KeAWARD envisions itself as an organization that empowers agricultural communities and school learners.
To contribute towards improved and sustainable agricultural production, productivity, and commercialization in Kenya through collaborative research and innovations, capacity building, policy and advocacy.
- To promote sustainable food and nutrition security through innovative research, capacity building; improved production and productivity; post-harvest handling; value addition, and marketing among smallholder farmers in Kenya
- To empower women and upcoming scientists in agricultural research and development through mentorship, capacity building, and advocacy in a gender-responsive manner
- To enhance networking and collaborative partnership for professional development and visibility for Ke-AWARD internally and externally
- To mobilize resources for supporting Ke-AWARD activities
- To influence policy in agricultural research and development
KeAWARD recognizes the inner strength of women, which makes them leaders in all aspects of the agricultural value chains. The focus is to enhance this strength to achieve sustainable livelihood impact. Hence the motto:
“Strength of a woman”
African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) works toward inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity for the African continent by strengthening the production and dissemination of more gender-responsive agricultural research and innovation (AWARD, 2017). By investing in African scientists, research institutions, and agribusinesses, it is envisaged that appropriate agricultural innovations that better respond to the needs and priorities of a diversity of women and men across Africa’s agricultural value chains will be developed and effectively delivered. But for innovations to be effective and sustainable, they should be context-specific; hence internationally and/or globally developed innovations need to be adapted to local conditions or contexts. It was therefore paramount that the continent-wide AWARD programme “gives birth” to local, country chapters, which can serve to advance and adapt the objects of the bigger programme in their local environments and context. It is envisaged that this will serve not only to create sustainable impacts but also a multiplier effect.
The Kenyan Chapter of AWARD (KeAWARD) was formed in 2016 to strengthen and advance AWARD’s strategy of empowering African scientists, national research and agricultural government institutions and academia to better respond to the needs of agricultural communities at the local level. It aims to use a multipronged approach in addressing food security concerns in order to achieve wholesome sustainable development. Having gained immense knowledge, skills and attitudes during the AWARD fellowship, Chapter members are determined to be change-makers, achieve development impact, remain relevant and develop future leaders and experts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Agricultural careers. The Chapter’s activities are anchored on the member’s capacity and skills and therefore span across a wide scope of agricultural-oriented activities designed to make the Chapter more inclusive yet at the same time focused on its fundamental mandate of enhancing agricultural research and development that is appropriate, with high prospect of achieving livelihood outcomes.
KeAWARD strategic plan covers the period 2018 – 2023. The plan provides a framework for an effective holistic approach to implementing programmes aimed at improving the livelihoods of rural women and communities at large through agricultural research and innovation and school learners through advocacy and promotion of STEM-related subjects in schools. The strategic plan recognizes the role of STEM and agriculture in the country’s development. The strategic plan crystallizes the initiatives geared towards improving agricultural productivity, sustainable natural resources management, capacity building of agricultural professionals and development of future agricultural scientists, leaders and champions.
It is noteworthy that this strategic plan is being rolled out at a time when the Kenya Government is rolling out the big four agenda, high in priority being food and nutrition security. These efforts are recognized and cited positively both locally and internationally. The focus of KeAWARD is to build on the gains accrued from the AWARD experience and the support of stakeholders to grow and develop sustainable agricultural value chains in Kenya, that meet international standards. The key concerns, in this regard, are access, equity, quality, and internal and external efficiencies within the agricultural value chains.
This strategic plan also recognized the emergence and great potential of ICT in enhancing agricultural productivity and agribusiness and the role of the youth in sustainable development. It has therefore incorporated activities that not only build the capacity of the youth to advance the country’s food security agenda but also inculcate in them the conviction that agriculture is “cool”.
The strategic plan will provide the necessary framework for leadership, teamwork and structures that will enhance programme implementation. While challenges against the agricultural sector are enormous, it is also recognized that the potential is equally enormous. This strategic plan will lay a springboard for exploiting the opportunities and overcoming the challenges in order to achieve the desired development goal(s).