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African Women in Science (AWIS)

The African Great Lakes provide food, employment, and drinking water for millions of people. These lakes are in peril, threatening the people’s ability to realize their own livelihoods, justice, equity, democracy, and peace. To help arrest and reverse the environmental degradation of the Great Lakes and their basins, it is necessary to ensure that a capable and knowledgeable research and management community is active within the region, and that this community is sustainable in perpetuity.

Historically, women have been disenfranchised from work in the sciences, reducing the perspective, knowledge, and efforts of one major portion of our population. We are not going to advance very far with such limited perspectives trying to solve critical issues facing our natural resources.

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Thus, the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education is creating one of the most comprehensive, long-term, collaborative networks protecting freshwater resources in the world, and specifically focusing on enhancing the participation of women scientists.

To begin, ACARE and its partners are creating a fund to allow African students and early career women to attend the International Association for Great Lakes Research conference on an annual basis. 


This effort aims to enhance the network of African Great Lakes freshwater experts to include more women. Currently trends are male-oriented and there is room for vast improvement in inclusion of female researchers in the African scientific community specifically, but the global community in general.

Traveling from Nbita to Mfangano, Kenya
Support AWIS Campaign

We need your help to make this happen. Please consider supporting ACARE in general, or this endeavor specifically:


Each participant will be invited to attend the annual IAGLR Conference so that they may:

  • Increase the global view of freshwater resources, for themselves, and others

  • Gain input on their research, writing, scientific approaches, and other aspects of their work

  • Enhance their network of expertise to solve issues on their resource

  • Strengthen their future opportunities for research, careers, and knowledge

  • Offer solutions and input to other global freshwater experts 

Each accepted participant will:

  • Be flown to the annual IAGLR site (North America) from their closest major airport, to attend the IAGLR conference, June.

  • Give an oral presentation at a session of their choice. The purpose of this is to:

    • Receive feedback from experts in their field and about their research, studies, presentation styles

  • Be invited to attend a special social-networking event with academic, managerial, policy, and other members of the global freshwater-large lakes community. The purpose of this event is to:

    • Grow social networks, strategize future direction, and make professional connections

  • Have the opportunity to attend the annual Graduate Student Mixer

  • Potentially visit a regional research facility or university campus, furthering exposure to resources, approaches, and experts in the field.

[1] Support includes round-trip flight from the participants nearest airport, lodging, meals, visas, and associated costs from their home and return.

[2] To receive support for this project, participants must be accepted into a session for an 0ral presentation at the IAGLR conference. Participants can present in any session at IAGLR.

If you have any questions about this program, would like to attend the social-networking event, or would like be an event sponsor, please contact:

Jess Ives, ACARE Director of Operations & Steph Smith, Strategic Advisor

SDG Goal 5
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all."

SDG 5: Gender Equality was designed to achieve gender equality and to empower all women and girls. ACARE is working with our partners to ensure we answer the global call to enhance the participation of women in solving our most critical freshwater issues. Limited representation of women in science reduces the perspective, knowledge, and efforts of one portion of our population. 

The importance of women in science cannot be overstated. To learn more of these efforts, please see the World Health Organization's (WHO) and The Research on Disease and Poverty's report and the United Nation's SDG platform, describing SDG 5.

The Candidates

The Candidates

The below candidates and sponsors were from the IAGLR 2020 conference. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the conference was held virtually and many of the benefits of attending an in-person conference were not realized. ACARE is working with the 2020 Candidates and sponsors to  determine attendance at the 2021 IAGLR conference, to be held in  Houghton, Michigan, May 17-21, 2021.

The African Women in Science campaign is generously sponsored by the following individuals and organizations:


Ms. Gail Asper & 

Dr. Michael Paterson

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Great Lakes

Fishery Commission

Generous individual donations through our funding campaign

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Mrs. Madalitso Magombo Chatsika




Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural resources

Ph.D. Candidate

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Michigan State University, USA

Mrs. Madalitso Magombo Chatsika is a lecturer in Fish Biology and Fisheries Management at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, at the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Science where she is involved in teaching, research, consultancy and outreach. She is currently in her final year in her Ph.D. in fisheries and biology management at Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. As part of her PhD research, Madalitso studies the “Effects of climate change on fisheries of the Southeast arm of Lake Malawi" where she incorporated environmental variables like temperature and rainfall into the convectional Surplus Production Models to assess the impact of climate change on fisheries resources.

As a fisheries scientist, Madalitso has a passion to contribute towards natural resource management, food security, and poverty reduction in Malawi through sustainable use of fisheries resources. She sees herself as a person who can provide solutions to the problems that are being faced by the fisheries sector in Malawi.

