African Women in Science (AWIS)

Strengthening women in science, management, and policy on the African Great Lakes

An International Institute of Sustainable Development-African Center for Aquatic Research and Education Program


Because women have been disenfranchised from work in the sciences, their perspectives are missing from critical solutions. ACARE has a program to change this for the African Great Lakes through training, education, and mentoring in our African Women in Science program: AWIS.

AWIS supports and guides African women scientists to catalyze positive change on the African Great Lakes and their tributaries. The program: 

1) Builds capacity for African women in science through professional development, that enhances their endeavors and progress as scientists

2) Advances science on the African Great Lakes and their tributaries by adding more women scientists' perspectives and knowledge to the scientific community.


AWIS is a ten-month program that integrates learning experiences from a cohort of peers and a variety of experts and mentors. While the 2021 program is taking place online, future plans include a one-month international immersion experience. Participants have ongoing assignments related to core components. Program components include:


  • Leadership Development
  • Scientific Skills
  • Communications Techniques
  • Networking Strategy


  • Take part in events at international symposia, which includes meeting other early-, mid-, and late-career women scientists to build a supportive community and mentor-mentee relationships

  • Attend international conferences to present work and integrate into the larger scientific community


  • Connect individually with senior scientists, and other experts for insights, advice and problem-solving related to research and careers

International Connections. Each participant be invited to attend the annual International Association of Great Lakes Research conference, held annually in North America, to:​

  • Increase the global view of freshwater resources, for themselves, and others

  • Gain input on their research, writing, scientific approaches

  • Enhance their network of expertise to solve issues they face

  • Strengthen future opportunities for research, careers, and knowledge

  • Offer solutions and input to other global freshwater experts 

Project-Based Learning

  • Work on a project in a small group or individually that may be related to their current work, or another topic they can explore through the program

  • Develop end products that may include a short paper or journal article on their topic, a funding proposal or presentation that compares aspects of different lakes with input from peers and mentors

  • Present resent projects at the end of the program


What participants give:

  • Commit to full participation in monthly programming over the course of 10 months

  • Use the experiences to build your current work

  • Complete assignments based on core program components

  • Map in their progress journey along the way to share with the group

  • Have opportunities to present work/research to the larger scientific community 

What participants get: 

  • Make peer connections in a transboundary cohort

  • Build their professional network, locally, regionally, globally

  • Receive feedback from the larger scientific community

  • Grow your professional network

  • Take part in relevant skills training

  • Gain insight to grow leadership


Welcome to the African Women in Science Program, From the African Women in Science


Flagship Initiative

AWIS 2020
Description, cohort, application.
AWIS 2021
Description, cohort, application.
AWIS 2022
Description, cohort, application.

The Team

Ms. Angela Nankabirwa

AWIS Coordinator


Dr. Lulu Tunu Kaaya

 AWIS Advisor


Ms. Stephanie Smith

Strategic Advisor




The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all."

SDG 5: Gender Equality was designed to achieve gender equality and to empower all women and girls. ACARE is working with our partners to ensure we answer the global call to enhance the participation of women in solving our most critical freshwater issues. Limited representation of women in science reduces the perspective, knowledge, and efforts of one portion of our population. 

The importance of women in science cannot be overstated. To learn more of these efforts, please see the World Health Organization's (WHO) and The Research on Disease and Poverty's report and the United Nation's SDG platform, describing SDG 5.