Participants are alumni of ACIAR programs including the John Allwright Fellowship, University of the South Pacific Scholarship Program, and Meryl Williams Fellowship.
The successful applicants will support eight projects in the Pacific, 25 in South-East Asia (including Indonesia), four in South Asia and three in Africa.
Exactly 50% of successful applicants are women. ‘This is a fantastic outcome,’ says Professor Gibson, noting that efforts by ACIAR and the agricultural sector to promote gender equity have helped develop ‘a cohort of female alumni who are highly skilled and set to become the next generation of agricultural leaders in their countries.’
Dr Sonnthida Sambath is a researcher in Cambodia who has received support under the program. Her project will research the impact of COVID-19 on the prices of fresh vegetables supplied through the main wholesale distribution centres in Cambodia. Dr Sambath will examine the Cambodian Government response with respect to ensuring food security and the impact on gender issues.
‘The findings from this study will inform future crisis planning,’ says Dr Sambath. ‘It will allow the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, especially ground level staff, to understand the potential economic impacts of doubling vegetable production and the gender dynamics of this.’
Dr Sambath is an alumni of the ACIAR Meryl Williams Fellowship where she learnt leadership skills that she will apply in this project. She adds that she is looking forward to doing in-depth collaborative social-economic research into the role of gender in agriculture.