Nigerian Women in Agricultural Research for Development (NIWARD)

Prof. Stella Williams (OAU, Ile-Ife, 1983/2008)
Nigerian Women in Agricultural Research for Development (NiWARD – is the empowerment initiative of the Nigerian, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD – Fellows, Mentors, and Mentees to bring the knowledge and skills gained through the AWARDprogramme to more Nigerians, especially rural women farmers and communities. The Fellows use the support from AWARD and their research to respond to the daily challenges rural farmers’ face, by focusing on researches that are essential to the household nutrition and community trade and innovating processes to improve their access to information and reduce the drudgery of value addition in their farming enterprise.

Mrs. Binta Iliyasu is an AWARD currently registered for her PhD at ABU. We are very proud of her achievement since she became a fellow, hence, the reason for NiWARd as the umbrella organization of All AWARD Fellows, Mentors and Mentees in Nigeria to pay a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor as well as take the time to pay a courtesy call on the Commission for Agriculture in Kaduna State and the Esteemed Governor of Kaduna State.

We are delighted to know that you are willing to support and assist us in this quest so that both Binta and her Mentor can continue to promote this laudable program at ABU in particular and in Kaduna State in general. I am reliably informed that you have made a positive commitment to also support Binta’s plan to carry out her AWARD Role Modeling project in Kano during my planned visit to ABU in February. Thus, I wish to pray that I make my visit to ABU from Sun 14 through Friday 19th January. This I pray will give me the opportunity to visit with the VC on Monday 15th January; visit with the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture on Tuesday 15th Jan and travel to Kano for the Role Modeling program on 15th for the event to take place on Wednesday 16th and return to Zaria with the Group with a hope that we can pay a courtesy call on the Governor thereafter before my departure back to Abuja on the weekend.

Please be assured that we will rely on your advise in terms of all Logistices for paying these official courtesy calls as proposed.
Once more, please let me tender our gratitude and appreciation for your kind understanding and willingness to collaborate with us to promote AWARD and NiWARD for a wider opportunity for the Northern political zone.


The conference held as scheduled and the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in attendance as Special Guest and was represented at the conference by the Gender Policy Unit of the University.

Ahmadu Bello University had full representation and participated actively in the conference. Binta Iliyasu a PhD Biotechnology student of the University (ABU) who happens also to be a Fellow of the NiWARD (Nigerian Women in Agricultural Research for Development) was in attendance and equally presented a paper on Role Modelling: her presentation captures her story in which she foretold how difficult it was and still is for northern women to be allowed freely to pursue education and independence. Society didn’t encourage female schooling, women are expected to play second class roles to the male fox, despite all odds, she went to school and currently waiting on her external defense for her PhD degree. This story of hers is what has informed the Role Modelling initiative and she uses it as a strategy or rather, a tool to campaign for Girl Child education in the North.

In partnership with the Gender Policy Unit, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and NiWARD she carried out her first campaign, in which a Young Farmers Club was formed and inaugurated by principal officers of ABU (Dr. Binta Abdulkarim, Coordinator Gender Policy Unit) and Prof. Stella Williams (Founder, NiWARD) in Government Girls Secondary School, Tudun Wada Zaria. Her presentation brought to the fore for conference attendees, the plight of the woman, particularly the Northern Woman.

There were a few more presentations and exhibition. One of the presenter, presented on how ‘yam consumption aids fertility in human beings’. The research was premise on speculation around the Ekiti people, but her finding is making room for such speculations to be fact: Yam eating aids fertility and it serves as a source for the birth of twins. On the exhibition table were various crafts and innovations by the NiWARD family.
Forthwith, participants were challenged on the need to further:

  • Scale up research and innovations in the areas of Science and Agriculture.
  • Promote the participation of women in Agriculture.
  • Women should be creative, owe up businesses and
  • Women should be proactive, engaging and enterprising
  • Women should pursue education and equally pursue for political offices.

There were good will messages from various partners and collaborators. Ahmadu Bello University, in her good will message delivered by the coordinator Gender Policy Unit; Dr. Binta Abdulkarim, stressed the importance of Gender best practices in advancing development, she equally praised the founder of NiWARD for such laudable initiative; Moving the Nigerian Woman Forward. And pledge the support of the Vice Chancellor; Prof. Garba Ibrahim in promoting Gender best practices and also NiWARD. At the close of the conference, the following were emphasized:

  • The need to improve the numbers of Fellows from the North and the East.
  • The need to hold the next Conference in the North.
  • The need to get more sponsorship which will aid increase participation.
  • The need to further encourage female scientist and also that Institution will increase the quota they give female students admissions.

The conference had attendance from all over the country and also representation from Kenya an African country.