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APPLY: Olam announces $75,000 grant to support research in global agriculture

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Olam
  • Olam Prize for Innovation in food security recognises and supports transformational research in global agriculture

Olam International, in partnership with Agropolis Fondation, is on the hunt for ground- breaking scientific research that can deliver transformational impacts within global agriculture and win a USD$75,000 grant to support development and implementation.

Unlike other research awards, the Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security requires clear evidence of potential short-term impact on food availability, affordability, adequacy, and accessibility.

The fourth edition of the biennial Prize follows the recent warning from the UN World Food Programme that the COVID-19 pandemic will double the number of people suffering acute hunger by the end of 2020i, bringing food security firmly into the world’s spotlight.

The Co-Founder and Group CEO at Olam, Sunny Verghese, said:

“At a time when the world faces a potential rise in food insecurity from the coronavirus crisis, with vulnerable parts of the developing world, particularly in Africa, most at risk, the new scientific insights and techniques being developed by research teams around the world are more significant than ever. The Olam Prize aims to support breakthrough innovations so that together we can re- imagine agriculture for greater food security.”

The winner of the previous Prize was a pioneering mapping approach that is reimagining subsistence farming in Ethiopia, co-ordinated by Dr Tomaso Ceccarelli of Wageningen Environmental Research and Dr Elias Eyasu Fantahun of Addis Ababa University.

Innovation Mapping for Food Security (IM4FS), is supporting Ethiopia’s REALISE programme to give smallholder farmers a ‘best fit’ for what to grow, where and how, with the goal of improving productivity in food insecure areas.

Commenting on what the funding has meant to the implementation of their research, Dr Ceccarelli said:

“The funding from the Olam Prize has allowed us to start scaling up our approach and shift our focus from areas of high potential agriculture, to the food insecure and drought prone regions of Ethiopia. Specifically, the funding is being applied to 4 key areas: engaging local and regional planners, in-situ data collection on bio-physical and socio-economic conditions, developing the GIS-based tool behind IM4FS, and application of site-specific crop recommendations based on the research fed into and information generated by the tool.

“With the unexpected outbreak of COVID-19, we’re also reviewing with our partners how IM4FS can support more immediate and urgent food security needs for farmers amid the pandemic. This would include planning efficient seed, fertiliser and other input distribution to farmers based on needs assessments.”

Meanwhile, since receipt of the 2017 Prize funding, the heat-tolerant wheat varieties developed by Dr. Filippo Bassi of ICARDA, are now well-established in Senegal and Mauritania and have been successfully cultivated for the first time by farmers in Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and the Republic of the Gambia.

“Despite extreme weather events Africa, and the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa, I am happy to say that the activities enabled by the Olam Prize are advancing at full steam. Olam’s mill is Dakar is leading a partnership with other local millers to provide an ideal market for farmers to sell their new grain and with the expansion of heat tolerant wheat now included as a strategic approach in the Adaptation of African Agriculture (a joint initiative by African Ministries of Agriculture), we can reach many more farmers.

“Indeed, the Olam Prize, and the communication campaign that followed, has truly helped promote the use of this technology and get farmers interested. Since the initial press release, ICARDA has been contacted almost weekly to provide seeds to different farmers and scientific organisations around the globe. The true power of the Olam Prize goes well beyond personal recognition to really helping people learn and deploy new progressive ideas for sustainable agriculture.”

Applications are welcomed from academic or research institutions, civil societies and the private sector, and can focus on any region, environment, crop or part of the agricultural supply chain.

Submission 

Submissions must be made here via the Agropolis website.

The deadline for application submissions is 23:59 CET (France) 11 January 2021.

Applications received before 30 November 2020 will be considered for publicity opportunities on Olam’s corporate channels.

The 2021 Prize will be judged by an independent jury of experts and awarded in conjunction with the Agropolis Louis Malassis International Scientific Prizes for Agriculture and Food and SHIFT Prize by Biovision Foundation.

What you should know about the programme partners

Olam International Limited

Olam International is a leading food and agri-business supplying food, ingredients, feed and fibre to 25,200 customers worldwide. Its value chain spans over 60 countries and includes farming, processing and distribution operations, as well as a sourcing network of an estimated 5 million farmers.

Through the purpose to ‘Re-imagine Global Agriculture and Food Systems’, Olam aims to address the many challenges involved in meeting the needs of a growing global population, while achieving positive impact for farming communities, our planet and all the stakeholders.

Headquartered and listed in Singapore, Olam currently ranks among the top 30 largest primary listed companies in terms of market capitalisation on SGX-ST.

Agropolis Fondation

Agropolis Fondation is a foundation for scientific cooperation which aims to promote and support high- level research and higher education (training-through-research) as well as to broaden international research partnerships in agricultural sciences and sustainable development research.

The scientific work supported by the Foundation covers all aspects of the plant – from its genes to its environments to its final uses – and concerns temperate, Mediterranean and tropical climates.

In the past 10 years the foundation has granted €40 million to scientific projects on cultivated plant diversity, biology and breeding, crop protection, sustainable agriculture and food systems, agro-ecological transition, adaptation to climate change, food processing and quality, socio-economics and public policies.

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APPLY: You can take advantage of final admissions deadline for Founder Institute Lagos Cohort III

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Founder Institute Lagos

The first and second cohorts of Founder Institute Lagos saw the emergence of 45 new companies all geared towards solving various problems leveraging technology.

Cohort III kicks off from the 19th of August, 2020, and sessions take place one night per week via zoom, over a 14-16 weeks period. 

If you apply today, then you will be able to take advantage of the free DNA test HERE ($50 value), or you can learn more here.

