WOWS | Allies and Mentoring Scheme

The Women of the World of Science (WOWS) Allies and Mentoring Scheme – Africa was developed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) and African Research Excellence Fund (AREF).

Science and innovation are rapidly expanding across Africa and we were keen to support the development and advancement of female scientists. Recent data suggests that fewer women consider applying for fellowship programmes to travel abroad because of caring responsibilities and cultural barriers. This is limiting the number of women progressing into scientific study and careers across Africa.

This pilot project has been developed to tackle this issue and support women to progress in science by providing a sustainable platform for meaningful mentorship between female scientists in Africa and the UK.

About the scheme

The pilot scheme will run March 2020-December 2020 with 8 handpicked mentor/mentee pairs.

The expectation is that the mentor and mentee pairs will meet each month using virtual tools (such as by Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp, phone or other).

Mentees selected for the scheme come from 6 countries across Africa including Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, South Africa, and Zambia. Their research areas include organic chemistry, HIV medicine, genomics and communicable diseases, tropical diseases, medical microbiology, crop science, immunology and infectious diseases, and malaria sequencing informatics. The mentees have been matched with senior female scientists from across the UK in their fields of research.

Through this scheme we hope that mentors will be able to provide advice and guidance from their own experience for the mentee, enabling them to take the next step in their career or development.

Aims of the scheme

  • To provide a sustainable platform for meaningful mentorship between female scientists in Africa and the UK.
  • To celebrate and utilise the global network of female scientists, including those united through the Suffrage Science Awards scheme.

Meet the Mentors

Below are the 8 mentors taking part in the WOWS pilot:

  • Professor Melinda Duer – University of Cambridge
  • Professor Janet Seeley – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Professor Doreen Cantrell – University of Dundee
  • Professor Angelika Gründling – Imperial College London
  • Professor Dame Caroline Dean – John Innes Centre
  • Professor Jean Langhorne – The Francis Crick Institute
  • Dr Mara Lawniczak – Wellcome Sanger Institute
  • Professor Sarah Fidler – Imperial College London

Read more about the mentors here: WOWS_mentors

Meet the Mentees

Below are the 8 mentees selected to participate in the WOWS pilot:

  • Mulenga Chilumba Mwenda-Chimfwende – PATH-MACEPA
  • Danai Zhou – University of Zimbabwe
  • Chapwa Kasoma – African Centre for Crop Improvement, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Mercy Badu – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
  • Owusu Dorcas-Ohui – Garden City University College
  • Ekenechukwu Ogbuagu – Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi Anambra State Nigeria
  • Njunda Anna Longdoh – University of Buea
  • Estelle Mdaha Longla – University of Yaoundé, Cameroon

Read more about the mentees here: WOWS_mentees

More information

If you would like more information about the pilot or to express your interest in the expansion of the scheme in 2021 please contact Dr Peter Norsworthy.

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