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< Our Work < Programs < African Women in Science Program < 2023

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African Women in Science (AWIS)

2024 Program

The African Women in Science program is a transformative initiative for early-career African women scientists from the African Great Lakes region. The program aims to build capacity and offer mentorship opportunities for African women scientists who are actively engaged in African Great Lakes and freshwater research.

Participants will be a part of a 11-month cohort of African women scientists and become the next generation of African women scientists catalyzing positive change in the African Great Lakes.


2024 Cohort


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Fisheries and Aquaculture Scientist

Makerere University

Kampala, Uganda

Claire is a Fisheries and Aquaculture scientist from Makerere University working on Lake Victoria in Uganda in the aquaculture sector. She is passionate about the sustainable use of fishery resources and improving livelihoods of women and people in fishing communities. She trains women in rural districts around Lake Victoria in cage fish farming practices and has been part of a United Nations women fish farming project in Bugiri district on Lake Victoria. Here, with a team of experts, Claire has trained 1,400 women in cage fish farming. Claire has mentored over 140 of these women to becoming potential managers of their fish farming project by offering them knowledge and skills in fish feeding, sampling, data analysis, record keeping, harvesting, postharvest losses handling, marketing and value addition. Claire also trains fishing communities in sexual reproductive health and offers business development services to fish value chain actors on Lake Victoria.


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Ph.D. Candidate

Makerere University

Kampala, Uganda

Christine Atuhaire, a PhD student at Makerere University, specializes in remote sensing of plastic litter in freshwater bodies. Her research uses Geomatics techniques and Satellite Remote Sensing to study plastic pollution dynamics. Dedicated to environmental science, her work aims to contribute to sustainability by providing practical solutions for cleaner water bodies. Christine's commitment to conservation and management of aquatic ecosystems is evident, reflecting her passion for ensuring sustainable use of vital resources. Her research not only enriches academic discourse but also holds promise for real-world applications in improving water body health.


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Ph.D. Candidate

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

Jinja, Uganda

Basooma Rose, a female aquatic scientist, boasts vast experience in fisheries, aquaculture management, and environmental conservation. She is currently a PhD Candidate at the Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU in Viena). Employing molecular techniques, her research monitors the ecological health of Ugandan wadeable streams and rivers with in the Lake Victoria Basin. Rose's dedication to aquatic ecosystem conservation is palpable, driven by her fervor for ensuring sustainable resource utilization. Her research urges collaboration among scientists, policymakers, and environmental practitioners to enhance molecular approaches for freshwater biomonitoring in the region, emphasizing the importance of collective action for environmental stewardship.


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Volunteer, Clean Shore Great Lakes

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Happiness Beda is a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam earning a bachelor's degree in Aquatic Science and Fisheries Technology. She is currently volunteering in a project called Clean Shore Great Lakes conducted at the three African Great Lakes ( L. Victoria, L. Nyasa and L. Tanganyika). This project aims to reduce plastic litter in the African Great Lakes, promotes citizen science and circular economy. She is passionate about the conservation and management of aquatic resources for sustainable development. As a member of a youth-led organization; Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA), she has been participating in several beach clean-ups even and also engaging in mangrove and coral reef restoration to ensure the conservation of these resources. She focuses on research concerning plastic pollution in Aquatic water bodies and its effects on aquatic species. She believes that one day she will be one of the leading women in addressing plastic pollution in the Aquatic ecosystem.


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MSc Candidate

Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Lilongwe, Malawi

University of Zambia, College of Veterinary Sciences

Lusaka, Zambia

Kezzy, is a promising scientist and emerging researcher from Zambia, earned her Bachelor's degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture from Copperbelt University in Zambia. Currently, she is pursuing a Master's degree in Aquatic Animal Health and Ecosystem Management at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, conducting her research at the University of Zambia, College of Veterinary Sciences. Kezzy's academic journey is fueled by her deep passion for ensuring the sustainability of freshwater environments and the sustainable utilization of aquatic resources. Her focus at the MSc level revolves around investigating heavy metal pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Additionally, she is delving into other critical research areas, including the examination of macroplastics and microplastics in Lake Tanganyika and Kafue River. Kezzy's multifaceted research interests underscore her dedication to addressing environmental challenges and promoting the well-being of aquatic ecosystems. As a fisheries and aquaculture scientist, Kezzy aims to help find solutions for issues like aquatic pollution, the repercussions of climate change, over-exploitation, the use of illegal, unregulated, and unreported gear, habitat degradation, invasive species leading to the extinction of aquatic biodiversity, and deterioration of aquatic environments. She seeks to make meaningful contributions to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 12, 13, and 14.


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Research Associate

University of Rhode Island

Restoring Fisheries for Sustainable Livelihoods in Lake Malawi Project

Lilongwe, Malawi

Mbumba Chalira is a Fisheries conservation researcher in Lake Malawi with the USAID funded Restoring Fisheries for Sustainable Livelihoods Project in Malawi (REFRESH). She is also in her final year masters in biodiversity informatics at the Malawi University of Science and Technology. Her professional journey is fueled by a profound interest in leveraging technology for conservation. Her deep interest in the intersection of technology and environmental research compelled her to assess the effectiveness of remotely operated underwater vehicles as novel tools for assessing fish biodiversity in Lake Malawi.


