SciDev.Net, the online magazine started by Science and Nature magazines which is devoted to science and technology in developing nations, has an interview with Prudence Mutowo, winner of a 2006 L'Oreal UNESCO fellowship. I quote:
Question: What has the L'Oreal UNESCO fellowship award meant to you, and have you found the experience valuable?
Answer: It has been absolutely brilliant. At the end of the first year [of my PhD] I needed to find funding to be able to continue. That is when I applied for the fellowship, which paid for my tuition fees.
But it's not just the money — the networking has been amazing. It introduces you to other award winners across the world. In day-to-day science you only really come across the people in your lab, and it is really quite difficult to make contacts.
At the Women in Science week that the L'Oreal Foundation runs annually in Paris, the Laureates — women who have made an impact in science — are available for you to go and ask questions. It helps especially that they are women, who may have had to make similar decisions to you. You can really use them as a reference point.