Kevin Odhiambo Obiero, Kenya
- Current position: Centre Director of the Sangoro Aquaculture Station, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI)
- Scholarship: Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR) – financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation
- Duration: 03/2016 – 10/2019
- Motto: "It always seems impossible, until it is done" (Nelson Mandela)
Kevin Obiero holds a MSc degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from Moi University, Kenya, and a PhD degree from the University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna (BOKU). Today, he works as a research scientist at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI). Furthermore he is the Director of the Sangoro Aquaculture Centre at KMFRI and thus coordinating research. During his 15 years in academia and research, Kevin participated in several multidisciplinary collaborative donour-funded research projects and grants at national, regional and international levels. To name only a few, he took part in the Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project (KAPAP) and Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project. His doctoral study was within the STRECAFISH project funded by the APPEAR programme. The project’s overall goal was to build capacity in higher education and research institutions towards improved response of education to the fast-growing aquaculture and fisheries industry in Eastern Africa. Dr. Obiero has authored and/or co-authored 20 peer-reviewed articles, 4 books, 10 book chapters, 18 technical and consultancy reports and did more than 20 conference presentations. He has won several awards and grants, holds a membership in seven professional and academic bodies and is a board member of the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education.
On a personal level, the APPEAR scholarship boosted my self-confidence and reinforced my power of resilience, knowing that I not only completed a very important task within the scheduled time. Professionally, I moved closer to my career goals when I was promoted to a senior management position within my home institute. The scholarship gave me a platform to showcase my networking abilities while developing a network of African Great Lakes stakeholders to strengthen capacity in research, policy and management of freshwater resources. My doctoral studies improved my skills and knowledge in how to integrate research, policy and practice in order to promote the role of aquaculture in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Alumni welcome talks gave me the chance to meet students from different parts of the world to exchange ideas and cultural perspectives based on food, music, languages and important cultural traditions like Christmas celebrations. The OeAD guided trips provided numerous opportunities year-round to explore and experience some of Vienna’s “must-see” locations, from Natural History Museum to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. I recommend to every scholar to explore this beautiful city and discover the historical jewels. I also went to Salzburg and Hallstatt, which are among the most touristic and best places in Austria. In addition, I visited some European cities (Rome, Bratislava, Budapest and Amsterdam), where I learnt more about the history and culture of modern Europe. The Summer Music Festivals, Opera performances and concerts in Vienna gave me a frontline place to sample some of the best classical music and greatest composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and other artists. I have been able to put into practice the skills and knowledge gained during the scholarship period to formulate and implement research projects tailored towards food security and poverty reduction through sustainable intensification of aquaculture technologies and innovations and sustainable aquatic resource management. Moreover, my study is directly relevant to the objectives and mandate of my home institution, thus, the knowledge and skills I acquired will immediately be useful for developing research capacity, monitoring and evaluation of our fisheries and aquaculture programmes.