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Volunteer, Clean Shore Great Lakes

Mzuzu University

Mzuzu, Malawi

Mwayi Chirwa, a dedicated and passionate Malawian zoologist, has successfully completed a master's program at Makerere University, focusing on the intricate dynamics of aquatic ecosystems and communities. My research centers on the “Power dynamics and marketing efficiency of silver cyprinids in Lake Victoria, Uganda”, contributing valuable understandings for the sustainable management of fisheries and the conservation of aquatic biodiversity. By delving into the complexities of power dynamics within the ecosystem and the associated value chain, Mwayi aims to enhance our understanding of the delicate balance governing interactions between actors along Lake Victoria's value chain. She is currently affiliated with Mzuzu University where she is actively engaged in fisheries and socio-economic studies. Her ultimate goal is to become a productive female fisheries scientist the sector can rely on. Mwayi firmly believes in the transformative power of education, particularly for girls, as educating a girl child has the potential to positively impact the entire nation.




Aquaculture Specialist / MSc Candidate

Kenya Fisheries Services / Maseno University

Maseno, Kenya

Alice Hamisi is an aquaculture specialist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture from Maseno University, Kenya and currently undertaking a Master's in Aquaculture from the same University. Her research work focuses on macroinvertebrates as bioindicator organisms to monitor the environmental status of Lake Victoria majorly focusing on the current increase in cage aquaculture. She aims to ensure proper management and sustainable utilization and conservation of the African Great Lakes resources for future generations, by championing the adoption of alternative means of producing fish i.e. land-based aquaculture. Alice is also a program manager and an enthusiast in matters of gender mainstreaming and community mobilization and enjoys working closely with women and youths on pursuing alternative means to ensure a change in the food systems.


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MSc Candidate

Aquatic Ecosystem and Environmental Management

Addis Ababa University

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Yordanos Getachew, a young scientist from Ethiopia, holds a background in Applied Biology and a Master's in Aquatic Ecosystem and Environmental Management from Addis Ababa University. Her research is focused on limnological, biological, and ecological modeling for Lake Tinshu Abaya. Passionate about conservation and sustainability, she aspires to make a significant impact in these areas. With a strong dedication to preserving natural resources and biodiversity, Yordanos is committed to creating a more sustainable future.


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Ph.D. Candidate

Official University of Bukavu

Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Brigitte Mongane is a Congolese scientist and an avid researcher who is currently pursuing a doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Official University of Bukavu. Her research study centers on the exploitation of methane gas in Lake Kivu and its potential impact on the socio-economic development of the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries in the African Great Lakes Region. She has worked on projects that study effective ways of preventing water-borne diseases affecting riverside communities on Lake Kivu. Her areas of interest are the intersection of the lake’s natural resources with health promotion, sustainable management, and conservation of the environment and the socio-economic welfare of the region. She is passionate about women in STEM, the empowerment of young African women in science, and finding lasting solutions for the crisis in the pharmaceutical industry in her country.




Research Associate

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute

Kisumu, Kenya

Julia Obuya is an Environmental and Fisheries scientist with a strong commitment to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. She is currently affiliated with Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute where she is actively engaged in fisheries and socioeconomic studies of Lake Victoria. Her research interest focusses on the threats posed by cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cHABs) in freshwater ecosystems. She is presently implementing an NSF-funded project to monitor cHABs in Lake Victoria. The project’s primary objective is to address cHABs in Lake Victoria and other freshwater systems, contributing to the co-creation of effective solutions to combat water quality challenges within the African Great Lakes. Julia has a master’s degree in Fisheries science and is passionate about research communication and the mobilization of riparian communities for positive social change.


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Lecturer and Researcher

University of Dodoma

Dodoma, Tanzania

Ph.D. Candidate

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

As, Norway

Aziza Hassan Said, a Lecturer and aquatic researcher at the University of Dodoma in Tanzania, is pursuing a PhD at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, specializing in Aquatic Toxicology. With prior experience as a Fisheries Officer with the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, her research focuses on sustainable fisheries and the effects of pollutants on aquatic organisms and ecosystems. Through her Ph.D. studies, Aziza explores strategies to mitigate these impacts. Her blend of academic expertise and practical experience positions her as a vital contributor to aquatic research, fisheries management, and environmental conservation, showcasing her commitment to sustainable resource management and scientific advancement.


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Hydrology & Aquatic Scientist / MSc Candidate

Africa Center of Excellence for Water Management

Addis Ababa University

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Iradukunda Valentine is a Hydrologist and Aquatic Scientist. She has a bachelor's degree in Water and Environmental Engineering from the University of Rwanda and is pursuing a Master of Science in Water Management (Hydrology and Water Resources) at the Africa Center of Excellence for Water Management, Addis Ababa University; Ethiopia. Her research uses Remote Sensing, Climate, and Hydrological models to model river hydrological responses to Land Use Land Cover, and Climate Change. Valentine believes that healthy aquatic ecosystems and improved water management can lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide protection against climate hazards. Her ambition is to become a productive woman scientist who makes an impact in protecting our planet.


2024 AWIS Sponsors


The African Women in Science (AWIS) program is actively seeking partnerships. The success of AWIS relies on the support of donors who recognize what investing in the next generation of freshwater experts means for our global freshwater future. Together, we can answer the global call to enhance the participation of women in solving our most critical freshwater issues. To support the AWIS program please reach

Ted Lawrence, IISD-ACARE Executive Director: 

The African Women in Science (AWIS) program is a joint program through the International Institute of Sustainable Development and the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education.

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