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Ghana, Myanmar, Zimbabwe Launch National Chapters

December 17, 2018

Three more National Chapters joined the OWSD family this fall, with new National Chapters launched in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, and a re-launch of the Ghana National Chapter. "These National Chapter launches are crucial gatherings for women scientists in the regions," remarked Tonya Blowers, OWSD Coordinator. "Specific and local challenges are raised and addressed – and establishing a network is so important. For many of these women it was their first meeting together."

Ghana

On 8-9 November, the Ghana National Chapter of OWSD hosted a two-day workshop at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, as part of the OWSD 25th Anniversary celebrations. In addition to the interactive workshop which included sessions on how to be an effective mentor and on how researchers can help Ghana meet the Sustainable Development Goals, the event also served to re-launch and re-organize the National Chapter. 

The workshop included presentations from several leading Ghanaian women scientists, including: Rudith King, professor at the Centre for Settlements Studies of the College of Art and Built Environment, KNUST and an expert in development planning;  Ibok Oduro, Provost of the College of Science and professor of biochemistry at KNUST; Esi Awuah, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani and regional member for Africa of the OWSD Executive Board; and Esther Sakyi-Dawson, professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Ghana.

Workshop participants also discussed the organization of the newly revived Ghana National Chapter of OWSD, which will be based at KNUST, and provided suggestions and ideas as to the focus of the Chapter’s activities.

More than 160 women attended the event, including leading professors, lecturers, PhD and MSc students, and BSc garduates from 23 universities across the country. Five OWSD fellows also attended, some arriving from South Africa.

Read more about the Ghana National Chapter re-launch and workshop here

Myanmar

On 5 November 2018, the Myanmar National Chapter of OWSD was officially launched at the Chatrium Royal Lake Hotel in Yangon.

The launch event, which also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of OWSD, was attended by 70 participants, including members of the Myanmar National Chapter, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and special guests and invited speakers from the academic and government sectors. 

Speakers at the event included Poe Kaung, rector of the University of Yangon; Khin Khin Win, professor and head of the Department of Physics at Yangon University; Tonya Blowers, OWSD Programme Coordinator; Ohm Mar Lynn, professor and head of the Agricultural Biotechnology Department at Yezin Agricultural University; Phyu Sin Thant, Senior Agronomist from the Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development; and Tin Tin Khaing, professor and a member of the OWSD Myanmar National Chapter. 

The launch event also included a brainstorming session for the new National Chapter, as well as a celebratory dinner with special guests from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

Read more about the launch of the Myanmar National Chapter here

Zimbabwe

On 16 November 2018, more than 300 participants gathered at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) to celebrate the launch of the OWSD Zimbabwe National Chapter, which coincided with the 25th Anniversary Celebrations of OWSD. In addition to professors and PhD, MSc and undergraduate students, the event was also attended by 90 secondary school students from 5 girls’ high schools in Harare.

The launch included several inspiring presentations from Zimbabwean science and technology leaders, including: Perkins Muredzit, Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology at HIT; Christopher Chetsanga, professor of biochemistry at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and the first President of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences; OWSD President Jennifer Thomson; and Rungano Karimanzira, Director of Projects and Technology at the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Office of Science and Technology Development. Fortunate Farirai, Chair of the new National Chapter, also spoke about the objectives of the Chapter and her vision for leading it. 

The afternoon also featured the presentation of several awards for local students, including one A-level and one university undergraduate scholarship, selected through an essay competition. 

The daytime event was followed by a dinner for National Chapter members and invited guests at the Rainbow Towers hotel. 

The OWSD Zimbabwe National Chapter launched with 135 registered members. They are hosted by the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences.

Read more about the Zimbabwe National Chapter launch here

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