21.12.2018 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Forum for African Women Vice Chancellors (FAWoVC)

A side event at the Bi-annual Conference of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) brought together female Vice Chancellors from Universities in Africa to discuss how African Universities can be aligned to accelerate attainment of the Transformation Agenda – 2063.

The second Forum for African Women Vice Chancellors (FAWoVC) was held on October 21, 2018 in Nairobi organised by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology with support from UNESCO, DAAD and JICA. The preeminent leadership and networking event with a continental reach was founded in 2016 as a way of helping women surmount the prevailing societal and cultural barriers to women leadership in Africa.

Specific objectives that informed the founding of the Forum include: understanding leadership and management of universities in Africa; mentoring of female senior staff members in Universities and Research Institutions; exploring impact of Women Networks in supporting women leaders in Higher Education and sharing of experiences and benchmarking with peers from other parts of the World.

Under the theme of Aligning African Universities to Accelerate the Attainment of Transformation Agenda 2063, the Nairobi forum which attracted over 30 participants was held as a side event of the RUFORUM Biennial Conference. FAWoVC that started out with 10 women Vice Chancellors now has close to 40 members drawn from universities in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Malawi, Sudan, Cameroon, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ghana, Liberia, Botswana and Algeria.

The Forum featured a number of speakers who touched on various subjects aligned to the theme and objectives of the organization.

Women underrepresentation in Sciences

While giving the background and overview of FAWoVC activities, the Chairperson Prof. Mabel Imbuga noted that out of the 1500 universities in Africa, only 40 were headed by women Vice Chancellors. In addition, she noted that young women constitute only 10% of those admitted in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in the continent. She also identified poor funding and stereotypes as further barriers to women participation in development.

Importance of mentoring young women scientists

RUFORUM Executive Secretary, Prof. Adipala Ekwamu noted that there has been improvement in the number of female graduate students in African universities forming the RUFORUM network. He challenged the participants to mobilize and mentor other women scientists and leaders in order to achieve the desired outcomes of the organization and development of Africa.

Management of higher education institutions in Africa

In her keynote address on the management of universities in Africa, former Environment Secretary (Kenya), Dr. Alice Kaudia impressed upon the participants to embody progressive values, ethics and professionalism in their leadership undertakings. In order to be effective agents of transformation for Africa, Dr. Kaudia challenged universities to develop academic and research programmes that links theory to policy and practice. She equally emphasized the importance of integrating entrepreneurship in the academic and research programmes.

FAWOVC Booklet for 2018

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