Monthly Archives: October 2015

World Food Prize to build a coalition of the willing

This past week at the World Food Prize, I had the privilege of meeting Hunger Fighters of the past and future. This is a unique global forum that honors those who have contributed to humanity by following in the footsteps of Norman Borlaug to serve with passion, compassion and humility. There is a distinct feeling of innovation, partnerships and interdisciplinary teams – all coming together to improve the lives of farm families around the globe and to ensure safe, nutritious and accessible food for all.

20151016_135655This year that honor went to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed (standing next to me in the photo along with Dr. Kush the famous IRRI Rice Breeder), the founder of BRAC who nurtured the organization, staff and the people they serve, especially women and girls, to empower them to realize their full potential.

Starting off in Bangladesh in 1972, BRAC now operates in other parts of Asia and Africa, replicating its model of microfinance and empowerment, including helping the ultra-poor. I had the privilege of interacting with Sir Fazle recently at the Gates Foundation and was able to talk with him about collaboration with ICRISAT both in Africa and Asia. Sir Fazle is truly an inspiration to us all.

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Another step towards empowering women in agriculture

I am at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa this week to meet with Hunger Fighters from around the world.

Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg (Director, AWARD) repeated a statement by President Obama during his recent trip to Kenya – “if you don’t put out half your team you will not win the game”; and for agriculture, if we are not empowering our women scientists we will not win the war on hunger and poverty.

DG & Chapwa Kasoma

With Chapwa Kasoma

One of the delegates I met was Chapwa Kasoma, who is one of those young scientists who can provide solutions to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals at the UN announced last month. Chapwa commented that for African women there is a culture of submission that holds young women back. Fortunately for Chapwa, she now is being mentored by Dr. Damaris Odeny who leads ICRISAT’s Biotechnology program in Nairobi. Damaris is also an AWARD fellow who spent time with Dow in the USA during 2012 to learn about technology and business processes applied at Dow to ensure research translates to improved technology in farmer’s fields.  Read more