African Center for aquatic research and education



Collaborating with freshwater experts around the world to address the challenges on the African Great Lakes


A world where millions of Africans can depend on healthy African Great Lakes for food, clean water, and reliable employment, supporting a climate of justice, equity, democracy, and peace.


ACARE creates highly collaborative systems that strengthen science to positively affect policy and management for healthy African Great Lakes.

Fulfilling ACARE's vision and accomplish its mission, ACARE's highly collaborative center of excellence is dedicated to:

1. increasing local capacity of Africa’s next generation of freshwater scientists, managers, and decision-makes through courses, training, and experiential education on African Great Lakes

2. developing a perpetual collaborative process by which key stakeholders come together to positively affect policy and management on Africa's Great Lakes.

To address the myriad issues that threaten these and other freshwater resources, ACARE will empower and coordinate the current and next generations of freshwater experts using principles for good practice by using a global cohort of partners to initiate a world class educational capacity building program and coordinating research around the African Great Lakes.


ACARE will enhance global collaboration between freshwater learning institutions, organizations, and entities to address the challenges facing all freshwater resources with a particular focus on the African Great Lakes.


ACARE will provide an innovative learning experience for young freshwater experts in the African Great Lakes riparian countries, coupled with exposure to innovative research and global partnerships. 


ACARE will strengthen and coordinate the understanding of the impacts of biological, physical, chemical, economic, political, social, and technical factors on the African freshwater resources.





The calls for organizations such as ACARE have been occurring for decades. In 2005, the African Ministers of Water, the International Lake Environment Committee, and the Commission for Africa, all urged for the creation of centers of excellence to address African issues, especially focusing on freshwater resources.


In 2006, ACARE was first conceived from these calls by Dr. Eric Odada, University of Nairobi, Dr. Robert Hecky (then of United Nations University, Chair, African Great Lakes), and Dr. Ralph Daley (then Director of United Nations University-Institute for Water Environment and Health). Due to the economic, political, and physical climate of 2006, when ACARE was emerging as a new institution, the project had to be put on hold.


TheNew Beginning

Calls to action never ceased and, in fact, were newly reinvigorated with highly collaborative movements during 2016 and 2017, elevating the significance of freshwater resources throughout the world, and thus the current push for ACARE.

In July of 2017, ACARE was formally reborn by a group of motivated experts from Africa, Europe, and North America. 


Recognizing that no one organization or institution can address the challenges that our global freshwater resources face, ACARE is partnering with others to leverage the combined skills, assets, technologies and resources of public, private and nonprofit entities to deliver sustainable instruction and research. 

ACARE will specifically provide an innovative learning experience for young freshwater experts in the African Great Lakes riparian countries: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. In so doing, it will ensure that talented African scientists and aquatic resource managers develop hands-on skills and professional networks that will better allow them to remain in their fields within the region, and that indigenous institutional memory is retained and increasingly used to better manage the region’s aquatic resources.

The major goal of ACARE is to positively influence policy and management of freshwater resources in East Africa through sound science. The process which ACARE is developing is a long term collaborative process by which the scientific, academic, policy and management, and other interested community interact through a structured process to prioritize research and thus, harness the resources and knowledge to conduct research that results in useful, harmonized data and ideas to influence positive change. The entire focus of ACARE is to ensure that the ecological structure of the African Great Lakes, and those who depend on them are preserved and enhanced.  

With that, ACARE will serve as a regional focal point and clearinghouse for critical information on the state of the African Great Lakes—identifying research gaps to inform future research. ACARE will provide forums and resources for a global collaboration of freshwater academics, researchers, managers, and policy makers to both strengthen ACARE as an institution, and strengthen the global freshwater community as a whole.

Board of Directors


Dr. R.E. Hecky

Professor Emeritus

University of Minnesota-Duluth

Dr. Hecky has a wide range of experience representative of his long standing research interests in the biogeochemistry and productivity of freshwaters around the world. From 1998 to 2007 Dr. Hecky was a Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada as United Nations University Research Chair for the African Great Lakes. He was also the McKnight Endowed Presidential Professor in Lake Ecology at the Large Lakes Observatory and Biology Department of the University of Minnesota at Duluth, and a research scientist in the Canadian Government with at Environment Canada as well as Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He has received the G.E. Hutchinson Medal from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and the Rigler award from the Society of Canadian Limnologists.

