BHAWNA ATMARAM

In the context of the International Women’s Day 2020, L’Agence Universitaire de La Francophonie (AUF) organised an interactive learning and sharing session with other stakeholders such as the Organisation for Science in the Developing World (OSDW) and Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (FAREI) at Saint Andrew’s School, Rose Hill on Tuesday 3rd March 2020. The aim was to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy and safe nutrition, the prospects in agricultural studies and how home gardening can be introduced at grassroots levels to ensure Food Security, which is one of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. The target audience was essentially young girls since there is a dearth of female presence in the field of scientific research.

The Director of the AUF, Ms Jayantee Gukhool, stressed upon the need for sustainable and healthy nutrition by going back to basics; planting in order to sow the seeds for a green and better future. Dr Devika Saddul, President of the OWSD Mauritius Chapter, gave some valuable insight into the diversification of academic and employment opportunities in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) industries. As a matter of fact, there are not enough women in these sectors. Women need to be encouraged to join these spheres and fellowships are available to those who would like to persevere in these fields.

The interactive sessions were focused on little known local fruits in Mauritius, recycling materials for gardening purposes and career opportunities in the agricultural sector. Afterwards, a symbolical tree planting ceremony was observed in the school garden.  That would certainly leave a lasting imprint on the young girls and the school as a whole, inspiring everybody to contribute towards food sustainability, one step at a time.