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Rome-Based Catholic Entity Launches Prestigious Scholarship Project for African Scientists

Microbiologist Chiaka Anumudu, a beneficiary of Guadeloupe Scholarships Programme for African women is researching Parasitology, at the University of Valencia. Credit: Harambee Africa International

Harambee Africa International (HAI) is collaborating with prestigious international research centres to provide scholarships to young African scientists who will be required to give back to their communities in the areas of health and environment. 

HAI Communications officer, Rossella Miranda, informed ACI Africa that the scholarship program that has attracted funding from the international community is aimed at boosting the place of women in scientific research.

“Thanks to an international fundraising campaign, ten annual scholarships will be offered for a period of ten years,” Ms. Miranda says in a report shared with ACI Africa Tuesday, October 26.

She adds, “The project aims to promote the leadership of African women in scientific research with the aim of strengthening research centers in Africa, especially in the two areas of greatest impact on people: Life and Earth.”

Dubbed Guadalupe’s Scholarships Program, the HAI initiative has been established in honor of Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri, a celebrated researcher who has been described as “a doctor in chemical sciences and humanity...and in holiness as well.”

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HAI launched the ten-year project of scholarships for young African scientists on the occasion of the beatification of the scientist Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri that was held on 18 May 2019 in Madrid, Spain.

Ms. Miranda says that the Guadeloupe Scholarships Program for African women scientists grants 100 scholarships over 10 years “so that both high-level female scientists and young graduates from sub-Saharan Africa, who are beginning their research careers, can expand their knowledge and discover new fields of research to collaborate effectively in the development of their countries.”

The scholarship, the HAI official noted, will encourage the creation of research centres of excellence in scientific subjects relating to the improvement of human health and the protection of the environment.

Each selected fellowship holder will be offered the possibility of training abroad, with a stay of up to 6 months in the best international research centres with which Harambee will enter into partnerships.

“The grant will integrate the applicant into a consolidated scientific research group in Spain, in African countries or in European universities with which Harambee has agreements, with the aim of acquiring scientific skills,” Ms. Miranda says.

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In addition, she says, beneficiaries of the scholarship “will be able to establish or consolidate links between research groups that will allow them, if necessary, to carry out collaborative research. They also aim to help complete scientific and technical training and specialization.”

Financed by public and private sponsorship, the scholarships will cover travel expenses to and from the country of origin, accommodation, subsistence and medical insurance, HAI says.

According to the leadership of the entity that initiates and supports development projects across the world, the scientists’ initiative is supported by a scientific committee, composed of prestigious European researchers.

The researchers, the organization reports, will select the most suitable candidates to receive the scholarship.

Additionally, a management committee will select the European research groups in which the beneficiaries will be integrated.

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“The terms and conditions of each call for applications are published on the Harambee website on 11 February,” Ms. Miranda says, and adds, “On the same day, the call for applications opens with an application period of 45 days. From that moment, the Scientific Committee of the project will evaluate the suitability of the applicants and will select the 10 most deserving of those who meet the requirements.”

Harambee Africa International is derived from a Swahili word “Harambee” meaning “All Together,” which summarizes the organization’s goal, “all together to accompany a continent that has much to teach the world.”

The Rome-based Catholic entity is running a number of other development projects that invite Africans to participate, including the ongoing call on writers to compete for the International Prize dubbed “Communicating Africa”, with a specific invitation to storytellers on the African continent to tell their own stories in the global contest.