AfWORO signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gambia Department of Agriculture
In October 2022, the Department of Agriculture (DOA) and AfWORO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that marks the commencement of AfWORO support to a total of six DOA staff. The DOA is under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of The Gambia. Among its key competencies, the DOA aims to improve local food production to pursue food security in the country. On October 26th, an online kick-off meeting between AfWORO and DOA was held. The collaboration has officially started.
In the frame of this MoU, AfWORO will complement the salaries of five female and one male DOA staff with capacity to conduct research on myriad aspects that can contribute to achieve food security in this West African nation. The themes the DOA has manifested interest in include, but are not limited to: mango, cashew and other fruit orchards; women-led community gardens; impact of nutrition centers in local production of high-nutrient foods; rice production; access to water to sustain food production.
AfWORO will complement the salaries of the 6 designated DOA researchers with a capacity skills stipend that will allow them to seek for resources to collaboratively design, execute and disseminate research that is meaningful for DOA to meet its mandate. AfWORO will facilitate networking of DOA researchers with other research institutions and researchers in Europe and in West Africa, and will also provide mentoring where DOA researchers require need of technical assistance to protocol, grant, or article writing. By April 2023, the DOA will present the first outcomes of this MoU.
Dr Esther Deguenon finalizes her research on salmonella in Benin
In 2021, Dr Esther DEGUENON, Professor in Microbiology at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Cotonou, Benin), received a small research grant from AfWORO to study the role of bats in the transmission of zoonotic strains of salmonella in Benin. The grant commenced right before Dr Deguenon received communication that she had been awarded the 2021 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa Young Talents Award!
Her research project, titled “The involvement of wildlife in the transmission of zoonotic strains of salmonella in Benin: the case of bats” originated from concerns around the increase of antibiotic-resistant salmonella cases among children in Benin. As part of her grant, Dr Deguenon procured laboratory materials and reagents to carry out molecular and antibiotic sensitivity testing in biological specimens extracted from the intestines of more than 400 autoctonous bats. She was assisted by five University of Abomey-Calavi’s master students who, in the frame of this grant, received training in RT-PCR methodologies to carry out testing for salmonella.
Her project has demonstrated how there are bats that may be transmitting antibiotic-resistant salmonella in Benin. In a country where many low-income families include the consumption of bats in their protain-intake dietary habits, the findings of her research have meaningful implications both for public health planning and for education in nutrition and food security strategies. Now that the small grant has come to an end, as of July 2022, AfWORO is to start planning with Dr Deguenon a translation-to-advocacy for healthy nutrition phase.
AfWORO starts in Nigeria with Dr Adekemi Eunice Olowokere
Dr Adekemi Eunice Olowokere is a registrered nurse-midwife and a public health nurse. She holds a Master of Science and a PhD in Community Health Nursing. She is an early career researcher with over 15 years history of activities in health education and public health programmes planning targeting women, youth and children. She has hands-on experience in new program development and management for reproductive, maternal and child health, NGO-support and programme monitoring and evaluation. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Nursing Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. In her project, she will collaborate with Professor Morenike Ukpong Folayan in a research that aims to unveil what are the gendered barriers for female and male researchers in the medical, epidemiological, and dentistry research fields to built an academic career. Their joint project will be helpful to provide guidance to AfWORO and other international funding agencies dedicated to fund, programme and evaluate capacity-building and training initiatives to bring gender balance and equality in the biomedical and health research arena in West Africa.
AfWORO starts in Benin with Dr Esther Deguenon
Dr Deguenon is a Professor in Microbiology at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Cotonou, Benin). AfWORO is participating in her project titled “The involvement of wildlife in the transmission of zoonotic strains of salmonella in Benin: the case of bats”. The project’s main aim is to contribute to the fight against zoonotic salmonella in south Benin. Salmonella is, in her own words, ‘a major public health concern worldwide, and specially in Benin where it is the cause of multiple hospitalizations and deaths yearly’. In her project, she will contribute to the body of knowledge on the involvement of bats in the burden of salmonella disease. AfWORO’s support will allow her to complete molecular sequencing of the zoonotic salmonella strains that have been identified in Benin. Her study will inform the design of more targeted strategies to fight against bats-transmitted salmonella bacteria. In this project, Dr Deguenon will carry out sequencing of salmonella strains for the first time in Benin. Hence, this will be also be an opportunity for her to train her Masters’ students in innovative sequencing techniques.
