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. Kevin O. Obiero - Chair

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.

Ms. Joyce Ikwaput Nyeko

Acting Director

Fisheries Resources Management

Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda 

Entebbe, Uganda

Ms. Joyce Ikwaput Nyeko is the Acting Director for Fisheries Resources in the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. She is a member of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization’s Senior Officials and of the Regional Working Groups on Co-management, Regional Plan of Action-Capacity, & Frame Surveys. Since 2015, Joyce has been the Commissioner for Aquaculture Management and Development and in 2019 became the chair/lead of the Lake Edward-Albert Advisory Group.  


Joyce has a distinguished career spanning over 30 years in fisheries management and research on Uganda’s aquatic ecosystems, including on Lakes Victoria, Edward, Albert, and other inland lakes and rivers. She has authored and co-authored publications on fisheries management, the Nile perch fishery, and other monitoring and management functions. Joyce has been instrumental in the investigation and development of co-management institutions on Lake Victoria to help the world’s second largest lake manage its critical fisheries.   


Joyce earned a M.SC in Fisheries Policy and Planning from the University of Hull, UK; held a fellowship from the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme in Iceland, and rounded out her expertise through various post-graduate short courses.  Her valuable knowledge and skills help develop fisheries research and management on the African Great Lakes and will assist ACARE in informing its core programmes. For decades, Joyce has provided mentorship to young African women in the fields of fisheries and aquaculture leading to improved livelihoods and gender equity, which is highly prioritized at ACARE.

Professor Emmanuel Kaunda

Director- World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence in Aquaculture and Fisheries

Professor - Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR)

Lilongwe, Malawi

Professor Emmanuel Kaunda is currently the Director of the World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Aquaculture Fisheries (AQuaFISH) at LUANAR. His research is on both aquaculture and fisheries. He has, and is still supervising, more than 25 MSc and PhD students in Aquaculture and Fisheries and has more than 60 publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings. At LUANAR, Professor Kaunda was the first Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University, Vice Principal of the then Bunda College, and Head of Aquaculture and Fisheries.

Within the region, he has contributed immensely to the development of the Pan African Fisheries Reform Strategy (PAFRS) having coordinated the Aquaculture Working Group of the New Partnerships for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Pan African Fisheries project (PAF) which generated knowledge for the PAFRS.

He has received two notable awards in recognition of his contribution to Aquaculture development and Science in general. In 2013, he received the Impact Research and Science in Africa (IMPRESSA) Award; and was the 2011 Aquaculturist of the Year by the Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa (AASA).

He is also Technical Coordinator of the NEPAD SANBio Regional Fish Node and Coordinator of Afri-Fishnet, a network of African Fisheries Experts in Africa. He is also the President of the Pan African Fish and Fisheries Association (PAFFA) and  a Robin L. Welcomme Fellow at Michigan State University in USA.

Professor Kaunda obtained his PhD in Fisheries Science from Rhodes University in 2001.

Dr. Kenneth Irvine

Professor of Aquatic Ecosystems

Delft, The Netherlands

Dr. Kenneth Irvine obtained his PhD in 1987 from the University of East Anglia (UK ) working on shallow lake ecology, after which he shifted scales to study ecosystem structure and secondary production of Lake Malawi/Nyasa/Niassa. In 1994 he moved to Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and spent a decade-and-a-half grappling with the intricacies of policy and ecology to support the implementation of European water policy, while still running and being involved in projects on the African Great Lakes. In 2011 he moved to IHE Delft Institute of Water Education in the Netherlands to head up the Aquatic Ecosystems Group and engage more fully in research and teaching to support capacity development. Recent projects on the Great Lakes includes work on Lake Victoria and local fisheries management. 

Dr Kayanda.jpg

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. 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.


Dr. Matt McCandless

Senior Director, Fresh Water, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) 

Executive Director, IISD-Experimental Lakes Area

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Matthew McCandless has been the executive director of IISD Experimental Lakes Area Inc. (IISD-ELA) since its founding in April 2014. Prior to the transfer of the Experimental Lakes Area, Matt managed the negotiations and transition arrangements leading to the agreements that saw the Experimental Lakes Area become a part of the IISD. His primary responsibilities are with the administration and operation of the world’s only whole-ecosystem freshwater research facility. This involves oversight of research and field station operations, administration, human resources, and fundraising.

Matt’s research interests are primarily in the areas of hydrology, water quality and bioprocessing–often combining both policy and technical research. Since joining IISD in 2006, Matt has been involved in dozens of projects on water, agriculture and bioindustrial development in Canada, Africa (East, West, and Central), Asia (India and Bangladesh) and Latin America.


Prior to joining IISD, Matt worked in the private sector as a biosystems engineer on projects related to hydrology, bioenergy, water management in Canada and India. He has a Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from the University of Manitoba, a Master of Natural Resources Management from the University of Manitoba and and a Bachelor of Biological Engineering from Dalhousie University. Matt is a registered professional engineer.


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 


Pierre-Denis Plisnier

Monitoring Programme Coordinator

Liege, Belgium


Dimple Roy

IISD-ACARE Liaison and Advisor

Winnipeg, MB


Ross Shaw

Fundraising Associate &

Administrative Assistant

Ann Arbor, MI


Stephanie Smith

Strategic Advisor

Chicago, IL



Ted Lawrence

Co-founder, Executive Director

Ann Arbor, MI




Advisory Groups

Communications Facilitator

Kisumu, Kenya

East Africa



African Women in Science Coordinator

Jinja, Uganda

East Africa

Ben Flavin

Co-founder, Legal Counsel

New York, NY


Jess Ives


Director of Operations

Ypsilanti, MI


Lulu Tunu Kaaya

African Women in Science Advisor

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

East Africa


Ann Arbor (Secretariat)
2200 Commonwealth Blvd.
Ste. 100
Ann Arbor, MI 48105