CORDIO East Africa personnel
Dr. David Obura is the coordinator for CORDIO East Africa, supporting activities in mainland Africa and Indian Ocean island states, including research, monitoring and capacity building of coral reefs and coastal ecosystems. A primary focus is the implications of global and local threats to coral reef health and their long term prospects and provision of socio-economic benefits. With the future of coral reefs in serious question, their role as an indicator of impending changes to other natural and human-dominated ecosystems is increasingly critical, to prepare for and mitigate future disasters. He received a PhD from the University of Miami in 1995 on coral bleaching and life history strategies, which has developed into a primary research interest in climate change, coral bleaching and resilience of coral reefs. Other areas of work include the development of participatory monitoring and research tools with artisanal fishers in East Africa, and remote-reef surveys such as in the Phoenix Islands, central Pacific, and in the central and western Indian Ocean. David chairs IUCN’s Coral Specialist Group and the Climate Change and Coral Reefs working group.
Dr. Melita Samoilys has been with CORDIO East Africa as a Director since 2007. She has worked in coral reef and fisheries research, management and conservation since the early 1980s, in East Africa, elsewhere in the Indian Ocean and also in the Pacific and Red Sea. She has also contributed to fisheries policy development in Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Somalia, and to regional marine policy development in the Western Indian Ocean. Her focus in CORDIO is improving artisanal fisheries management; research on fish behaviour and community structure to understand impacts on reefs; and training of managers, researchers and fishers. Her particular areas of experience are the reproductive biology of groupers and spawning aggregations, marine protected areas, community – based coastal management and alternative livelihoods as a means of addressing conservation problems. Melita’s MSc and PhD were from Queensland University and James Cook University in Australia. She is a member of IUCN’s Specialist Group on Groupers and Wrasses, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)’s Developing World Working Group and the Society for the Protection of Reef Fish Spawning Aggregations (SCRFA).
Sarah Ater has fond memories of the art room in Boma and though not quite what you’d consider an artist, an ardent consumer of the ‘art stuff’. A practicing environmental educator who has worked with students, teachers, women and fishermen; she’s a great believer in the potential of empowered people. Having finally come to terms with her role as a teacher (a title she disliked as there were too many teachers around her as she grew up) she has embraced both a teaching and learning role in EE exploring participatory education and outreach techniques. Being a keen user of thinking skills strategies Sarah’s research interests include investigating what people know about the environment and how they relate to that knowledge. A straight-talking, non-conventional person, she is keen to try out new ideas whether when implementing EE or playing with her hyperactive sons. She holds an MEd (International Development and Education) and Bachelor of Environmental Studies.
Majambo Jarumani holds an MSc in Applied Marine Science from University of Cape Town (South Africa). Prior to that he interned at CORDIO East Africa in 2007 under coral program working as an assistant to Dr. David Obura on New England Aquarium’s Global Marine Program’s Phoenix Islands project with the main duties being retrieving Sea Surface Temperature datasets from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch programme (remote sensing) and data analysis for the same. This gained him some knowledge in remote sensing and gave him a foundation into his interest in GIS and remote sensing. In November 2008 he assumed the position of Research Associate and worked on the Climate Change and Coral Reefs (CCCR) project under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Under the project he developed and implemented an Early Warning system for coral bleaching for the Western Indian Ocean, based on pilot activities in 2007 and 2008 by CORDIO East Africa, and CORDIO’s network of sites in the region. In October 2009 he received a fellowship from ReCoMap to attend a capacity building workshop on Methods and Applications of Ocean Colour Remote Sensing in Coastal and Regional Seas held in Zanzibar and facilitated by the Global Environment Monitoring Unit (GEM) of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) in partnership with the Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of Dar-Salaam. This provided him the theoretical basis of ocean colour satellite measurements, as well as training on key applications for the monitoring and management of the coastal zone. He is now more focused into the predictability of various climate parameters with interest in sea surface temperatures and specificity on coral ecosystem.
Brigid Mibei holds a Bachelor degree in Development studies of Makerere University, Uganda. She has knowledge in women empowerment programs such as adult literacy and has been involved in primary schools environmental outreach and also in coastal communities’ social economic surveys. She has received training in Result Based Monitoring and Evaluation from MSTCDC, Tanzania where she acquired skills and knowledge in the development of monitoring and evaluation tools for projects within non-governmental organizations. Her particular area of interest is women empowerment and gender issues related to climate change and adaptation and this is her greatest source of inspiration.
Stephen Oluoch is the coordinator of the SPIDER/CORDIO funded project "Empowering women self help groups in Kenya through ICT for better education and alternative livelihood opportunities". He holds a higher diploma in Project Planning and Management from Premese Africa Development Institute and a diploma in the same discipline at Kenya Institute of Management. Stephen has worked in multi-disciplinary projects for over 20 years with international, regional and local research and conservation organizations including the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in the Social Science Interface Research Unit (SSIRU), ICIPE/Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) and Interactive Socio-economic Research of Insect Pest Management (ISERIPM) and East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS). His current areas of focus include sustainable rural development, conservation, promotion of alternative livelihoods, capacity building using ICTs and adult literacy based on the Swedish model of adult learning with emphasis on adoption of e-learning approaches. The SPIDER project is intended to provide tools for communities along the Kenyan coast to improve their socio-economic status by embracing multiple livelihood opportunities and using the potential presented by ICTs to mitigate resource and economic shocks and uplift themselves from poverty, and play an active role in sustainable exploitation of marine resources.
Jane Atieno Nyanapah is currently a diploma part-time student at Mount Kenya University College, studying community development and social work. She holds certificates in community development and counselling, computer technology and bookkeeping at Mombasa Polytechnic University College and Pwani Commercial College respectively. Currently, she is involved in a SPIDER sponsored project in Kenya undertaking computer training sessions with the women groups and Beach Management Units. She is also involved in supporting community initiatives targeting promotion of alternative livelihood activities and environmental conservation campaigns.
Jason Wiltone Mwamidi is a graduate in International Freight Management. He was recruited in CORDIO EA Office Administration department in 2007 to assist in the library. He started working with accounts in early 2009. He assists staff with verifications and submission of fieldwork and activity expense accounts on a timely basis for compilation of financial reports and also in day-to-day office management. He's currently pursuing Certified Public Accountant (CPA) courses. Jason is a good poet and has love for nature. He likes relaxing in green and clean environment while enjoying soft music and cold breeze. Being at CORDIO shines a better day and is more cemented to work here. Day by day he feels “yesterdays are not like today”, and it’s been a source of inspiration in search for a better tomorrow.
Emma R. Bush (early 2013) is a voluntary international intern at CORDIO, joining us to study the extent of mosquito net fishing and its role in the livelihoods of artisanal fisher communities along the Kenyan coast. She is currently studying for an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College University, London and is particularly interested in sustainable natural resource use and the cross over between conservation and development in lower income countries. Emma likes spending most of her free time outdoors, climbing, swimming, surfing and hiking.