Madalitso comes from a lake district called Mangochi in Malawi and is a wife and mother of three boys. She likes cooking, travelling, playing netball, and likes listening to traditional gospel music.

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Dr. Lulu Tunu Kaaya




University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Michigan State University, USA

Dr Lulu Kaaya is a Lecturer in Freshwater Ecology in the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Technology at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where she teaches limnology and watershed management, stream ecosystems concepts, and streams integrity assessment.

Dr Kaaya has been doing research in the rivers and lakes of Tanzania since 2005. Her research area focuses on the ecological role and functions of freshwater ecosystems in the management of water resources. She has been providing professional consultation on the integration of ecology into watershed management approaches, including environmental flow assessments, river health assessments, and establishment of integrated water resources management and development plans. 


Her PhD research culminated in her dissertation: “Biological Assessment Of Tropical Riverine Systems Using Aquatic Macroinvertebrates In Tanzania, East Africa”, which provided a detailed analysis of bio-assessment from the regional perspective. 

Dr Kaaya is a wife, mother of four, loves nature, swimming and running, gardening, and making new contacts. She is also a Rotarian.

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Ms. Hilda Nyaboke Mogaka



Assistant Research Scientist

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute

Hilda Nyaboke is an assistant research scientist working on Lake Victoria, Kenya with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI). She earned her Bachelors degree in Science from Moi University and is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy degree in Environmental Biology of the University of Eldoret, Kenya. She has successfully undergone trainings in Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Audit (University of Eldoret, Kenya); Marine Training (Flanders Marine Institute VLIZ-Belgium); Sampling strategies for inventory of Haplochromine cichlids in Lake Victoria (Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute-Mwanza, Tanzania); Best Management practices for sustainable and environmentally friendly fish production in Lake Victoria, Kenya (KMFRI-FARM AFRICA).


She has participated in more than five research projects including: The potential for aquaculture in Lake Victoria and implication for wild fisheries and fish commodity markets (National Science Foundation-grant); Haplochromine biodiversity assessment/inventory in Lake Victoria; and, Pollution monitoring within the fishing grounds of Lake Victoria. She is currently working on the Demarcation and protection of fish critical habitats/breeding grounds in Lake Victoria, Fish stock assessment and Catch Assessment Surveys and recreation fishing.

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Ms Edith Gondwe



Ph.D. Candidate

Michigan State University

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Edith Gondwe is an agribusiness expert, with applied application in fisheries research through her work as a Fellow at the New Partnerships for African Development-Regional Fish Node, Malawi. As a social scientist, she has a passion for applying her skills to improve the value that fish provide to the people who rely on them and contributing to the sustainable management of this resource. Her professional expertise includes marketing and profitability analysis of investments in fisheries, livelihood analysis of fishing communities, and value chain analysis. Over the past seven years, Ms. Gondwe has had the opportunity to work on Malawian national, and regional and global fisheries programs. During 2015-2017, she was part of a team that conducted studies on impact of informal trade in Africa, where she undertook consumer surveys to assess the drivers of consumption of fish in Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. At a global level, she has worked on the Hidden Harvest project by the Food and Agriculture Organization during 2018-2019, where she led a team of researchers in Malawi and Zambia in determining the value of the small-scale fisheries of the two countries.

Ms. Gondwe is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. Her research interests focus on drivers of food and nutrition security of fishing communities, effects of urbanization on fish consumption, and livelihood analysis of fishing communities. Overall, Ms. Gondwe is passionate about ensuring that conversations of sustainable fisheries management include the social and economic contexts which are so often lacking but have bearing on the fishery resources, fishing communities, and nations.

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Ms. Tuyisenge Janvière



Near-Plant Monitoring Specialist

Energy Development Corporation Limited


Near-Plant Monitoring Specialist

Lake Kivu Monitoring Programme

 MS Candidate

Ecology and Natural Resource Management

University of Bonn, Germany

Tuyisenge Janvière is Rwandan and interested in physical and biogeochemical processes in freshwater lakes. Since 2012, she has worked for the Lake Kivu Monitoring Programme as a scientist. She recognises that freshwater bodies are essential resources for human and habitat for a wide variety of organisms, understands that anthropogenic activities highly impact these systems and sees the need for their sustainable conservation and management. This led her to become passionate about aquatic environments and decided to pursue an MSc in Limnology and Wetland Management from UNESCO-IHE. Her aspiration is to become a limnologist who uses science for problem-solving.

