COUNTRY/TOWN: Senegal/Morocco / Kaolack/Ben Gerir
LENGTH: 2019 onwards
F.U.E.R.T.E.S, Femmes Unies Ensemble dans la Recherche, la Technologie, l´Environment et la Science, came about from the collaboration between African academic institutions and Women for Africa in the agricultural sphere in Senegal to confront the challenges of climate change and promote this sector through entrepreneurship, female empowerment and innovation.
Women play the main roles in the agri-food production chain in Africa, yet there is only one woman for every four researchers. The Government of Senegal aims to increase resilience to climate change, minimize the risk of food crises and improve access to the higher education system. To do so, it is essential to establish synergies between the fields of agriculture, health and education with training for women in the agricultural sector and in research.
Several institutions with experience in agri-food training, sustainable development and entrepreneurship, such as the OCP Foundation, the Senegalese USSEIN University and the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), have joined the Women for Africa Foundation to enhance research in the field of sustainable agriculture in Senegal through a programme of scientific cooperation with researchers and doctoral candidates. The goal is to strengthen their academic and leadership skills, to include a gender perspective in research and to promote agricultural innovation so as to boost the prosperity of the country’s small farmers. Moreover, there are plans to create a Spanish-African strategic network of agricultural researchers and raise the visibility of African scientists so that their work may spread its impact in the international arena.
Ten researchers and ten doctoral students will receive advanced training in the prestigious UM6P for two years. The beneficiaries will strengthen their skills thanks to ad hoc teaching, research, coaching and mentoring programmes of two or three months. Subsequently, all of them will spend 8 months in USSEIN. As well as this, our foundation will organise leadership workshops.
The results of the project will be analysed to assess the possibility of creating start-ups in the local agri-food sector. If it is successful, a second phase concentrating on innovation in these new companies will be launched with the aim of creating employment and bringing scientific research in line with its application and commercialisation.