The African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) has been described as a large contributor to the Academic and Professional Development of staff mentees and mentors in FUNAAB.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako said this during the AWARD training, held in the University, for selected Mentees drawn from Colleges, Centres and Units in the University.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, there have been networks with women in the rural areas, which AWARD has contributed to through FUNAAB.
Professor Salako also added that in associating with AWARD, FUNAAB has gained in terms of training of her staff. According to him, “Not just Professor Sanni and Dr. Petra, some other staff have been trained under AWARD and the community development sector has been taken care of in terms of giving lectures to women on preventive medicine, on agricultural development and child care”.
“AWARD is not a stranger to us, it has always been in the institution, Dr. Petra has been a Coordinator, Professor Sanni has been a leader of AWARD. Therefore, coming here this time around is just a progressive action in terms of the fact that we are well known to them and they are well known to us”, the Vice-Chancellor added.
Adding her voice, the Deputy Director, AWARD, Dr. Mitchell Mbo’o- Tchouawai noted that AWARD is a Pan African initiative that works on building and strengthening capacity at individual level.
She revealed that the Mentoring Orientation workshop was a demand from FUNAAB and was part of AWARD’s initiative on the gender responses on Agricultural Research and Development. According to her, AWARD have decided to work with a selected number of institutions across Africa and FUNAAB is part of them for this phase.
According to Dr. Mitchell, “We wanted this initiative to be owned by the institution, so we are coming with the idea to support institutional capacity building but we want the institution to tell us what their needs are and we work together to define that so that whatever is being implemented here, they see value in it”.
Speaking further, she said that the “Steering Committee wants an Africa that is responsive to its problems, an Africa that can take the lead in action. This is our vision in the long run moreso that, change can be a long process but any other step that we take in that change makes a difference and we want to take it”.
On her part, the Founder, Nigerian Women in Agricultural Research and Development (NIWARD), Professor Stella William also noted that FUNAAB has clocked 10 years in AWARD with Professor Sanni and Dr. Petra pioneering from FUNAAB in 2009.
Professor William noted that FUNAAB is carrying a burden to develop other South-West Universities in AWARD. According to her, “It is only a forward-looking approach whereby FUNAAB platform is being used to make sure that Nigeria transformation agenda proposed by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture is actualized”.
“So, with this, FUNAAB is going to reach out to the Southwest region and make sure that those goals are achieved and what a pleasure it is that this is happening in our time”, she concluded.
Summarizing the Mentoring Training, the Training Coordinator, Dr. Petra Abdul-Salam Saghir said that the programme is a Mentoring Orientation Workshop that was brought here by AWARD which is situated in Kenya.
Dr. Petra noted that the programme itself is considering gender, which according to her is coming on strongly at the international arena and FUNAAB is involved.
She said that the AWARD Trainers will be teaching on Gender Responsiveness, Agricultural Research and Development, and FUNAAB being at the helms of issues that are concerning agriculture, wants to be the pioneer of the inclusion of gender in some of the activities.
The three-day training was wrapped up with the declaration of Purpose Statement by the Mentees, which is their projection into what they want to achieve in the future as AWARD Mentees.
The programme was closed with the expression of gratitude to AWARD, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, and a congratulatory message to the Mentees by the Deputy Chairman, AWARD and Mentoring Coordinator of the programme, Professor Lateef Sanni, who is also the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, FUNAAB.