Dr Clarisse Umutoni, Livestock Scientist, Dryland Systems and Livelihood Diversification, West and Central Africa, ICRISAT, received an award in the Women in Livestock Science category by ILRI CapDev Grand Challenge 2020/2021, in recognition of successful communication of her research. She communicated her work on dual-purpose pearl millet stover as animal feed in the West African Sahel to a panel of judges. Since its inception, the ILRI CapDev Grand Challenge has trained and mentored more than 300 young researchers from more than 50 national institutions that are ILRI’s partners.
The CapDev Grand Challenge is designed to enhance the capacity of next-generation livestock researchers and academics as well as livestock sector professionals through leadership, interpersonal and communication skills building and mentoring to become visionary leaders in the agriculture research landscape. The program involves a 10-month long capacity strengthening process with particular focus on writing science, pitching research and ideas in a compelling way, communicating research to different stakeholders, making effective presentations, working effectively and in interdisciplinary teams, and responsible conduct of research.
For the challenge, candidates each make a three-minute pitch of their research project to a panel of judges comprised of a donor, communications expert/journalist, policy development expert and a researcher. The judges select and award candidates with the most successful pitches.
“I was happy to present and explain my work to the judges, and also convince them why it’s important to invest in dual-purpose millet varieties, not only to boost the availability of quality fodder in dryland areas, but also increase the production of small ruminants,” said Dr Umutoni. “I am very happy and proud to be among the winners and this award is an encouragement to work hard and contribute more to agricultural research.”
Talking about the program, she said, “The program itself has raised my awareness on science communication. In the future, I will be able to talk about my research findings to all those who may not be experts, but whose contributions and engagements are important for transforming food systems.”
She expressed her gratitude to the USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems at the University of Florida for inviting her to participate in the program, and Dr Vincent Bado and the project team who supported my participation.” Umutoni concludes.
The award was announced on 16 March via an online event.