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          Community Connections

          Planting seeds to initiate change

          Many friendships were forged, networks established, and conversations started at the Seeds of Change Conference where over 280 delegates from 45 countries explored bridging the gender gap in the agricultural sector.

          “The Conference was intentional by design to plant seeds of knowledge that can be nourished and fed for years to come,” said Professor Barbara Pamphilon of the University of Canberra’s Australian Institute for Sustainable Communities (AISC).

          Seeing gender in a new light was one of these seeds of knowledge that was planted with Maria Ogunnaike of Nigeria and Meghajit Sharma Shijagurumayum of India.

          Maria, Meghajit and 27 other delegates received scholarships to attend the Seeds of Change Conference, funded by the Australian Centre for International Research (ACIAR) and facilitated through AISC.

          “The scholarships were highly competitive with 100 people from low income countries applying to attend the conference,” said Barbara.

          Although he had a keen interest in gender issues before he attended the conference, Meghajit wasn’t aware of the many factors that influence gender research.

          “What was insignificant for me before has become significant,” Meghajit said.

          Meghajit is a PhD student at the University of Agricultural Science in Bangalore. He recently started his study focusing on the social dimensions of agriculture.

          The greatest impact for Meghajit was that it was his first time travelling outside of India, making it an exciting experience of many firsts.

          “The conference has provided the ideal platform to launch my career. The exposure and interaction that I have enjoyed and been part of has validated my studies and established pathways for collaboration in the future,” he said.

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          “Naila gave me such helpful advice on how to improve my methodologies and to be more inclusive of the various aspects that influence gender research.

          “It has sparked a desire to work hard and follow my dream to become an agricultural scientist so I can take up projects in my own state and focus on quantitative gender research,” he said.

          For Maria, a PhD student at the Federal University of Agriculture in Nigeria, this was her second international trip, but her first time in Australia.

          “It is a big deal to attend an international conference as a PhD student. The opportunity to present my work to leading experts in gender and agriculture has helped me to identify opportunities and build a network that will be a huge benefit to my career,” she said.

          Maria presented a poster on her study that examined the influence of women empowerment on nutritional outcomes of pre-school children in Southern Nigeria.

          “I received good feedback from my poster presentation, which will help shape the work I have been doing and plan to do in the future.”

          Maria and Meghajit formed many friendships at Seeds of Change that they say will continue to impact their lives professionally and personally.

          “We are heading home energised and ready to share our seeds of knowledge and initiate change in our own ‘back yards’,” said Meghajit.

          “Thank you for this life changing opportunity. It has opened doors and motivated us to forge ahead boldly and to tap into the expertise that exists beyond our countries’ borders,” said Maria.

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          Environmental Influence

          Krebs Lecture 2020: landscape transformation and ecosystem collapse

          The science says everything is interconnected, says ecologist and conservation biologist David Lindenmayer, headline speaker at UC’s 2020 Krebs Lecture – and if ever there was a time to listen to the science, it is now, in the wake of this summer’s fires.

          Ideas, Progress & the Future

          A time to listen

          For UC Professor of Urban Planning Barbara Norman, the devastating bushfire season has been a time of professional relevance and personal loss. Now, we need deep thought, genuine conversation and introspection, she says – so that as we move forward, we (re)build better.

          Environmental Influence

          Power in agriculture: Is gender identity the key?

          PhD candidate Jane Alver shares her thoughts on gender identity and its power in the agricultural sector ahead of the Seeds of Change Conference.

          Sport, Health & Wellbeing

          Getting to the ‘Art’ of Dementia: new research highlights benefits of art intervention

          University of Canberra researcher Nathan D’Cunha has devoted himself to bettering the lives of those living with dementia. His latest published study shines a light on how art gallery interventions can positively affect their mental and physical well-being.


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