Beverly Liavoga is a Research Assistant at the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), located in her home country of Kenya. In 2012 she was selected as a Borlaug LEAP Fellow from the University of Nairobi in partnership with Oklahoma State University. Ms. Liavoga’s research investigated farmer’s fields in the arid/semi-arid eastern province of Kenya. The McKnight Foundation and Oklahoma State University helped fund her research and the University of Nairobi provided laboratory facilities for analytical analysis of soils and crop tissues. Ms. Liavoga’s US mentor was Dr. Jeffrey Vitale, who has over 15 years of experience working and conducting research in Africa and he helped support the modeling elements of her research.
Her research studied the climate change effects on growth and yield of sorghum and cassava in Yatta District, Kenya. Her research incorporated what farmers already had and combined them with basic farming systems to better their crops. Farmers often focused on crops that were not as adaptable, such as maize. She believed sorghum and cassava were very adaptable crops and that farmers could produce enough to sell in the market. Once farmers changed their mindset, they were able to improve the nutritional status of their families.
Ms. Liavoga is known for her clear and methodical strategy, demonstrated technical integrity, and leadership characteristics. She has a clear vision of leadership traits and indicated that true leaders should have a vision, know what they want to achieve, be assertive and disciplined, have integrity, and lead by example.