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Rwanda’s Grace Mutesi Scoops Laureate Award for Cervical Cancer Fight

Rwandan-born Grace Mutesi on Thursday, November 9, was honoured among the 2023 award-winning Laureates by Fondation L’Oréal and UNESCO for her scientific work in preventing cervical cancer.

Mutesi is a Ph.D. student in Life and Environmental Sciences and was recognised for her work in promoting women’s health through improved HPV vaccination coverage in Kenya.

Her work to prevent cervical cancer includes investigating barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccination, assessing the acceptability of a single-dose vaccination strategy among healthcare providers in Kenya, and ultimately, providing valuable insights to inform strategies for promoting better stakeholder engagement, increasing awareness of the importance of the vaccine, and improving HPV vaccination coverage.

She is among 30 young talents honoured at the 14th edition of the For Women in Science (FWIS) Young Talents Program for Sub-Saharan Africa taking place in Kasane, Botswana.

They range from biochemists, epidemiologists, ecologists, artificial intelligence experts and public health specialists, with a commitment to finding long-lasting solutions to Africa’s diverse challenges using unprecedented approaches.

“Enabling women scientists to emerge in the public arena and be recognised for the quality of their work requires urgent action. It’s everyone’s responsibility, institutions, companies and civil society. Neither Africa nor the world can successfully respond to the environmental, societal, and health crises of our time by depriving itself of half of humanity,” said Alexandra Palt, CEO of the Fondation L’Oréal.

Besides the €10,000 each Ph.D. laureate gets in funding, they are also provided with an opportunity to undertake leadership training to foster their personal and professional development.

The cohort will join a community of more than 200 African researchers who have been supported and honoured since the creation of this regional programme in 2010.

The Fondation L’Oréal supports and empowers women to shape their future and make a difference in society, focusing on three major areas including scientific research, inclusive beauty and climate action.

Since 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science programme has worked to empower more female scientists to overcome barriers to progression and participate in solving great challenges for the benefit of all.

For 25 years, it has supported more than 4,100 women researchers from over 110 countries, rewarding scientific excellence and inspiring younger generations of women to pursue science as a career.

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