icipe Director General among Bill Gates’ ‘heroes in the field’

icipe Director General among Bill Gates’ ‘heroes in the field’

Dr Segenet Kelemu, the Director General of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (www.icipe.org) is one of five ‘heroes in the field’ selected by leading philanthropist, Bill Gates, for using their talents to fight poverty, hunger and disease, while providing opportunities for the next generation. Having taken over the helm of icipe in November 2013, Dr Kelemu is the first woman Chief Executive Officer to lead the Centre.

Dr Kelemu, and icipe by extension, is the only agriculture affiliated ‘hero’ in the series. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, icipe has a well-deserved global reputation not just as the only international institution in Africa working primarily on insects and related arthropods, but also as a centre of excellence in this field. For close to 50 years, icipe has maintained a commitment to producing world-class knowledge towards developing and disseminating environmentally friendly, accessible, affordable and easy-to-use solutions for communities most in need. icipe delivers its goals through four thematic areas: human health, animal health, plant health and environmental health. The synergies between these four themes present a unique framework to tackle the interlinked problems of poverty, poor health, low agricultural productivity and environmental degradation in a comprehensive manner. The four themes approach also provides a platform to build the capacity and leadership of African scientists in a cross-cutting manner while facilitating collaboration with hundreds of researchers and partners across Africa and the world.  Ultimately, icipe’s unique approach enables the effective transfer of technologies and strategies to end-users, thereby improving millions of lives in the continent. In addition, icipe receives up to 180 graduate students annually (working with 43 universities) from across Africa and elsewhere who are incorporated into the Centre’s research programmes, thus nurturing generations of highly trained scientists for the continent’s development.

The ‘heroes in the field’ have been featured in a Time magazine article (http://time.com/5087356/this-ethiopian-scientist-is-saving-lives-by-studying-insects/) guest edited by Mr Gates; a short video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rTidB-E32g&t=5s) that he has narrated; on his blog (https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/These-Heroes-Are-Saving-the-World); on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/gatesfoundation/videos/10156388914603072/), and through a series of tweets from Mr Gates: https://twitter.com/BillGates?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor.

The articles call attention to sacrifices, hard work and progress made by the individuals, their institutions and teams, as an example of many efforts to make the world a better place. The focus on Dr Kelemu highlights her journey from rural Ethiopia to graduate studies in the United States, and 15 years at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia, first as a Senior Scientist, and later Leader of Crop and Agroecosystem Health Management. Paying special attention to Dr Kelemu’s return to Africa in August 2007, the reports then spotlight her leadership of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub and icipe. The stories also discuss Dr Kelemu’s own vision for science-led development in Africa, and her optimism and commitment regarding the continent.

Notes for Editors

icipe’s mission is to help alleviate poverty, ensure food security, and improve the overall health status of peoples of the tropics, by developing and extending management tools and strategies for harmful and useful arthropods, while preserving the natural resource base through research and capacity building. For further information visit: www.icipe.org

Further information on Dr Segenet Kelemu: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segenet_Kelemu

Media Contacts: Liz Ng’ang’a – Lnganga@icipe.org