Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund

by Winrock International

The lack of female agricultural extension agents may be the greatest barrier to increasing food production in Africa. Female farmers produce 70% of Africa’s food. Female farmers need access to extension agents who can provide education and resources to increase food production. Unfortunately, in many African cultures, there is no communication between male extension agents and female farmers. Consequently, only 5% of rural women receive agriculture extension services.

The Christopher Dowswell Scholarship fund meets this challenge by supporting mid-career female farmers who are enrolled in agricultural extension and communication programs. The Fund is managed by Winrock International who collaborates closely with the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education Program (SAFE). The SAFE program improves the capacity of agricultural advisory services in Africa.

Thanks to your generosity, 33 scholars have received support. To date, 10 have successfully completed their degree and 4 are expected to complete their degree in the next quarter. 19 students are actively working toward graduation.

Your continued support is highly appreciated and will make it possible for Winrock to increase the number of scholarship awards.

Report to Global Giving (July 2016)

Winrock is pleased that five of the 32 Christopher Dowswell scholars have successfully completed their degree training. The remaining 27 scholars are making good progress. At a recent Regional Workshop of Universities participating in the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education Program (SAFE), it was decided to include Sokoine Agricultural University in Tanzania as a fourth country where female extension officers can apply for scholarships. The SAFE program specifically aims to improve the capacity of agricultural advisory services in Africa. During its twenty years of existence, the program has faced a continued shortage of female advisors. The Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Program is working to change that. Your continued support is helping us in this effort.

Report to GlobalGiving (April 2016)

We have exciting news this quarter! Five of the 32 Christopher Dowswell scholars have completed their degree or diploma. Maryam from Nigeria, Yeshalem from Ethiopia, and Rokiatou from Mali have all earned BSc degrees. Balakissa and Awa, from Mali, have received Diplomas. We feel especially proud to have supported the scholars from Mali and Nigeria, given the security situations in those countries. Not a single scholar dropped out or faced delays during their study programs. One scholar told us she was very grateful for the chance to empower herself. “I have great gratitude and respect for Winrock International. This organization stands for educating women, so they can sustain themselves in the face of threats, and become independent. I have no other words for their help, except to say thank you.”

New year brings more scholars and big plans for expansion


The Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Program is kicking off 2016 with some exciting news!

We are happy to announce that we have selected 17 new students to join the scholarship program. This means we are nearly doubling the total number of scholars. We are particularly pleased to see an increase in the number of women pursuing their diplomas in Mali, where the program now supports 17 female mid-career scholars.

All the women have expressed their gratitude, some saying they are pleased to see they are finally being offered the same opportunities as men.

The scholarship program now plans to expand to Tanzania, where it will offer BSc scholarships in Agricultural Extension at Sokoine Agricultural University.

Your donations have made our success possible, and will allow the scholarship to expand its reach in 2016. We appreciate your continued support.

Thank you.

Women farmers produce 70 percent of Africa
Women farmers produce 70 percent of Africa's food.

One of last quarter’s highlights was the scholarship program’s presentation to the annual World Food Prize ceremony in Ames, Iowa. During a special session, Winrock International – in collaboration with the Sasakawa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) and Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) - had the opportunity to discuss the scholarship program with leaders from the private, non-profit and public sectors. The presentation focused on the need to increase the number of front-line agricultural extension agents. It also outlined the following reasons why the scholarship program promotes the role of women in agriculture:

  • Women farmers produce 70 percent of Africa’s food. If we are to increase food availability in Africa, we need to reach female farmers.
  • In some cultures, there is no communications between male extension agents. Consequently, only 5 percent of rural women receive agriculture extension services.
  • The World Bank estimates that yields of food crops will increase by up to 30% if best agricultural practices can be conveyed to women farmers.
  • Once women agricultural extension officers are recruited, it is more likely that nutrition and health counseling can be integrated into the agricultural advisory services.
  • Increasing the agricultural productivity of women farmers will increase their income and improve the health and education of their children.

We are happy to report that the Dowswell scholars continute to make excellent progress. Winrock International appreciates your support for the Dowswell scholarship program. Thank you for your generosity!


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Organization Information

Winrock International

Location: Little Rock, AR - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Megan Davenport
Little Rock, AR United States

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