FINCA supporter Ron DePauw of Swift Current, Saskatchewan recently received the prestigious Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum Mentor Award and then donated the monetary award to FINCA. The prize is named after Jeanie Borlaug Laube, the daughter of Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, known as “The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives” for his work in agriculture and its enormous impact on alleviating world hunger.
Jeanie Borlaug Laube started the Women in Triticum Award in 2010 to support early career women scientists working on wheat and to recognize excellence in the mentoring of women in the field. Triticum is a genus of cereal grasses that includes all the different types of wheat.
Ron and his wife Else Marie chose FINCA because they know that “women are disproportionately impacted by poverty, and are less likely to be formally banked than men” and because of FINCA’s focus on empowering women with the financial tools they need to change their lives and the lives of their children.
An accomplished research scientist, Ron authored over 200 scientific manuscripts and developed more than 60 wheat cultivars (plant varieties produced through selective breeding), which account for half of Canada’s wheat production, during his 40-year career at Canada’s Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Ron was elected to the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2015 and is the recipient of numerous awards.
Ron and Else Marie met while working in Kenya in the 1970s. They saw the positive impact of empowering women as a means of improving the lives of the entire family and community. In particular, he said that women who use microloans to invest in building small businesses “primarily re-invest in their family.”
Back in Canada, Ron continues his support of women, mentoring Dr. Arti Singh, Dr. Silvia Barcellos Rosa, and Dr. Samia Berraies in their research in wheat production. The three women—who themselves each received Women in Triticum Awards for their extraordinary work—each nominated Ron DePauw for the Women in Triticum Mentor Award.