Bathsheba Bryant-Tarpeh: Young women of color have a unique perspective that should be valued, and we deserve a seat at the table

What is the biggest challenge you face in your line of work/study?


I had tremendous support for my research from the regional Ministry of Food and Agriculture, my research mentors, and the chiefs and communities in which I worked while in Ghana.

I believe overall the biggest challenge in obtaining a doctoral degree is the pure intellectual grit you have to possess to maintain focus.  There are so many steps in the journey to a doctorate and it can be daunting.

So for me, it was important to choose a topic that I was passionate about and an area I could actually see myself working in the future.  My faith and spirituality as a Christian have been so important in keeping me grounded.

Why is it important to have young women like yourself on the front lines of the conversation on food security, nutrition and agribusiness?


I believe young women of color have a unique perspective that should be valued in the policy arena and we deserve a seat at the table.

Black women are overwhelmingly underrepresented in the spaces where many of the most impactful macro-level decisions are being made that affects all of our lives when it comes to the world food system and nutrition.

I feel it is necessary that we should increase our representation by obtaining relevant advanced degrees, and/or getting jobs in both the public and private sectors, and even begin our own foundations and NGOs.

What incentives can be offered to young women to encourage them to move into spaces of decision-making, innovation, advocacy, and business?


I believe to be in this work has to be at the most foundational level a calling and a passion.  The incentive is to help others and your community to a pathway for improved access to quality and nutritious food, health and have a role in the policies that surround these social, environmental and human rights issues.

Knowing that your work in your chosen field, the grassroots, to innovation and technology and policy, could have a positive impact on people’s lives, whether in the short or long-term has to be one’s motivation.

Who would you say is your role model?


My mother and my grandmother, whom I always called Madea, are two strong women that have both taught me so much about the importance of education, our history, and community, and how to reach for my goals.

From a professional level, I look towards so many Black women that have had amazing and influential careers fighting for civil rights and breaking down barriers for inspiration.

But someone that truly inspires me within the field of international development and food security would be, Dr. Ertharin Cousin, former U.S. Ambassador and Director of the United Nations World Food Programme.

I admire her work and her personal story and how she has achieved so much in her career and rose to a key platform of decision-making and influence in terms of global food security and nutrition.

What have been the highlights of meeting and working with the women of WANDA?


I have admired Tambra’s work and vision since the beginning and it is a joy to see WANDA continue to grow, evolve and reach the people.

I believe the philosophy of “food as medicine” and connecting to our roots as people of African descent is so critical in today’s climate with the surge in injustices experienced by Black people around the world.

Women have historically and culturally been the backbone of the African family and community.  WANDA provides a platform for women to continue to carry the torch of our ancestors to advocate, teach and uplift.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

About Tambra Raye-Stevenson

Honored as the 2014 "Nutrition Hero" by Food & Nutrition Magazine, Tambra Raye is an inspiring speaker, nutrition justice advocate, and consultant. Recently she was selected as the 2014 finalist for National Geographic Traveler Magazine's Traveler of the Year for her passion of finding her Fulani roots in Niger and Nigeria and purpose of promoting health of African heritage foods. As the founder of NATIVSOL KITCHEN, she was shortlisted by the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation as a Young African Leaders Summit delegate in Ethiopia during the African Union Summit to speak on youth employment in Africa related to food security and agriculture.

Coming from a family of healers, she develops cultural and faith-based nutrition and wellness programs. She is the founding member of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs’ Health Education Planning Committee. She serves on the Mission Committee for the American Heart Association and community leadership board for the American Diabetes Association. She created the culinary ministry at Saint Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church to address the intersection of faith, food and justice and teaches faith-based nutrition.

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