Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund

by Winrock International
Table 1: Scholarships by Country & Degree
Table 1: Scholarships by Country & Degree

The lack of front line female agricultural extension agents is a critical limiting factor in increasing food production and food productivity in Africa. The Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Program makes an effort to increase the pool of female extension agents by providing modest financial support during their mid-career degree academic program. The program started in 2014 with a total of five scholars in Ethiopia, Mali and Nigeria. During the last quarter of 2016 four significant positive developments have taken place. First, the program was highlighted during the recent World Food Prize ceremony in the USA. Secondly, Winrock International announced a new contribution of USD 30,000 to the fund. Thirdly, Tanzania (Sokoine University for Agriculture - SAU) has been added as fourth country where the program will be active. The SUA Agricultural Extension department has hosted the largest number of mid-career degree students on the continent. The fact that the Head of the SUA Agricultural Extension Department is a female confirms the institutional commitment to female enrolment. Lastly, the growing pool of funds allowed an increase of 27 additional scholars nearly doubling the number of scholars. The total number of scholarship awards now amounts to 60 scholars in four countries. See Table 1.  None of the scholars have dropped out of their programs.

The interest in the program is increasing exponentially. The number of applications in all countries is up strongly while additional countries are eager to participate as well. The only factor limited the expansion of the program is the availability of funds. You can do something about that by making a generous contribution. On behalf of all hardworking and motivated female African field agents, we express our great appreciation for all the support received to-date.

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.


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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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