On December 6th in Nairobi, the L’Oreal-UNESCO for women in science regional programme on the African continent, the L’Oreal Foundation highlighted its strong commitment to African female scientists and its ambition to contribute to the development of scientific excellence for women in Africa.
The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science initiative began 20 years ago. Since that inaugural year, the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) have strived to support and recognize accomplished women researchers, to encourage more young women to enter the profession and to assist them once their careers are in progress.
‘The world needs science and science needs women; nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in African countries, which face significant challenges including climate change,access to energy or food security. Science and technology are key to addressing these challenges, and this will not be possible without women. Their talent and perspectives enrich relevant research’, said Alexandra Palt, Executive Vice President Of The L’Oreal Foundation.
The L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in science Sub-Saharan Africa regional programme has grown significantly since its inception.
‘After eight editions in south Africa, we decided to host our ceremony in Nairobi to reinforce our commitment to giving all sub-saharan African women scientists an opportunity’, she concluded.
Alexandra announced that in this framework, the program will be split into one local program focusing on South Africa and another one for the Pan-African region in 2019. Additional and increased fellowships up to 20, will be provided to the pan-African program.
AN EXCEPTIONAL INITIATIVE TO EMPOWER 14 YOUNG AFRICAN RESEARCHERS
The 14 fellows -12 doctoral and 2 post-doctoral – are drawn from five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Mauritius, Kenya, Nigeria & South Africa). They were selected for the scientific excellence of their work from more than 480 applicants, by a jury of independent experts.
They gathered in Nairobi from December 4th in order to benefit from a training programme that help strengthen their career. The objective is to empower them to pursue their career and break the glass ceiling more easily. This three-day training course provided by international experts selected by the L’Oreal Foundation addresses different disciplines such as leadership development, management, negotiation, communication and public speaking as well as modules such as media training and personal digital branding.
These 14 brilliant young women researchers will be awarded a research grant at exceptional ceremony and in front of a distinguished audience from all over the African Continent, including representatives of public authorities and UNESCO, Scientists, academics, intellectuals, thought leaders and organizations promoting gender equality.
Finally, the fellows will benefit from a major communications campaign on the African continent, designed to promote and publicize their brilliance and raise public awareness. This entire initiative serves one goal: Highlight scientific excellence of female researchers in sub-Saharan Africa in order to create role models, encourage other young women to become scientists and empower women to shape the future of the continent.