The Mawazo Institute – Supporting Africa’s Next Generation of Women Research Leaders in Academia and Beyond

About the Mawazo Institute

The Mawazo Institute is a women-led African organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya supporting early-career women researchers as they work to find solutions to local and global development challenges.

How the RISA Fund Grant was Used

The Mawazo Institute, through the Mawazo Learning Exchange (MLEx) Fellowship programme and the Mawazo Fellows Fund, implemented the project titled Supporting Africa’s Next Generation of Female Research Leaders in Academia and Beyond. The RISA funded project was aimed at supporting wellrounded African women researchers, regardless of their discipline, to improve Africa’s research ecosystem, knowledge, and innovations, to influence regional development policy across multiple sectors.

The project provided tailored training and professional development courses, financial support for research activities, and networking opportunities in academia and related knowledge sectors, industry, entrepreneurship, and government where they are significantly underrepresented.


  • The RISA Fund supported the professional development of forty young African women researchers.
  • One of the research fellows conducted a study that contributed to the identification of a new strain of sorghum that is striga-resistant and can be cultivated in Western Kenya.
  • Financial support for research activities was provided through the Mawazo Fellows Fund. A total of fifteen grants (average grant size was $2,127) disbursed.
  • A report on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on African research and higher education was published under the RISA grant.
  • The MLEx Resource Library and the pilot Mawazo Alumni Support Programme was launched.
  • The Mawazo Institute is reviewing its theory of change, log frame, and accompanying Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (ME&L) framework. This is an opportunity to provide support beyond the existing framework of the MLEx Fellowship Programme, including collaborating with partners outside of the academic sector.