Ideas Matter Fellowship
Doctoral Research Fellowships for West African Scholars
Ideas Matter Research Fellowships for West African Scholars
The West African Research Association, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, is pleased to announce awardees for the Ideas Matter Fellowship Program. This is the second year of this fellowship, which supports the work of doctoral students whose dissertation research focuses on women, technology or entrepreneurship and who are based in West African institutions. In this second competition, we received 65 eligible applications from graduate students representing ten West African countries and fields as diverse as biology, agronomy, political science, medicine, public health, chemistry, and pharmacy. Their research seeks to solve many of the most trenchant health and economic challenges facing Africa today. This year, we received a larger number of Anglophone to francophone applicants. Nearly half of the applicants this time around were young women, a 16% increase from last year, attesting to the growing role of women in science and technology. The three candidates selected from this rich trove of applications are:
Mrs. Isata Kamanda (Sierra Leone, Agricultural Research Institute) Crop Improvement Involving women in participatory selection of biofortified cassava germplasm in Sierra Leone According to the W.H.O., more than 40% of pregnant women, lactating mothers and preschool children have moderate to severe Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD), despite efforts the government has made to import other vitamin sources, which have proven ineffective and unsustainable. Cassava (also known as manioc), is a popular food staple in Sierra Leone, and biofortified germplasm offer a potential solution to VAD. Mrs. Kamanda’s research will investigate a means to popularize biofortified cassava by involving rural women in the selection process of favorable biofortified cassava germplasm.
Ms. Amoin Gervaise Kouame (Côte d’Ivoire, University Nangui Abrogoua) Natural Sciences Menopause in Côte d’Ivoire: knowledge of traditional methods of treatment and evaluation of their efficiency Over 22% of women over 40 years of age experience problems from menopause, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Current hormonal treatments are expensive and cause negative side effects. Ms. Kouame’s research will determine and test local Ivorian plants rich in phytoestrogen, which is an effective treatment against the health complications of menopause.
Mr. Yao Manu Seshie (Burkina Faso, Fondation 2iE) Electric, Energy, and Industrial Engineering Experimental studies of the solar concentration plant CSP4Africa The ORC turbine machine is utilized in solar plants to transform heat to electricity. Currently, it is only available through a specialized enterprise. It is essential to allowing the utilization of solar energy. Mr, Seshie’s research aims to test different the ORC machine in different dimensions with the goal of creating a smaller, more efficient, and more affordable model that will allow solar energy to be more accessible to lower income populations throughout West Africa. The Ideas Matter Fellowship Program reflects WARA and the Mastercard Foundation’s commitment to increasing opportunities for emerging West African scholars who are transforming ideas into active solutions to the challenges facing the region and the world at large.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.
In 2016, its very first year, Ideas Matter received 63 applications from graduate students representing 10 West African countries and fields as diverse as biology, agronomy, political science, medicine, public health, chemistry and pharmacy. While only 17 of the 63 applicants were women, the three applications which rose to the top were all submitted by young women — attesting to the growing role of women in science and technology. Meet the three Ideas Matter fellows for the 2016 competition:
Osemudiamen Oseabhi Anao (Nigeria), University of Benin, is exploring the health effects of a toxic common component of e-waste, capable of acting as an endocrine disruptor, carcinogen and neuro-development toxicant.
Akomoun Blandine Kapko (Benin), Université d’Abomey-Calavi, is developing an inventory of plants used in the traditional treatment of typhoid fever, further working to identify and isolate their active properties.
Gloria Tetteh-Kubi (Ghana), University of Cape Coast, is investigating measures aimed at reducing widespread pesticide use in cowpea cultivation, contributing to poverty reduction, food security and biodiversity conservation.
The Ideas Matter Fellowship Program reflects WARA and the Mastercard Foundation’s commitment to increasing opportunities for emerging West African scholars who are transforming ideas into active solutions to the challenges facing the region and the world at large.