In Loving Memory of APPEAR Scholar Anne Mogoi Birundu (1989-2019)

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OeAD has been deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our scholarship holder Anne Mogoi Birundu, who perished in the ill-fated plane crash ET302 in Ethiopia last Sunday. Anne was a PhD student at BOKU, supported by APPEAR. We have lost a cheerful and caring person who was very enthusiastic about making our world a better place to live in. To remember the life of Anne a commemoration service will be held on Saturday, 23rd of March 2019 in Vienna.

During her Master's studies at the Pan African University in Tlemcen, Algeria, Anne was already determined to continue her education and pursue doctoral studies. This dream came true when she was awarded an APPEAR scholarship that enabled her to start her PhD studies in 2018 at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). Her research focused on "Scaling up of water conserving agricultural practices in female headed households in the Lake Victoria Basin". With her studies, she aimed at becoming a leading expert in the field of sustainable water management, who would contribute to the improvement of livelihoods in Kenya and beyond.

Six months into her studies, Anne travelled back to Kenya to visit her family and to elaborate her PhD proposal with her academic supervisor in Nairobi, when the terrible accident happened.

"While every accident is a tragedy, when it involves a friend and colleague, the sadness becomes even more acute. We have lost a cheerful, hearty and truly loving person", says Kevin Obiero, one of her fellow APPEAR scholars.

Anne was nominated as a PhD scholar by Egerton University within the APPEAR project Strengthening Capacities for Agricultural Education, Research and Adoption | SCARA in Kenya. Her studies were also part of a research project on Advancing Water Futures and Solutions in East Africa: Accelerating transition towards resilient water and food systems, a cooperation between Egerton University, ICRISAT and IIASA.

"It is so sad to lose such a young person who was full of life and with great aspiration for her academic and professional growth. My prayers are with her family", states Benedict Mutua from Egerton University, project coordinator of the SCARA project.

OeAD staff got to know Anne as a young and dedicated woman with great expectations about her doctoral studies and academic career. Her warmth and cheerfulness touched the lives of us and many other researchers and scholars. She was a kind and committed colleague, dear friend and a great support to her fellow students.

We, the OeAD family, have lost a wonderful, caring, and loving person. She will be truly missed by all of us. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

In this difficult time, we as the OeAD, and on behalf of other scholars who were Anne's friends in Austria, would like to express to her family our heartfelt condolences.

Our deepest sympathies go out to all the bereaved families and friends of the victims of ET302.

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We have provided a book of condolence at the OeAD Regional Office in Vienna, which is open to everyone who wishes to express their sympathies. The book will then be handed over to Anne's parents.

To remember the life of Anne a commemoration will be held on Saturday, 23rd of March 2019, 4 p.m. at the OeAD, Ebendorferstrasse 7, 1010 Vienna.