In 2008, Dr. Hecky was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada. He has served on the editorial boards of several international journals and has authored and co-authored more than 195 scientific publications. In 2012 he became editor in chief for the Journal of Great Lakes Research. From 2014 and continuing he has served on the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission. He has also been a Canadian Commissioner of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission since 2004. 

Dr. Hecky is one of the original founders of ACARE.


Dr. Robert Kayanda

Director, Fisheries Resource Monitoring and Research

Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization

Jinja, Uganda

Dr. Robert Kayanda, holds a PhD in Fisheries acoustic, ecology and management from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and MSc in International Fisheries Management from the University of Tromsoe, Norway. He is currently working with Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization as an officer in charge of Fisheries Resource Monitoring and Research. His areas of expertise are fish stock assessment, ecology and management. He has participated in in a number of multi-national acoustic and bottom trawl surveys on both marine and freshwater. He has participated in a number of surveys to map fish distribution in Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria. He has published his work in a number of media such scientific articles, book chapters and technical reports among others. 


Dr. Kevin O. Obiero

Centre Director

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute

Sagana, Kenya

Dr. Obiero earned his M.Sc. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from Moi University, Kenya. He received his PhD at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Austria, within the framework of the STRECAFISH project aimed at building capacity in higher education and research institutions towards improved response of education to the fast moving aquaculture and fisheries industry in Eastern Africa.

Kevin has a distinguished career as a researcher on Lakes Victoria and Turkana. Throughout his academic training and over 10 years working experience, he has participated in several international research projects. Within these multidisciplinary research programmes, he has authored and co-authored more than 20 scientific publications. In September 2016, Dr Obiero was appointed KMFRI Sagana Centre Director. On a part-time and voluntary basis, he teaches and supervises Diploma and undergraduate student’s courses and facilitates learning in leadership development and project management.

Dr. Howard Stein

Professor School of Public Health & Department of Afroamerican and African Studies

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Dr. Stein is a Professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS) and the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan. He is a development economist educated in Canada, the US and the UK who has taught in both Asia and Africa. He is the editor or author of more than a dozen books and edited collections. His research has focused on foreign aid, finance and development, structural adjustment and neoliberaism, health, gender and development, institutional transformation and development, industrial policy, export processing zones, agricultural policy, and poverty and rural property right transformation.



Jess Ives

Co-founder, Treasurer

Lake Erie Millennium Network Coordinator at the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario.

Ben Flavin

Co-founder, Legal Counsel

Finder Novick Kerrigan LLP

New York, NY

Michèle Laduc-Lapierre

Co-founder, IT Advisor 


Jess Ives


Director of Operations

University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario.

Ben Flavin

Co-founder, Legal Counsel

Finder Novick Kerrigan LLP

New York, NY

Stephanie Smith

Strategic Advisor


Michèle Laduc-Lapierre

Co-founder, IT Advisor 

Ross Shaw

Fundraising Associate


Administrative Assistant

Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Ann Arbor, MI

Ted Lawrence

Co-founder, Executive Director

Board of Directors 2017-2018

Ted earned his Ph.D. at the School for Environment and Sustainability*, University of Michigan. His research focused on governance and management of freshwater fishery resources, formal rules, and institutions. His work focused specifically at the community-level governance of co-management fishery institutions that were established on Lake Victoria, East Africa. 

Ted is also the Communications and Policy Specialist at the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), the bi-national, U.S./Canadian organization that coordinates fisheries research, controls the invasive sea lamprey, and facilitates cooperative fishery management among the state, provincial, tribal, and federal management agencies. The GLFC is a supporter and formal partner of ACARE.

Ted is one of the co-founders of ACARE and serves as its Executive Director.

*Formerly the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE)



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