pathogen’. Through the grant I am now enrolled for a PhD at Egerton University.
I hope that the AWARD Fellowship will be an empowering and transformative experience that will have a lasting impact on my career in agriculture research and development, and on the lives of Africa’s smallholder farmers, especially women. I intend to achieve my purpose which is to contribute to the development of rust resistant wheat varieties for small holder farmers in Africa hence increased yields, incomes, resulting to improved livelihoods.”