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Ms. Christine Nyagaya Owino 



M.S. Candidate


Egerton Univeristy, Kenya

Christine Nyagaya Owino is a Kenyan, currently pursuing a master’s degree in Limnology at Egerton University Kenya and an undergraduate background in biotechnology. She is interested in biogeochemical processes in inland wetlands, their ecological and economic services and emissions of greenhouse gases from the wetlands. As a limnologist, she is passionate about sustainable use of wetlands since she understands important ecological roles especially in acting as nutrient sinks and purifying water (buffer zones) that enters our lakes. She is also interested in sustainable use of inland lakes since these lakes are primary source of water to some people. One of her major goals is to contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDG) number 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” and SDG 13: Climate Action, to take "urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.”

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Ms. Dorothy Birungi Namuyiga



Research Scientist

National Fisheries Resources Research Institute, Uganda

Ph.D. Candidate

Ecology and Natural Resource Management

University of Bonn, Germany

Dorothy Birungi Namuyiga is a Research Scientist at the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI)-National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) in Uganda. She is responsible for socio-economics fisheries and aquaculture research that involves both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the fisheries value chain, profitability analysis, evaluating demand and supply of fish and related products, monitoring, evaluation and learning regarding fish research for development interventions, development of market strategies and business models to enhance market access by small to large-scale actors. She is passionate about research for development especially towards the improvement of livelihoods and income security.

Born in Uganda, Dorothy holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Makerere University/University of Pretoria, a Bachelor of Agribusiness Management of Makerere University and currently pursuing a Doctorate specializing in Ecology and Natural Resource Management at the University Of Bonn, Germany.

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Ms. Chikondi Manyungwa



Chief Fisheries Officer - Planning

Malawi Department of Fisheries

Ph.D. Candidate

University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Ms. Chikondi Manyungwa is a Malawian working with the Department of Fisheries. Currently, pursuing a PhD at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her PhD research is titled “An investigation of women participation in fish value chain and value chain governance in Malawi: a case of Msaka on Lake Malawi and Kachulu on Lake Chilwa.” I am passionate about working and researching on gender in inland small scale fisheries because I want to bring impact in understanding women’s contributions in small scale fisheries. I have interest in improving policy and practices in ensuring that the contributions of women are accounted for in the fisheries statistics. Gender research can help to ensure that the conditions for achieving equitable and sustainable small scale fisheries are met.

Alliance for African Partnership

Michigan State University

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Ms. Mary Mutuli



MSc Candidate


Kisii University, Kenya

Mary Mutuli is a Master’s student in Fisheries at Kisii University in Kenya. She is a budding research scientist in Fisheries and Aquaculture with a keen interest in Freshwater ecosystems. She is attuned to understanding such ecosystems with the aim of ensuring sustainable exploitation and the use of information acquired from natural ecosystems to foster better aquaculture systems.

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Dr. Suzan Luyiga



Research Associate

School of Biosciences

Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries science 

College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University

Suzan Luyiga is a Ugandan Limnologist with the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences of Makerere University, having over 15 years of freshwater ecological research and teaching experience. She has a PhD (Zoology-Limnology) from Makerere University, and a MSc. (Environmental Science and Technology - Limnology and Wetland Ecosystems) from UNESCO-IHE. As a professional limnologist, Suzan has conducted research on various aspects of freshwater environmental management, focusing on great lakes ecosystems, particularly the anthropogenic impact on plankton communities, Environmental Impact Assessments and developing and optimizing integrated technologies to management of wastewater, such as constructed wetlands and wastewater reuse for food production to prevent water pollution.


She is passionate about freshwater environmental sustainability, and this has led her to acquire skills including: designing and implementing ESIA activities; developing and implementing community awareness programs; collecting information and developing of technical and training manuals; teamwork building and management; and, networking with multi-disciplinary and inter-cultural groups.

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Ms. Cecilia M. Githukia



Research Scientist

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute

Aquaculture Division

Ph.D. Candidate

Kisii University, Kenya

Ms. Cecilia Githukia is a Research Scientist at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) in the Aquaculture division and a PhD candidate at Kisii University, studying Fisheries Management. She holds an MSc Degree in Aquaculture and BSc in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, both from Moi University in Kenya, and a certificate in International Post Graduate in Limnology from IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands.

Ms. Githukia has been engaged in research activities in fish nutrition, fisheries and aquaculture socio-economics and gender studies. She has co-authored nine books and book chapters, nine papers in peer reviewed journals, and several technical reports. In the course of her research work in KMFRI, she has collaborated in the development and implementation of several internationally funded projects including the Lake Victoria Comprehensive Research Development Project and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa.

Currently, she is involved in gender studies with an emphasis on improving opportunities for both men and women for enhanced participation and benefits in the fisheries value chain geared towards achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2: Zero Hunger and 5: Gender Equality.

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