Meet the East Africa Regional Coordinator: Andrew Wamukota

Headshot of Andrew Wamukota
Photo submitted by Andrew Wamukota

Andrew Wamukota
Pwani University

Tell us about your background and international/research-for-development interests.

I have a master’s degree in Environmental Economics and a PhD in Environmental Science. My interest lies in the human aspects of nearshore marine resource use, access, and poverty dynamics. I developed this interest while undertaking my master’s research that was looking at the marketing system of nearshore marine fishery among coastal fisherfolk in Kenya.

How does your background at Pwani University inform your approach at the Fish Innovation Lab?

Pwani University is the only public university situated in Kilifi, one of the regions that ranks highly on the poverty scale in Kenya. My interest in working at the institution was to give back to a society that helped me realize my interests. My questions regarding understanding the reasons behind poverty and malnutrition in a region bordering a huge water body like the Indian Ocean, with a significant amount of fish, drove my interest in understanding the resource access-poverty dynamics. My approach of working with a multidisciplinary team around a common area of interest informed my approach with the Fish Innovation Lab.

In your view, what are the most pressing challenges related to food and nutrition security worldwide and what are some ways we can overcome these challenges?

Among the challenges are ensuring access, affordability, and demystifying cultural barriers that influence food consumption. These can be overcome through capacity building and social marketing. Social marketing is especially important at the household level, where most of the decisions regarding consumption are made. Apart from this, empowerment of women is likely to play an important role in overcoming the challenges.

What do you wish other people knew about fish and/or food security?

The consumption of fish is very important for all but critically important for pregnant women and children under five years. People need to know that fish contributes significantly to the brain development of children, and this has a bearing on their productivity in adult life. Therefore, sustainable fish extraction and enhanced targeted consumption are, to me, the twin purveyors of healthy sustainable livelihoods.

If you weren’t a lecturer, what other careers might you have pursued?

I would be an automobile mechanic. I am always happy putting my hands on those things.

What are your hobbies or activities outside of work?

Excursions, jogging, nature walks, and the like

What is on your bucket list? (What do you hope to do, accomplish, see, experience, etc. in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?)

I hope to learn at least two foreign languages, starting with French then German, so I can experience reviewing cutting-edge scientific proposals and contribute significantly to issues of resource use and conservation.

If you would like to, tell us about your family, where you are from, and any personal details you would like to share.

I am from Western Kenya but now live in Mombasa with my family.

Published April 19, 2022