Anyone building a business that is pre-funding is welcome to apply, including established businesses and teams, aspiring entrepreneurs.

It is interesting to note that leaders of some of the world’s fastest-growing startups have used the Founder Institute to raise funding, get into seed-accelerators, generate traction, recruit a team, build a product, and more. 

If you enrol by 11.59 pm on Sunday’s Final Admissions Deadline, you will be eligible for a reduced course fee and have the best chance of being accepted. Get started here

In the words of Regional Director, Founder Institute, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr., startups who make the decision to join the program will be learning how to build and launch a company in a structured way plus become a part of a global network of innovators, mentors and investors. 

The Founder Institute (fi.co) is the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator, based in Silicon Valley but with chapters in close to 200+ cities.

The program provides high-potential entrepreneurs and teams with the support network and structured process needed to build an enduring business. 

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APPLY: CWG Academy to start new online session August 10

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CWG academy logo
CWG academy logo

CWG Academy, the training and capacity arm of CWG Plc will on August 10, 2020, start a new online session; the Head of Brand and Marketing Communications, Mr. Taiwo Lapite, announced in a statement.

The statement urged all Nigerians who are willing to pursue a career or learn a skill in Information and Communications Technology to apply and be part of the session, which is expected to last for six weeks.

“The new online session of the CWG Academy will take off by August 10, 2020. We urge all Nigerians willing to pursue a career in ICT to apply,” Taiwo emphasized in the statement.

CWG Academy had few weeks ago graduated its first set of online students in a ceremony conducted online owing to the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world that has forced many people and organizations to stay at home.

The CWG Academy is a brainchild of CWG Plc, Nigeria’s largest system integration company to bridge the skill gap in the country’s Information and Communications Technology sector.

Since its inception, the Academy has trained and developed over 1,500 Professionals, some of whom are working with Blue-Chip companies in Nigeria today. Some have also gone ahead to establish their own companies as entrepreneurs and are doing very well.

The Academy is one of the many ways CWG contributes her quota to Nation building by ways of helping to tackle the Nigerian unemployment quagmire.

The Academy deals with four core areas of the Information and Communications Technology ecosystem.

They are Advance Service management, Data Centre Infrastructure Services, IT Infrastructure & Cloud Platform and Software Training.

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ENTRY: Impact Amplifier calling for innovative solutions that promote online safety across Africa

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Online Safety

The exponential increase in internet, smartphone and mobile network usage over the past few years, which accelerated during the COVID-19 crisis, has created new opportunities for socio-economic development in Africa.

However, the rapid growth has also resulted in an increasing number of safety and security concerns varying in the different African regions from identity theft, bullying and harassment, sex trafficking, hate crimes, terrorist recruitment and promotion, to mis- or disinformation and financial scams.

To address these pressing issues, social innovation accelerator and advisory firm Impact Amplifier has designed the Africa Online Safety Fund, supported by Google.org, to finance innovative existing and new solutions to combat online security and safety threats.

Research done by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), technical adviser to the Fund, highlighted specific areas of concern in various African countries.

Some key safety concerns in Nigeria include communal conflict, often caused by irresponsible and biased reporting online, which can further ethnic and/or religious divides and play a significant role in increasing polarisation offline, remaining a relatively unaddressed issue in the country.

Local, inter-communal violence poses a significant challenge to social cohesion in Nigeria, with conflict caused by dispute over land and water use often associated with inter-ethnic and religious tensions.

Nigeria ranked third on the 2019 Global Terrorism Index, with its terrorist threat stemming predominantly from domestic Islamist groups Boko Haram and its ISIS-endorsed offshoot, ISIS in West Africa Province (ISWAP), both of whom operate online and use social media for recruitment purposes and the distribution of harmful propaganda.

The ISD’s Deputy Director, Moustafa Ayad, commented: “As we turn increasingly to an online existence, digital threats (ranging from terrorist and extremist use of the internet to cyberbullying and child grooming, mis- and disinformation, online hate speech and various forms of cyber-fraud) become more acute. The Africa Online Safety Fund comes at a pivotal moment as these threats are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and we are excited to see the innovative, community-led and contextually relevant responses we know this call for applications will have.”

The Africa Online Safety Fund is making a $1 million commitment to address these online safety issues.

There are two funding categories.

  • Transformative, which provides grants of maximum $100,000, is aimed at projects that provide larger and scalable solutions across multiple geographies and/or potentially large numbers of beneficiaries.
  • The Catalytic category targets smaller, potentially local or culturally specific projects, with grants of a maximum $10,000.

According to the Impact Amplifier’s Director, Tanner Methvin, the Fund although not exclusively focused, will favour solutions that address women and children’s online safety specifically, as they are the most targeted communities in this regard.

Google.org Grants Lead EMEA, Liza Belozerova, commented: “Working with local communities to help people be safer online is a core focus of our work at Google.org.  Our work comes alongside the company’s long-standing commitment to strengthen privacy and security across the internet. The work of Google.org with local experts has taught us that the best answers often come from those closest to the problem. That’s why we are supporting Impact Amplifier’s Online Safety Fund with $1 million to support organisations and initiatives that seek to make the internet a safer place.”

The Fund will be open for applications from 17 July – 21 August this year.  The call is open to social enterprises, public sector or public benefit organisations (not individuals) throughout Africa, but will be prioritising Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia and the Côte d’Ivoire.

Methvin said that the primary criteria that will be used to select successful applications include innovation and replication; social impact; potential for success; management team; financial efficiency, and sustainability.

“The selection of finalists will be followed by a tight mentoring process to develop and implement the winning solutions in the regions and where applicable, across Africa in order to combat these socio, economic and political security and safety threats,” he added.

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