3 female students win MasterCard’s Ideas Matter Doctoral Fellowships


The West African Research Association (WARA) and The MasterCard Foundation have announced the recipients of the Ideas Matter Fellowship Program, a new fellowship which supports the research of young academics in the region focusing on women, technology and entrepreneurship. The US $4,000 grants will allow recipients to solve some of the most trenchant health and economic challenges facing Africa today.

In this inaugural competition, the Ideas Matter Doctoral Fellowship program received 63 applications from graduate students representing 10 West African countries and fields as diverse as biology, agronomy, political science, medicine, public health, chemistry and pharmacy. While only 17 of the 63 applicants were women, the three  applications which rose to the top were all submitted by young women – attesting to the growing role of women in science and technology.

The three candidates selected as winner from among the applicants are:

  • Akomoun Blandine Kapko (Benin), Université d’Abomey-Calavi, will develop an inventory of plants used in the traditional treatment of typhoid fever, further working to identify and isolate their active properties.
  • Osemudiamen Anao (Nigeria), University of Benin, will explore the health effects of a toxic common component of e-waste capable of acting as an endocrine disruptor, carcinogen and neuro-development toxicant.
  • Gloria Tetteh-Kubi (Ghana), University of Cape Coast, will investigate measures aimed at reducing widespread pesticide use in cowpea cultivation, contributing to poverty reduction, food security and biodiversity conservation.

The Ideas Matter Fellowship Program reflects WARA and MasterCard Foundation’s commitment to increasing opportunities for emerging West African scholars who are transforming ideas into active solutions to the challenges facing the region and the world at large.

The West African Research Association is devoted to the promotion of research and scholarly exchange between and among West African and US scholars and institutions. Over the past 15 years, WARA has directly supported the work of some 100 West African researchers. WARA’s overseas headquarters, The West African Research Center (WARC) is located in Dakar, Senegal. WARA is a member of the Smithsonian-based Council of American Overseas Research Centers and has its U.S. offices at Boston University’s African Studies Center