FAR-LeaF Fellow Awarded a Place in the Prestigious OWSD Programme

FAR-LeaF fellow Dr Anna Msigwa was selected to participate in the 2022 Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) Early Career Fellowship programme.

The programme consists of a prestigious award of up to US$50 000, offered to women who have completed their PhDs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and are employed at an academic or scientific research institute in one of the listed Science and Technology Lagging countries. The OWSD Early Career fellows are supported to establish environments at their institutions where they can maintain an international standard of research and attract scholars from all over the world to collaborate.

The fellowship programme supports early-career women scientists to lead important research projects in those countries which have been identified as especially lacking in scientific and technological resources. The fellows will undertake their research projects in one of the eligible countries and must demonstrate that they have spent significant periods in that country – at least five years in total. They must also have a guarantee of employment at the institution where they intend to conduct the research.

Dr Msigwa is a lecturer in hydrology and water resources engineering at the department of Water Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Tanzania. Msigwa is a hydrologist and water management expert, researching water resource management and climate-smart agricultural water management strategies using remote sensing technologies.

She studied the efficient use of water for agriculture in the Pangani basin in Tanzania, uniquely incorporating seasonal land-use dynamics into water analysis models. Her unique approach is already being used to study agricultural water used across Africa and globally by PhD students at the Vrije University of Brussels in Belgium.

The OWSD funding will add more weather stations for climate data collection and link the project with industry for sustainability.

The agriculture sector in Tanzania represents almost 30% of the country’s GDP. It is essential for economic growth, poverty alleviation, and food security. Nevertheless, the financial losses from climate change impacts on agriculture are estimated at US$200 million annually. In this respect, agricultural processes must be optimised, and innovative farming methods must be developed to guarantee food supply.

Early detection and monitoring of plant responses to water stress in crops present an opportunity to reduce such losses, build resilience in the agriculture sector, improve productivity and farmer incomes, and contribute to climate change mitigation.

Dr Msigwa’s OWSD research project is an extension of an ongoing project on developing a remote sensing and machine learning water stress detection system for maise farming in northern Tanzania. Currently funded by the University of Pretoria under the FAR-LeaF Project, the OWSD funding will add more weather stations for climate data collection and link the project with industry for sustainability.

She will attend an OWSD workshop in Trieste, Italy, in May/June 2023.

Heidi Sonnekus | FAR-LeaF Program


The Future Africa Research Leader Fellowship (FAR-LeaF) is a fellowship programme, focussed on developing transdisciplinary research and leadership skills, to address the complex, inter-linked challenges of health, well-being, and environmental risks in Africa.