2016 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application
by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec
Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu, Dr. Andrew Mude, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, hamjambo. Habari zenu?
Thank you for inviting me here today. It’s always rewarding to spend time talking with and learning from researchers who are passionate about their disciplines.
Today we are here to honor Dr. Andrew Mude, recipient of the 2016 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application. I believe Dr. Mude’s Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) program is a remarkable example of the innovative, market-driven solutions that develop when countries invest in quality education for young people. After completing his primary and secondary education, Dr. Mude went on to study at some of the best universities in the United States — He completed his Bachelors at Gettysburg College and received a PhD in Economics from the prestigious Cornell University. And most recently, he participated in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University.
Every year, more than 4,000 Kenyans, like Dr. Mude, study at universities in the United States. During President Obama’s historic visit to Kenya last year, he noted the importance of such opportunities for young people when he said, “The most urgent task facing Africa today, and for decades ahead, is creating opportunities for this next generation.”
So, in addition to helping students find college and scholarship programs in the United States, our Embassy partners with the Kenyan government to support and promote education for all Kenyans. Our TUSOME program helps young children improve their reading skills, while the Wings to Fly program gives scholarships to more than 2,500 disadvantaged students to complete high school and college. President Obama’s newest program, the Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI, aims to empower the next generation of young people with professional skills and invaluable networks to influence business, civil society, and the public sector in their home countries.
I am particularly proud of the work that we have done to train and support Kenyan farmers, pastoralists, and agricultural researchers. Through the Cochran and Borlaug Fellowship Programs, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invested more than $1 million to train nearly 100 Kenyans. Over the last two decades, Kenyans have learned invaluable skills to develop their livestock, including risk analysis in animal health, animal disease surveillance, meat and poultry inspection, and dairy breeding and herd management. Today, we are honored to have several alumni of these training programs here with us.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported research and worked with other assistance agencies to reduce poverty among pastoralists in Northern Kenya since 2003. In 2008, alongside the USAID BASIS Collaborative Research Support Program, Dr. Andrew Mude and his team from ILRI, decided to pilot an innovative insurance solution. They developed the IBLI program to keep pastoralists from slipping into destitution as a result of drought induced livestock deaths. Since then, Dr. Mude has been the steadfast champion of this program in Kenya and Ethiopia.
In 2015, the Government of Kenya adopted Dr. Mude’s pioneering idea and began rolling out larger-scale livestock insurance programs in the arid and semi-arid lands of Northern Kenya.
Kenya’s future depends on innovators like Dr. Mude. We are proud of how Dr. Mude has used his education to help pastoral communities manage the risks of drought, livestock diseases, and floods. So, on behalf of the United States government, I want to say congratulations Dr. Mude!
The United States will continue to support and partner with the government of Kenya to provide similar opportunities for Kenyans to explore their passions, create linkages, and develop novel solutions to the challenges of our time.
Pamoja tusonge mbele.