GMES and Africa Group of Women: The 1st Africa Women in EO Workshop was held on 16-18 March in Cotonou - Benin

In accordance with Africa's objectives regarding the inclusion of women and youth, the Programme convened this month in Cotonou a workshop that gathered around 40 African women working in EO-related fields.

16-18 March 2022, the Women in GMES and Africa 1st Workshop

The aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063 calls for "an Africa whose development is people-driven, building on the potential of Africans, especially women and youth, and caring for children." In Science women and girls are agents of change and, by extension, agents of change in the EO sector. 
However, as highlighted by many stakeholders in the various workshops and forums of the Phase 1 of GMES and Africa, Women working in EO-related fields are (largely) under represented in institutions and, training. 

In order to fill this gap, the 2nd phase of GMES and Africa has set a target of including 30% women in EO-related fields in the teams of the awarded consortia. In addition, the Program provided to create of a group called "Women in GMES & Africa" in order to stimulate knowledge sharing and best practices, their full involvement in the implementation of the GMES & Africa program and in earth observation initiatives and projects.

The workshop's objectives were
  • To foster dialogue and networking between African women evolving in EO-related fields by gathering representatives of these women working in different areas of activity (public institutions, private sector, academia…)
  • To give them the opportunity to highlight their needs in terms of EO science, Technology, Education and employment.
  • To create the group “Women in GMES & Africa” and to define a roadmap for its activities towards gender equality in education and career in the Earth observation field in Africa.  

Up to 37 skilled and talented women were invited to the workshop. The opening of the workshop was made by Ms. Catherine Ghyoot representatives of EU DG-INTPA. Mr. Andre Nonguierma  representing the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the GMES & Africa Coordinator, Dr. Tidiane Ouattara.

Dr. Ouattara stated that gender is a priority of Agenda 2063, and that the programme intends to increase the number of women in Science &Technology and position them in strategic places.  He delved into the philosophy, principles, and content of the programme, focusing on consortia, outputs, activities, and indicators.  The discussions that followed centered on common problems concerning gender in the EO sector and recommendations on how to address them, including:
  • Capitalize on the use of social media to promote the activities of the network.
  • Continuous training for women to help them catch up where they are lagging behind.
  • Creation of relevant EO tools and products that can foster girls’ participation.
  • Creation of work place environments in support of motherhood, e.g., baby-sitting, etc.
  • Cross fertilization of ideas and experience among women.
  • Each member of the Women in GMES and Africa network to adopt at least one girl for mentoring to create a chain of sustainability in women participation.
  • Financial solutions to be provided to help women earn good income through EO activities.
  • Governments and companies to employ more women. 
  • More visibility for women models in space and EO to attract younger ones.
  • The availability of data must be strengthened with the provision of access for girls. 

A Roadmap was prepared, with the identification of pillars: strategic planning and communication; capacity building; data management and dissemination; awareness creation, and entrepreneurship. The roadmap will be further refined by members. 

In line with AUC policies and procedures, the election of the Bureau for the network was conducted in two steps: 
  • election of 12 members from the 5 regions plus the diaspora.
  • election of the leadership, the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Deputy Secretary. 

Concluding statements by the elected President of the network, the GMES and Africa Coordinator, and representatives of the partners, recognized the fruitful results of the workshop and called for concerted action in realizing the aspirations of women.  


Group photo of the1st Workshop of The Women in GMES and Africa 

Workgroup 1, the 1st Workshop of The Women in GMES and Africa

Workgroup 2, the 1st Workshop of The Women in GMES and Africa


GMES and Africa is a joint Programme of the African Union Commission and the European Commission. 
GMES stands for Global Monitoring for Environment and Security. Born in Europe, a flagship space programme of the European Union Commission, GMES was later renamed Copernicus.

Having the same rational than the European Copernicus Program, GMES and Africa was devised to support African organizations, policy-makers and practitioners by supplying Earth Observation data, products, and services, to develop relevant operational and actionable information, to contribute to a better and sustainable management of natural resources while tackling climate change.  

More information about GMES and Africa,


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