- West Africa Specialist
Karen Kent serves the Fish Innovation Lab as West Africa specialist, supporting projects in the region and facilitating knowledge sharing to and from West Africa across the platform.
Kent joined the University of Rhode Island’s (URI's) Coastal Resources Center (CRC) in 2011, leading West Africa sustainable fisheries projects in Senegal and The Gambia and providing technical assistance in organizational capacity development for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project. She is currently principle investigator for URI on the USAID West Africa Analytical and Support Services and Evaluations for Sustainable Systems (ASSESS) project in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana. The project provides monitoring, evaluation, capacity building, and knowledge sharing services for USAID’s economic growth portfolio covering agriculture, trade, environment, and energy in 21 countries in the region. Kent is also principle investigator for URI’s subcontract on the USAID Madagascar Hay Tao Biodiversity Conservation Project.
Kent began her career in international development as a Peace Corps fisheries extension agent in Zaire and lived and worked in Africa for 20 years before relocating to Rhode Island. She managed multisector project portfolios for USAID/Benin and for a large U.S. nongovernmental organization in Southern Sudan and Burkina Faso, later serving as country director for the organization in Burkina Faso and Mali.
Kent has a Master of Science degree in development management with a concentration in environment and development from The American University in Washington, D.C. She is fluent in French.