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8th l’Oréal-UNESCO for women in science regional programme honours young scientists from across Africa

The 2017 edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa ceremony celebrated 14 young female scientists. As part of the programme launched in 2010, female scientists from across Sub-Saharan Africa were honoured for their work and impact in the scientific field. Their fields of research vary across different disciplines and address key global issues.

Since 1998, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation (http://APO.af/3QVF51) and UNESCO (https://en.UNESCO.org/) have been committed to women in science and to increasing the number of women working in scientific research. 150 years after Marie Curie’s birth, still only 28%* of researchers are women and only 3% of Scientific Nobel Prizes are awarded to them. That is why, for the past 19 years, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme has worked to honour and accompany women researchers at key moments in their careers. Since the programme began, it has supported more than 2,700 young women from 115 countries and celebrated 97 Laureates, at the peak of their careers, including professors Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Ada Yonath, who went on to win a Nobel Prize.

Sandeep Rai, Managing Director, L’Oréal South Africa highlighted the power of these women scientists and the women scientists who have been celebrated this year. “The world continues to face unprecedented challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, illnesses and food security among other issues. Only a shared, controlled science, at the service of the world’s population, is able to meet the major challenges of the twenty-first century, and our researchers are the proof.”

The recipients of the Post-Doctoral regional fellowships of 10 000 Euros each are:

1. Charlette Tiloke, South Africa - Durban University of Technology

Title of Project: Anticancer and antimicrobial activity of Moringa oleifera, and Sutherlandia frutescens and their nanoparticles.

2. Kenda Knowles, South Africa - University of Kwazulu-Natal

Title of Project: Statistical study of diffuse radio emission in ACT galaxy clusters with MeerKAT

The recipients of the Doctoral fellowships of 5 000 Euros each are:

1. Oluwademilade Fayemiwo, Nigeria - University of Johannesburg

Title of Project: Novel tannin-based adsorbents from green tea for the removal of organic pollutants in oilfield produced water

2. Priscah Omoke, Kenya - Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science And Technology

Title of Project: Characterization of similarity orbits of invariant subspaces of norm-attainable operators

3. Olawumi Sadare, Nigeria - University of the Witwatersrand

Title of Project: Development and Evaluation of Adsorption coupling Bio-desulphurization (AD/BDS) process for the desulphurization of South African Petroleum Distillates.

4. Juliana Mandha, Uganda - Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology

Title of Project: Value addition in the fruit processing chain to increase the nutritional value and to enhance the small holder farmers’ income in Uganda

5. Carol Mahachi, Zimbabwe - Stellenbosch University

Title of Project: Inflammation Markers Associated with Kidney Disease in HIV positive patients

6. Godiraone Nkoni, Botswana - University of Botswana

Title of Project: variability in lower stratospheric ozone concentration over the Kalahari transect as a precursor for climate change assessment

7. Verena Gounden, South Africa - University of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Title of Project: Effect of environmental endocrine disruptor Bisphenol A BPA on epigenetic regulation of steroid hormone metabolism and influence on associated levels of hormones among mother and child pairs

8. Cynthia Tamandjou, Cameroon - Stellenbosch University

Title of Project: Hepatitis B virus mother-to-Child-transmission in Namibia: transmission dynamics and possibilities for elimination

9. Therina Du Toit, South Africa - Stellenbosch University

Title of Project: The profiling of C11-oxy steroids by UPC2-MS/MS quantification in clinical conditions characterized by androgen excess and in steroid abuse.

10. Lethiwe Mthembu, South Africa - Durban University of Technology

Title of Project: Ionic liquid optimization and synthesis of levulinic acid and levulinic acid derivatives from sugarcane bagasse

11. Maléki Assih, Togo - Université Ouaga I Pr Joseph Ki-Zerbo

Title of Project: Immunity in viral hepatitis B: Evaluation of the cytokine profile and immunoglobulins in vaccinated individuals and carriers of HBsAg in Burkina Faso

12. Augustina Frimpong, Ghana - University of Ghana

Title of Project: Analysis of T cell receptor diversity in paediatric malaria patients

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa programme has reached many women across Africa. The prestigious Awards Ceremony where the scientists were presented with the fellowship took place on the evening of 8 November at The Venue Greenpark, Johannesburg

For more information on the For Women in Science programme visit www.ForWomenInScience.com.

*UNESCO Science Report Toward 2030, 2015

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of L'Oréal Group.

Media contact: Helen Da Fonseca L’Oreal South Africa Tel: 011 286 0742 Email: Helen.Dafonseca@LOreal.com

About the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation: Accompany. Value. Communicate. Support. Move boundaries. The convictions, the core values which drive the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation’s (http://APO.af/3QVF51) commitment to women every day. A commitment divided into two main areas - science and beauty. Through its’ For Women in Science programme, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation motivates girls in High School to pursue scientific careers, supports women researchers and rewards excellence in a field where women remain underrepresented. Through its beauty programmes, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation assists women affected by illness, who are economically disadvantaged or isolated, to recover their sense of self-esteem and femininity in order to feel better and to fare better. Its’ actions also include providing training programmes for beauty industry professions.

About UNESCO: Since its creation in 1945, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (https://en.UNESCO.org/) supports international scientific cooperation as a catalyst for sustainable development and for peace between people. UNESCO assists countries in the development of their public policies and bin building their capabilities in the fields of science, technology, innovation and scientific education. In addition, UNESCO leads several intergovernmental programmes for the sustainable management of freshwater, ocean and terrestrial resources, for biodiversity protection and to promote science’s role in combating climate change and natural disasters. To meet these goals, UNESCO is committed to ending discrimination of all kinds and to promoting equality between women and men.

Four tiers of the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science programme:

  • L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate Awards: Only five women globally – one leading woman per continent - receive this prestigious award every year and these outstanding scientists are known as Laureates. The award is for accomplished scientists who are honoured for their impact in the field of science.
  • L’Oréal-UNESCO International Rising Talents recognises the fifteen best fellows each year selected among the winners of the national or regional fellowships covering each of the five regions: Africa & Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America.
  • L’Oréal–UNESCO National Fellowship Programme: These fellowships anchor the For Women in Science programme in 47 countries around the world where L’Oréal has a subsidiary, and thus assures the management and promotion of the programme. 
  • In 2010, the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science partnership started the For Women in Science Regional Fellowships including the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa Fellowship programme. The objective of the Regional Fellowships is to bring support to young women pursuing scientific careers in dozens of countries throughout the world where L’Oréal does not have a subsidiary. The Sub-Saharan Africa Fellowship programme covers 49 countries.