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AWARD Fellows Organize Exhibition to Encourage Mozambican Youth to Pursue Careers in Agriculture

What started in November 2011 as an informal exchange of ideas between Paula Pimentel and Marta Francisco, both 2010 recipients of AWARD Fellowships (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Feed the Future), turned into a successful exhibition of agro-processed products and inputs by local female agribusiness professionals in Mozambique.

Held in December in Namaacha, the event was intended to give young people (and especially young women) the opportunity to meet with role models working successfully in the agriculture sector. It was attended by 75 students, teachers, and extension agents from around the region, 25 of whom were women and girls, and most of whom come from rural and poor backgrounds.

By interacting with the exhibition’s smallholder female farmers and agricultural produce processers, participants had the opportunity to learn about how simple household technologies can diversify family diets, improve conservation of perishable agriculture products, and generate a reliable source of family income. The event also included discussions on how to overcome obstacles to scientific achievement that women and girls experience in Mozambique, where only 11 percent of girls enroll in secondary school, and a mere one percent move on to complete college education.

“My community needs people who can tell them how to plant seeds in a scientific manner,” said Valéria Bernado, a 16-year-old student at Namaacha Secondary School who participated in the exhibition. “I think people like us should master science to help the farmers.”

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