Kevin Odhiambo Obiero completed his PhD studies with distinction in October 2019 at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna. His doctoral study focused on the role of sustainable aquaculture production on food and nutrition security in Eastern Africa. Kevin is Centre Director of the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute and Research Scientist with over 10 years experience. He is also a board member of the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education (ACARE). In his presentation Kevin talked about “Building Doctoral Capacities through Intra-Africa and Global Academic Mobility” from his perspectives as an OeAD scholar. His studies took place within the framework of the STRECAFISH project. STRECAFISH was a 3 years academic partnership to build capacity in higher education and research in aquaculture and fisheries. It involved three East African partner institutions and BOKU Vienna. Overall 5 PhD students as well as 10 master’s students were supported as part of the project. Farmers and Smallholder communities received short training courses and a model aquaculture village was set up in Ethiopia. During his PhD studies Kevin had the chance to visit several international conferences, and was invited to seminars and panel discussions. As examples of Intra-African Mobility he presented different examples such as the African Centre of Excellence in Aquaculture and Fisheries (ACE-AQUAFISH), a five year program funded by the Word Bank which aims to support 80 PhDs and 300 MA students. The second case he presented was the COTRA project (COllaborative TRaining in Fisheries & Aquaculture in East, Central and Southern Africa). The 5 year academic partnership to build capacity in aquaculture and fisheries is funded by the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme of the European Union. The programme emphasizes local field research and supervision through targeted training in concerned areas of national priority to generate locally relevant and applicable knowledge within the participating institutions of the respective countries. Besides other examples of joint mobility programs, Kevin also provided some personal reflections on how to successfully achieve one’s educational goals. His first lesson was that setbacks are to be expected along the way….”but one can bounce back”. He also reminded the audience that “anything worthwhile in life takes time. Further he recommended to be creative and curious, seeking out what magnifies ones’ mind and spirit. Another important factor is the power or resilience and consistent and continuous improvements. Finally, he highlighted the importance of relationships and team spirit as well as family support.
The event was concluded with lively discussions and a socialising part.
The Alumni Talk was broadcast live on Facebook.