Professor Ruth Otunga from the University of Eldoret in Kenya has been elected first board chairperson for the regional PhD programme in Aquaculture and Fisheries hosted at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources following the Regional Academic Advisory Board Meeting held at Crossroads Hotel in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
LUANAR was chosen amongst a group of universities in Eastern and Southern Africa to host the regional PhD programme in 2009 but there was no academic board to oversee the implementation of the programme, which is patronised by 55 universities from 22 African countries including some West African countries.
A board comprising members from the academia and aquaculture institutions within the region and beyond was recently appointed to oversee the programme.
The following were the members appointed into the advisory board: Dr Steven John Balirwa from National Research Council of Uganda, Professor Jay Stauffer Junior- Pennsylvania State University (USA), Professor Otunga, Professor Emmnauel Kaunda- LUANAR Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Warwick Sauer- Rhodes University (South Africa), Dr Daniel Jamu- Fish Project (Malawi) and Dr Malcolm Beveridge- Director of Aquaculture and Genetics at World Fish Centre in Zambia.
Following their appointments, the board members met in Lilongwe to appoint amongst themselves the board chairperson and look at their terms of reference, amongst other tasks.
Professor Otunga, who is Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Eldoret was appointed first board chairperson of the advisory council, whose leadership will be rotating amongst the member countries on annual basis.
Speaking in an interview on the side-lines of the meeting, Otunga hailed the composition of the board, which she said will help bring expertise from different countries into the programme.
She also pledged the board’s full support towards the programme and functions of the secretariat at LUANAR: “I am happy that the programme is hosted by LUANAR, which demonstrated good capacity to host the programme amongst several universities within the region including my University. We are going to offer our full support to LUANAR for successful implementation of the programme.
Head of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Department at LUANAR Dr Wilson Jere said Malawi, just like the other member countries stands to benefit from the programme, which he said will result in skilled professions in the field of aquaculture and fisheries.
Nearly 70 percent of animal protein in Malawi comes from fish from the fresh waters of Lake Malawi.