An entry to a worldwide ‘women empowerment’ themed contest has won Marshal Papworth scholarship student, David Mulabi, an invite to meet former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, in Geneva.
David, studying an MSc Communication for Innovation and Development at Reading University and two fellow students; Abeer Al Kayat and Louisa Ciampi received the invitation after reaching the finals of the 2014 Geneva International Contest for Graduate Students. Open to postgraduate students from around the world, the theme for this year’s contest was ‘Women empowerment’ and David’s team saw off competition from 80 teams from across the globe, to reach the finals of the contest with their Market Match-Up project.
The concept behind David’s team’s shortlisted project is to provide access to a participatory communication platform to empower rural women farmers to become more self-efficient. Through the provision of affordable and accessible mobile phone technology, the system provides timely information, helping rural women farmers to overcome market access barriers. The system also enables users to collectively procure quality agriculture products such as seeds, fertiliser and tools at affordable prices.
Commenting on the concept David said: “Rural farmers always have to buy their agricultural products from local agents, whose prices tend to be very expensive and the quality of which is questionable.
“Offering a model that uses a participatory approach and places the management of the platform directly in the hands of women themselves, not only gives the women the opportunity to make informed decisions without relying on agents, but it also helps address the inequality balance between men and women within the marketplace and in a social setting.”
David and his team will find out if their project has been successful on 15 September when the winner will be announced.
David’s invite to Geneva follows hot on the heels of the annual Marshal Papworth Fund’s graduate presentation ceremony. Thirteen students from across the Fund’s 2014 scholarship programme were presented with certificates by Lord Iveagh, the Fund’s newly appointed Patron in recognition of their achievements.
Both Masters and short course students came together for the event where they were formally recognised for their commitment to their scholarship. The Fund’s 2014 short course students, who had all successfully completed their 10-week Demonstration Farmer course at Shuttleworth College, have since returned to their homelands and are busy putting into practice and sharing valuable skills and knowledge within their communities.
The Masters students have returned to their respective Universities to continue studying towards their chosen course, which are due for completion in September.
Commenting at the event, Lord Iveagh, who presented each student with their certificate said: “It is a great honour to be here and share in celebrating the achievements of our students and the wonderful work they have accomplished.”