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ASHC & AGRA announce student writing competition

AGRA-sponsored students encouraged to write a blog on their wish for the future of Africa’s soil

A travel bursary worth $3,000 is on offer to the student who writes the best blog entry on how Africa’s soils should be improved. The idea for the writing competition was developed by AGRA and ASHC following the interest shown in a newsletter published to coincide with World Soil Day 2012

George Oduor, ASHC project manager, explains:

“One of the key challenges that ASHC and AGRA share is building capacity in the science sector. For a green revolution to succeed in Africa we need scientists who are also excellent communicators. Scientists have always been trained to talk to each other and their reward systems are based on publishing material that in journals that are not accessible to most of Africa.

This competition does two things. It encourages a generation of African scientists to think about what they hope can be achieved to improve the productivity of Africa’s soil. Secondly, it encourages scientists to write in accessible ways. Being able to communicate a vision with a wide audience is an essential part of creating a momentum for change. I am very excited to see what the students wish for.”

Marie Rarieya soil health program officer (training and education), said:

“AGRA has worked very hard with nine universities across Africa as part a long-term commitment to build Africa’s capacity in soil science and agronomy. Part of our vision is to see greater gender equality in what has traditionally been seen as a male preserve. Participating universities have ensured that half of the 170 student places will be allocated to women.

All the evidence shows that women play an essential part in African agriculture. And yet we have traditionally had a soil research sector that has been led by men with funder often prioritising ‘men’s crops’. I am particularly interested to see what ideas the women students have – and what their visions for the future look like.”

Entries must be submitted by midnight on 1 June 2013.

Competition rules