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 Foundation in the agricultural field in Senegal. The aim is to address the challenges of climate change and boost this sector through entrepreneurship, female empowerment and innovation.
Women are the main actors in the agri-food production chain in Africa, but 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 this end, it is essential to establish synergies between agriculture, health and education and the training of women in the agricultural sector and in research.
Several institutions with expertise in agri-food training, sustainable development and entrepreneurship, such as the OCP Foundation, the Senegalese University Sine Saloum El-Hâdj Ibrahima Niass (USSEIN) and the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), have joined forces with the Women for Africa Foundation to enrich research in the area of sustainable agriculture in Senegal through a scientific cooperation program with female researchers and PhD candidates. The aim is to strengthen their academic and leadership skills, include the gender perspective in research and embolden agricultural innovation to contribute to the prosperity of small Senegalese female farmers. In addition, it is expected to create a strategic Spanish-African network of female agricultural researchers and to make African women scientists more visible in order for their work to have an international impact.
Ten women researchers and ten doctoral students will receive advanced training at the prestigious UM6P over a total period of two years. The beneficiaries will strengthen their skills through ad hoc teaching, research, coaching and mentoring programs over two and three-month periods, respectively. Subsequently, they will all spend a period of 8 months at USSEIN. In addition, the Foundation will organize leadership workshops.
The results of the project will be analyzed with the intention of evaluating the possibility of creating start-ups in the local agri-food sector. In case finding successful results, a second phase will be launched focusing on innovation in these new companies with the aim of creating jobs and bringing together scientific research along with its application and commercialization.