Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund

by Winrock International Vetted since 2011
Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund
A scholarship helped Hope attain her degree.
A scholarship helped Hope attain her degree.

Initially, Hope wanted to be a doctor. The first of eight children born in south-central Nigeria to a police officer father and trader mother, Hope applied to study medicine at the University of Benin in southeastern Nigeria, but was denied admission.

Belatedly, she turned to agriculture. By her own admission, this was an unexpected turn of events, because she’d never considered agriculture. But after speaking with people who worked in the industry, she changed her mind. “The agricultural industry is a vital key in the development of any nation,” she found, and it creates jobs for youth by supplying industries with raw materials needed for production. More than just economic development, she also found that efficient agriculture was an important tool for fighting poverty.

“Through agriculture I can be self-employed [as well as an employer] of labour… to help the unemployed people,” she said.

She studied at Edo State College of Agriculture in southeastern Nigeria from 2008-2010, receiving a diploma in agricultural technology. She furthered her studies at the Federal College of Agriculture in Akure, a city in southwestern Nigeria, graduating top of her class in 2013 with a higher national diploma. The next year she spent at a regional agricultural ministry to fulfill her one year of service with the National Youth Service Corps that is mandated by the Nigerian government.

She also successfully applied to the University of Ilorin, in southwest Nigeria, but then she had to figure out how to pay for it. That’s when she applied for and won a Christopher Dowswell Scholarship. The scholarship, primarily funded by Winrock International and the Sasakawa Africa Association, offers scholarships with the goal of increasing the number of female agricultural extensions workers.

The Dowswell scholarship covered her school expenses from 2016 to 2017, when she graduated with a bachelor of science award in agricultural extension and community development.

“The scholarship gave me great opportunity to earn diverse skills relating to agricultural extension that will serve the rural communities,” she said. Using her new skills, she intends to help farmers “learn how they can improve their farming communities and to ensure sustainability in agricultural production so as to improve their standard of living.”

In the future, she plans to educate farmers to improve their knowledge of the environment and farming, help them break cycles of poverty, and ensure the sustainability of food production through high yields in rural areas. In so doing, she follows in the footsteps of Christopher Dowswell, who believed that increasing access to new agriculture knowledge and technology can help combat child mortality, malnutrition and poverty.

Links:

When Naomi arrived in eastern Tanzania, she had one goal in her mind: to improve her professional skills.

Following Tanzania’s general presidential election in November 2015, she had left Babati in northern Tanzania, where she worked as a livestock officer. She traveled south to Morogoro, joining the Applied Agricultural Extension program at Sokoine University of Agriculture, a mid-career degree program for extension professionals.

Being female, in a new town, without any financial support except her salary, Naomi had a number of economic difficulties in her first year of studies.

“This was one of the most challenging times for me,” Naomi said. “I had no financial support. However, this did not make me lose focus. With my feet stepping on economic challenges, my mind was sharply focused on my original goal, to improve my professional skills.”

Yet it wasn’t easy. She devoted much of her time to earning enough money to live on and support her studies. An effort that was ultimately unsustainable. During her second year of study, however, Naomi received a welcome piece of news. She was awarded the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship, which covered her tuition, research, living expenses and equipment such as a computer. The scholarship enabled her to focus on learning, without the pressure of also providing for herself.

“I just cannot express my joy and gratitude for this scholarship,” Naomi said.

With the help of the scholarship and a clear goal in mind, Naomi emerged as the top student in a class of 96, earning an average GPA of 4.1 (out of five) during her three years at SUA. Last November, Naomi graduated with 77 other students. With the help of the Christopher Dowswell scholarship, she completed her goal of improving her professional skills.

“This scholarship made my dream to come true,” she said. 

