Kenyan scholar wins coveted global award in UK

Kenya: Mary Abukutsa Onyango, a professor of Horticulture at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, has won the prestigious 2014 Edinburgh Medal. Abukutsa was announced winner during the 26th Edinburgh Medal ceremony and address on Thursday in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

The steely willed academician won the award following her unique combination of science and social contribution in her search for practical solutions to Africa’s double burden of malnutrition, under-nutrition and obesity through sustainable production and utilisation of leafy African indigenous vegetables.

As she rose to cheers and applause from some of the world’s best minds in science and technology at the 2014 Edinburgh International Science Festival, it was clear Prof Abukutsa’s research, spanning two decades, had finally got the attention and approval of the world. She dedicated the medal to Africans living with malnutrition and diet related illnesses.

“This is for all the people in the world who are struggling with malnutrition and those facing death as a result of hunger,” she said, upon accepting the award. Prof Abukutsa has dedicated her life and work to leafy traditional vegetables whose potential, she believes, can economically empower Kenya’s rural poor.

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