Celebrating women who are promoting bioeconomy in eastern Africa.
|International Women’s Day takes place annually on 8 March. This year’s campaign, #EachForEqual, draws attention to the difference an individual can make in society. At BioInnovate Africa, women are actively promoting bioeconomy. Bioeconomy, in simple terms, is the use of scientific knowledge to add economic and social value to biological resources, whether in food production, biowaste conversion, industrial processing or environmental preservation. Today, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we take the opportunity to highlight women in BioInnovate Africa who are at the forefront of promoting bioeconomy in eastern Africa. These women lead BioInnovate Africa supported regional innovation projects that foster a bioeconomy in the eastern African countries of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Meet the women here:
Ms Gertrude Ngabirano is the executive secretary of the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO), based in Rwanda. A chemist by profession, Ms Ngabirano pioneered the operationalisation of EASTECO, an East African Community institution that promotes and coordinates the development, management, and application of Science and Technology to support regional integration and socio-economic development. She is the team leader of a BioInnovate Africa supported project that is developing a regional innovation-led bioeconomy strategy and policy agenda for eastern Africa. The strategy will showcase the potential for regional cooperation and partnerships for science and innovation in building an eastern Africa bioeconomy.
Dr Dorothy Nakimbugwe is a senior lecturer in the department of Food Technology and Nutrition at Makerere University, in Uganda. As a scientist, Dr Nakimbugwe is the team leader of a BioInnovate Africa supported project on food enriched with insect-based proteins. The project addresses food security and nutrition by scaling up safe production and packaging of edible insects such as crickets and grasshoppers. The insects are highly nutritious and can be eaten as whole or as ingredients to enrich other foods.
Dr Sarah Mubiru is an agricultural scientist. She is the team leader of a BioInnovate Africa supported project that is addressing value addition of honey by producing high-quality Aroma Honey Toffees as a healthier option to eat candies for the population in eastern Africa. Dr Mubiru is the founder and managing director of Aroma Honey Limited, located in Kampala, Uganda, a start-up business that produces the Aroma Honey toffees. The healthy toffees are made from 75% honey and 25% natural products.
Amelia Kivaisi is a Professor of Applied Microbiology. She was the founding member and first head of department of the department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB) at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). She is the team leader of a BioInnovate Africa supported project that is producing nitrogen bio-fortified commercial grade organic fertilizer to improve soil management.
Ms Bertha Mamiro is a senior researcher at the Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization (TIRDO). She is the team leader of a BioInnovate Africa supported project on nutrient-rich substrate blocks for growing mushrooms. The Project addresses food security and nutrition by scaling up production of substrate blocks for improved mushroom cultivation and yield. The project also creates links and fill gaps along the mushroom value chain, by targeting small and medium scale entrepreneurs to improve their production, processing, and marketing efficiency.
Dr Samira Mohammed is an agricultural entomologist and biological control specialist at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe). As a senior scientist, Dr Mohamed is the team leader of a BioInnovate Africa supported project on post-harvest disinfestation of fruits and vegetables using hot water treatment technology. Through the technology, the project aims to address the ban for eastern African countries to export horticultural crops, by ensuring quarantine security and enable regain of access to the lucrative export markets.
Ms Ginette Karirekinyana is a social entrepreneur and implementing partner of a BioInnovate Africa supported project on mosquito repellents produced from local plants. She is the founder and director of Karire Products Limited, a start-up business based in Bujumbura, Burundi, that is producing natural and safer mosquito repellant products from plant extracts to prevent malaria. Using essential oils extracted from catnip and other plants grown by smallholder farmers in the region, mosquito repellents are produced in the form of soaps, sprays, and lotions. Ms. Karirekinyana’s business addresses health by adding economic and social value to biological resources and enabling farmers to earn more income from their produce.