Links:

Last month, a team of Winrock International staff members biked a total of 652 miles to collect donations for the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship. Launched by Winrock with initial financial support from the Dowswell family, the scholarship helps to increase the number of women in agricultural extension services in Africa. People from rural backgrounds with extensive field service are often lack the educational requirements to go to universities, barring them from promotions and holding back extension services as a whole. The scholarship financially supports African women pursuing degrees in Agricultural Extension, providing 50 percent of the estimated tuition and research support to 88 students in five African countries. By the end of next year, the fund aims to extend their scholarship to 100 women.

Winrock staff participated both in the U.S. and in the field. In Washington D.C., two Winrockers biked the Shenandoah Valley’s Alpine Loop; in Little Rock, one biked the Big Dam Bridge 100; and in Mozambique, a team of ten rode a collective 436 miles from Nampula to Mecuburi District.

Through this effort, we have already raised nearly $1,200 to support the Dowswell Scholarship -- but it's not to late to donate. Please show your support by making a donation. Together, we can make extension education more accessible and affordable for Africa’s women.

Did you know YOU can help fund African women’s scholarships for ag extension education? Yes, you can!

On the weekend of September 29-30, a team of Winrock International staff members will bike more than 400 miles to collect donations for the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship. Launched by Winrock with initial financial support from the Dowswell family, the scholarship helps to increase the number of women in agricultural extension services in Africa. People from rural backgrounds with extensive field service are often lack the educational requirements to go to universities, barring them from promotions and holding back extension services as a whole. The scholarship financially supports African women pursuing degrees in Agricultural Extension, providing 50 percent of the estimated tuition and research support to 88 students in five African countries. By the end of next year, the fund aims to extend their scholarship to 100 women.

Winrock staff will participate both in the U.S. and in the field. In Washington D.C., two Winrockers will bike the Shenandoah Valley’s Alpine Loop; in Little Rock, one will bike the Big Dam Bridge 100; and in Mozambique, a team of ten will ride a collective 370 miles from Nampula to Meconta District.

Please show your support for our riders by making a donation. Together, we can make extension education more accessible and affordable for Africa’s women.

As a young girl growing up in Nigeria, Elizabeth lost everything. When her father died, his small plot of land was taken away from his family, leaving Elizabeth, her mother and six younger siblings struggling to get by.

“My younger ones and I had to survive,” Elizabeth says. With their mother’s help, they began working on other farms, managing to keep food on the table and school fees paid. In the fields, Elizabeth discovered something new: a love for and curiosity about agriculture.

“While working on those fields I noticed that some farms were growing better than the others, and I wondered why,” Elizabeth says. As a secondary school student, she posed the question to her agricultural science teacher, who chalked the difference up to lack of nutrients in some farms’ soil. Elizabeth, however, suspected that the disparity had a deeper cause – that with enough knowledge, the problems could be fixed.

This interest in agriculture continued into Elizabeth’s adult life. Not being able to afford a true university education, she applied to a federal college nearby and began working towards a degree in agricultural technology. As she worked toward her degree, her interactions with other students revealed another passion: communication and teaching. 

“I discovered my strength in communication and teaching,” she says. “As a result, I opted for Agricultural Extension and Farm Management for my Higher National Diploma.”

But in Nigeria, young people, especially women, without a university education are often marginalized, missing out on financial and social opportunities. With this in mind, Elizabeth saved 80 percent of her monthly allowance from the federal government towards her university education. With the help of the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship and Winrock International, she was able to complete her degree.

“When all my savings had finished into the third year of my university education, I was considering picking up menial jobs to pay my school fees, accommodation, project, computer and other bills,” she says. “Winrock International was my savior.”

Now, Elizabeth works as the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Coordinator for Green Shield Integrated Technologies, an agricultural firm in Ondo State, Nigeria. Utilizing her passions for both teaching and agriculture, she provides marginalized rural women with the information and connections they need to improve their produce production and boost their income.

“I am living my goal and having a fulfilled life,” Elizabeth says.

 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Winrock International

Location: Little Rock, AR - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Megan Davenport
Director, Events & Special Projects
Little Rock, AR United States

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.