A Kenyan scientist was among 10 – African women who won a KES 1.7 million (US $ 20,000) fellowship, by beauty products manufacturer, L’Oreal for her outstanding research in environmental science.
29 year old Mercy Ojoyi was nominated to receive the prestigious 2012 L’Oréal-UNESCO Regional Fellowships For Women in Science (FWIS) in Sub-Saharan Africa at a colorful event to be held in South Africa last Friday.
Ms. Ojoyi said she would plough back the money in her research work. It involves assessing dynamics of climate and its impact on natural ecosystems in East Africa using advanced remote sensing techniques. The study aims to specifically understand ecosystem dynamics in the Eastern Arc Mountains in East Africa, impacts on biodiversity, including anthropogenic and climatic factors.
“I am indeed honoured to receive the L’Oréal UNESCO fellowship, which will go a long way in helping facilitate my research requirements, particularly fieldwork, which is a major challenge with field data having to be collected in extremely remote and inaccessible areas,” she said.
While congratulating Ms Ojoyi for her nomination, L’Oreal East Africa Managing Director Patricia Ithau commended Kenyan women for their contribution to science.
“I believe Kenyan women are strongly becoming influential forces in the field of science across the world,” said Ms Ithau.
The scientific research areas covered by this year’s fellows included studies in computer science, microbiology, environmental science, pharmaceutical microbiology, environmental health, dermatology, genetics, biomedical technology and molecular biology.
Other winners were Vivian Boamah (Ghana); Tsige Ketema (Ethiopia); Fatemah Thawer-Esmail (Tanzania); Oluwasola Fasan (Nigeria); Mopo Leshwedi-Radebe (SA); Marisa Klopper (SA); Gerda Fourie (SA); Gcineka Mbambisa (SA); and Britt Drögemöller (SA).
Earlier in the year, the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Fellowship Program awarded another Kenyan, Peggoty Mutai in France. In 2009, two previous international FWIS laureates were awarded Nobel Prizes in chemistry and medicine, bearing testimony to the impact of the foundation’s influence on scientific research.