AfWORO’s latest project: #Nurdelsur
AfWORO is participating in the project “Innovating from the South: the African Woman Scientists and the 2030 Agenda” funded by the La Caixa Bank and the European and Developing countries Clinical Trials Partnership. The project’s main aim is to increase the visibility and advance the careers of African women scientists and draw attention to their contributions to the socio-economic development and wellbeing of the Northern Hemisphere’s populations.
Within #Nurdelsur, eleven African women researchers are invited to participate as guest speakers in three conferences and five workshops that have taken place in Barcelona, Lleida and Zaragoza (Spain) and in Dakar (Senegal) between September 2020 and February 2021. Gefra Fulane, Josianne Tantchou, Farah Nabil, Oumy Ndiaye and Marème Sougou are among the AfWORO-supported researchers that have participated as guest speakers in this project.
Publication of book on the experiences of MSM/W in Senegal
Nicole Nkoum, AfWORO’s social scientists in Senegal and Guillermo Martínez, AfWORO’s President have just released their book, published by the University of Zaragoza (Spain) on the experiences of Dakar’s MSM/W with regard to their health, and how their experiences of homophobia-induced stigma and discrimination affect it.
This book contains the data collected during the SENEKEYPOP-1 study, which will be translated to influence clinical practice in Senegal during SENEKEYPOP-2 by AfWORO’s grantee Farah Nabil. To continue funding African women scientists such as Nicole Nkoum, we will soon be selling physical copies of this book. 100% of the profits will be destined to direct costs of research led by women scientists that are supported by AfWORO.
2019 first FGM/C workshop for male healthcare providers in Liberia
Following the success of the PerTradFGMo workshops directed at female healthcare professionals, a workshop targeting male healthcare professionals was held in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, in the beginning of September 2019. In the two-day workshop, the participants gained knowledge through the lectures and expressed that they were eager to include the newly learned concepts in their clinical practice.
2019 second FGM/C workshop for female healthcare providers in Liberia
In August 2019 the project PerTradFGMo continued its capacity building by implementing two workshops in Zorzor, Lofa County, Liberia. A total of 21 female nurses and midwives, as well as 20 female trained traditional midwives and community health volunteers attended the workshops.
First AfWORO grantee of 2019
Farah Nabil, AfWORO’s gender researcher in Egypt received a grant to support AfWORO as a scientific writer during the Summer of 2019. She has contributed with research protocol writing, scientific editing, and grant applications preparation. During this period, Farah collaborated with scientists and development aid agents from Spain, Uganda and Senegal. As result of her experience, she decided to take the lead in the implementation, starting the next January 2020, of an AfWORO-funded training programme on the psychosocial health and well-being of men who have sex with men and women (MSW/W) in Senegal.
The first FGM/C workshops of 2019 in Liberia
Thanks to an ANESVAD Award, over sixty midwives and nurses participated in three workshops on the Management of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) cases that AfWORO facilitated in Monrovia and Ganta, Liberia, in collaboration with Mrs. Christine K. Tarr-Attia and Ms. Kim Nordmann, in February 2019.
2019 gender assessment in Mozambique
In February 2019, the NGO Ulls del Món (Eyes of the World) trusted AfWORO and Mozambican anthropologist Lara C Sousa as responsible for an ethnography to assess and map what are the barriers for women in the province of Inhambane, in central Mozambique, to access eye care services and accept cataract surgery.
Nicole Nkoum at the University of Zaragoza
Nicole Nkoum, AfWORO’s social scientist in Senegal, visited the Faculty of Health Sciences – University of Zaragoza (Spain) the past November 2018. During her visit, Nicole presented her research portfolio to the MSc of Nursing Research students, and she worked with Dr. Ángel Gasch, an expert in HIV and masculinities’ studies, in the analysis of the data that she collected during her AfWORO-funded study on MSM/W barriers to HIV & Sexually-transmitted Diseases care access in Dakar.