Meet the ‘sorcerer’ and her ‘apprentice’ – just two of CABI’s trailblazing female scientists

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Suzy Wood and Dr Carol Ellison are just two female scientists at CABI playing their part towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

To mark the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science today (11 February 2019), we take a look at how two generations of female scientists are coming together to tackle non-native invasive weeds and help reduce environmental degradation

Meet the ‘sorcerer’ and her ‘apprentice’ Dr Carol Ellison, a plant pathologist at CABI, and Project Scientist and PhD student Suzy Wood who since 2011 has been learning her trade as an entomologist at CABI’s UK laboratories in Egham, Surrey.

Though Carol and Suzy practice different strands of biology, their fields of study do overlap when it comes to invasive weeds and their biological control and management.

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“The future for women (in science) is ours to conquer”

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Photo courtesy of Moving Minds Media: Catherine Mloza Banda says the motivation to work in science came from her father who is a Professor in Agronomy

To mark the forthcoming UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February 2019), we speak to some of CABI’s women working in science. In this blog Catherine Mloza Banda, a Development Communications Specialist – Invasive Species Management, reveals the motivation and inspiration behind her career in science communications and says ‘the future for women (in science) is ours to conquer’. 

What motivated you to work in science and development?

I was motivated to work in science because of my father, who is a Professor in Agronomy. I grew up in an agricultural college, which somehow shaped my ambitions to work in science. I enrolled for a degree in Crop Science. Midway, I realized I had a burning passion for media and communications. So I decided to pursue a career in agricultural communication.

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Can a ‘diet’ of digital data really help feed the world?

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Last week (29 January 2019) CABI was awarded a $1.49 million grant from the Gates Foundation to work with them to help increase food security in India and Ethiopia through better access to data on soil health, agronomy and fertilizers.  In this blog Communications Manager Wayne Coles looks at whether or not the use of digital data in agriculture can have a real impact on our need to feed the world….

The facts are clear; if we’re to stand any chance of feeding a global population of around 9.1 billion by 2050 we must make better use of ‘digital data’ to unlock the potential of more than 570 million smallholder farmers around the world.

The complexity of Africa’s growing food problem, which is exacerbated by social and climatic factors, should not be underestimated. Its population, for example, will exceed 42 million a year over the next three decades while a rise in extreme weather events will wreak havoc on farming communities already grappling with threats to crop yields from a range of agricultural pests and diseases.

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Q&A: ‘I emigrated when my lab was turned into barracks’

 

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SciDev.Net – the world’s leading source of reliable and authoritative news, views and analysis about science and technology for global development – is owned by CABI and highlights the role of women in science.

On the eve of the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science next month (11 February) we share this incredible story, by Adel Aldaghbashy, of scientist Ghaneya Al-Naqeeb who fled her war torn homeland of Yemen to seek sanctuary and a new life in science in Germany….

Ghaneya Al-Naqeeb began life in a village near Taiz, the third largest city in Yemen. From there, she pursued an academic career studying plant science in Malaysia, the United States, and then back in her home country at Sana’a University. Along the way, she picked up several international awards and two patents. But in 2017 she fled the war in the country, and now works in Germany.

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The time is ripe for climate adaptation in agriculture

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By Janny Vos, Director of Strategic Partnerships at CABI

I recently attended the launch of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) in The Hague where the words of the CEO of the World Bank – Kristalina Georgieva – resonated strongly with my work as part of an organisation that aims to improve people’s lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. In a nutshell, it’s all about working together as we aim to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ms Georgieva said, “What is new is the scope, the speed and the scale at which we must work to adapt to climate change. And it is cost effective as the returns on investments will be high.” CABI’s primary interests are helping farmers to grow more and lose less to agricultural pests and diseases, and the ‘returns on investments’ are indeed ‘high’ – they’re ultimately about securing food and nutrition security for the world’s growing population.

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Fertilizer Optimization Tool helps return son to teacher training school

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FOT pays off for Charles Wafula who is now able to help his son continue teacher training

By Monica Kansiime, Scientist Seed Systems, based at CABI in Nairobi, Kenya

In a previous blog post I outlined how the Fertilizer Optimization Tool (FOT) is paying dividends for farmers – helping them, in some cases, to report a seven-fold increase in their yields.

Charles Wafula is a farmer and resident of Buhehe in Uganda who is just one example of how FOT is helping to increase his fortunes and benefit his family – in particular he is now able to pay his son’s fees so he can continue to train as a school teacher.

Approaching Mr Wafula’s home, you get a feeling of a committed farmer. I find him sitting in his compound with various sized fruit trees providing shade and a cool ambiance. He doesn’t not take long after a brief introduction to tell me his success story of utilising FOT.

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Africa Soil Health Consortium builds NARO’s capacity in communication material development

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Authored by: Abigael Mchana, Communication Officer, CABI Kenya

Developing fit-for-purpose, interactive and effective communication materials for farmers and their intermediaries is not an easy task. You cannot create a poster with generic text or images and then distribute it to your audience en-masse. It requires an in-depth analysis of your primary stakeholder, an understanding of your audience’s preferred communication channels and a realistic visualisation of how your intended audience will interact with the finished product.

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