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Jul 4, 2022
One Planet Laureate Candidate Wins USD 14,000 Grant to Assess and Inform Sustainable use of a Major Tanzanian River

Dr. Offoro Kimombo, an Environmental Scientist and a Lecturer at the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), was awarded a research grant of USD 14,000 to conduct an intensive assessment of environmental flow in the lower Rufiji River basin. The Sokoine University of Agriculture funds the grant through its Research and Innovation Support (SUARIS).

The Rufiji River Basin is the largest in Tanzania and holds a lot of significance to the country’s economy. Offoro describes the basin as “the bread basket of Tanzania.” He confirms that the river basin is rich in biodiversity and a good climate, not to mention its agricultural production potential. However, he says that climate change, extreme weather events, and human activities such as mining and gas exploration, fishing, and livestock keeping pose a significant risk to natural resources, particularly water, if unattended or uncoordinated.

“ Water scarcity is increasingly becoming a pressing challenge in the Rufiji River Basin, raising tensions among the many people demanding access to its waters and surrounding land,” says Offoro.

In response to the challenge, Offoro’s research on environmental flow forms a critical component supporting water security and supply, risk management, energy, food security, livelihoods, economic development, community resilience, and climate change adaptation. His project aims to establish a recommended environmental flow that will sustainably inform policies, management, and/or operations in the basin.

“Although studies on environmental flow (e-Flow) have been conducted in many river basins in Tanzania, an e-Flow is yet to e done in the Lower Rufiji river basin. It is high time we conducted an intensive e-Flow for sustainable planning of water resources for the lower Rufiji River Basin,” he states.

Offoro accentuates that climate change is currently the biggest risk to Africa’s growth and that scientists, research institutions, private sectors, and governments must move with a sense of urgency to find lasting solutions to the challenges. He underscores the significance of capacity development to research scientists, especially regarding research funding.

“I am so happy to be part of the One Planet Fellowship. The skills I obtained from the science proposal writing held in Casablanca, Morocco, assisted me in developing this winning proposal. As the Principal Investigator of this project, the leadership training has prepared me better to apply myself with enough best practices at my fingertips. I am confident about the future of this project,” he remarks proudly.

Offoro Kimombo is one of the candidates selected to participate in the One Planet Fellowship, a career development initiative that is building a robust pipeline of highly connected, inter-generational scientists equipped to use a gender lens to help Africa’s smallholder farmers cope with climate change.

Since its launch, the Fellowship has admitted 130 climate change research scientists across Africa. Inspired by the AWARD model, the Fellowship is strengthening the capacity of the next generation of young researchers to provide home-grown solutions to address the increasingly complex challenges we face in a changing climate.

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