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Modesta Nnedinso Abugu: Update

With the 2016 cohort of Global Leadership Fellows poised to convene, we took this opportunity to catch up with 2015 Fellow Modesta Nnedinso. She shares how she’s engaged in global networking since returning home, where she’s a program assistant for OFAB Nigeria.

The Nigeria Alliance for Science has achieved a number of successes in the past year. Most recently. we organized an Aug. 17-18  training event on science communication, strategic planning and grassroots mobilization. Sponsored by OFAB Nigeria, it helped 105 participants from different academic backgrounds and various parts of the country gain capacity to promote communication activities on agricultural biotech in Nigeria.

Overall, we have recruited over 300 volunteers, ranging from university students and farmers’ associations to science communicators.

Due to our outreach, farmers are increasingly willing to key into our programs and are eager to get GM crops commercialized in Nigeria.

Alongside OFAB Nigeria, the Nigeria Alliance for Science has been acknowledged as a platform that promotes evidence based information sharing on agricultural biotechnology and GMOs.

Our social media engagement has increased with the growing interest among youths, especially graduates of biotechnology, who wish to contribute to communicating the science of genetic engineering.

We have made presentations in awareness events organized by OFAB to enhance a better understanding of agricultural biotechnology. During such events, we have been able to recruit volunteers to join the Alliance.

I have participated in meetings to review biosafety guidelines, and stakeholder meetings to draft strategies for the commercialization of GM crops.

Science ally Henry Kumba and I co-authored a newspaper article titled “towards a constructive debate on GMOs” that was published on July 22, 2016. It is intended to enhance public understanding and reframe the charged debate on GMOs. I have also written blog posts that were published on the YPARD and OFAB Nigeria websites.

Everything I learned in the Fellowship course has been useful and generally enhanced my communication skills. Most helpful was the use of storytelling and sharing personal stories to find common ground and  enhance decision making on agricultural biotechnology.

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