Leonard Akwany is a Kenyan environmental scientist born in Kisumu, Western Kenya. He is passionate, enthusiastic and committed to working on interactions between society, economy and ecosystems to realize the dual objective of conservation and poverty alleviation amongst the communities he was raised in. He has a long and successful history of work with Lake Victoria’s communities, having worked as both a program manager and adviser on numerous sustainable livelihoods and conservation initiatives for the papyrus wetlands of Lake Victoria. Most recently Leonard and a coalition of ambitious young Kenyan scientists formed Ecofinder, which CREE has helped support and grow over the years.
Leonard holds a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Management from Egerton University, Kenya and M.Sc. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from University of Manchester UK. He is the inaugural winner of the prestigious Pan-African Entrepreneurship Award for his work on environmental and social entrepreneurship for poverty alleviation by Educating Africa and Teach A Man To Fish, UK. Additionally he is Kinship Conservation Fellow and Ford Motor Company International Fellow of 92nd Street Y for 2011 and 2015 respectively for his work on Business Based Solutions for Environmental Problems, Civil Society Leadership and Community Work. He is the Project manager for the Winam Gulf Wetlands Sustainability Project.
Caroline Odera Holds a Bachelors Degree in Business
Administration (Human Resource Management option) from Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science & Technology (JOOUST), and Diploma in Business Management (Kenya Institute of Management). Currently undertaking Masters Degree in Strategic Management (University of Nairobi). She has professional skills and five years of working experience in Resource mobilization and Project management, Group Savings and Loaning, Producers Group Mobilization and Training, Enterprises Development, web2.0 for tools for development (CTA Netherlands & Moi University), Business Incubation and Mentorship and Nature Conservation.
She has experience working with Agricultural producers and entrepreneurs under Banking on Change Project in collaboration with CARE Kenya, Plan International and Barclays Bank and working in the Kenyan sector of Lake Victoria basin wetlands for many years engaging in participatory rural appraisals, wetland biodiversity assessments, community climate vulnerability assessments and adaptation options including climate smart and ecosystem friendly livelihoods for wetland-dependent communities. She is Alumni of Akili Dada fellows, Spark Kenya changemaker, EarthCorps International Corps member (www.earthcorps.org) USA and Ferry Beach Ecology School Naturalist (www.fbes.org), USA.
Due to her professional background and vast experience in both project management and working with communities along the Lake Victoria Basin, she works on the Winam Gulf Wetlands Sustainability Project through providing technical expertise in the implementation of the project, entrepreneurship development and ensuring community entry of the project’s activities in the wetland villages.
Roniance Adhiambo is a graduate from Egerton University with a degree in Wildlife Enterprise and management where she obtained professional training in courses like natural resource management, ecotourism, biodiversity conservation, bush craft techniques and first aid, Environmental impact assessment and Social Impact assessments, museology, wildlife based tourism, research methodology, protected area management, management of aquatic ecosystems, engineering for wildlife and environment physiology.
She is an Environment and Conservation enthusiast with focus on having ideal ecosystems that support flora and fauna diversity through the development of conservation strategies that strike a balance between economic empowerment and environmental conservation.
She has a lot of experience in working with locals in communities living in wetland areas to implement strategies that will contribute to wetlands conservation, economic empowerment through nature based enterprises and combating issues of human wildlife conflicts. She is currently the Environment Officer at Ecofinder Kenya and works on the Winam Gulf Wetlands Sustainability Project as the Project Officer and is charged with project field activities implementation,project volunteers supervision, delivering local logistical issues at the project sites, generating field activity narrative reports and communication of the project activities through multiple media.
Maurice Ogoma holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from Egerton University, Kenya and M.Sc. in Tropical Aquatic Ecology from University of Bremen, Germany. Has benefited from various professional trainings that have augmented his academic and professional qualifications including scholarships and fellowships from VLIRUOS short courses, Global Climate Change Adaptation Partnership (GCAP), Tropical Biology Association (TBA), National Museums of Kenya (NMK), and the Darwin Initiative for Conservation of species. Likewise, a Lead Expert on Environmental Impact Assessment and Auditing (EIA/A) registered by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) under Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA).
Has worked in the Kenyan sector of Lake Victoria basin wetlands for many years where the work assignments have included wetland biodiversity assessments, community climate vulnerability assessments and adaptation options including climate smart and ecosystem friendly livelihoods for wetland-dependent communities. Worked previously at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) as an Important Birds and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) research fellow and as conservation program officer at Nature Kenya-the East African Natural History Society. Also worked with the State Department of Fisheries as a senior fisheries officer based at the Kenyan Indian Ocean coast. Key consultancies include Wetlands International, Kenya where I assessed climate vulnerabilities and identified climate smart livelihoods for wetland communities in the Ewaso Nyiro River wetlands. Has experience in biodiversity and ecological surveys, environmental impact assessments, participatory rural appraisal, analysis of climatic data through GeoCLIM software, climate change adaptation and capacity building.
Maurice is currently an assistant Lecturer at the Department of Natural Resources, Egerton University, Kenya. He has been engaged in the Winam Wetlands Sustainability project through technical backstopping on Wetlands co-management strategies, spatial mapping, participatory Wetlands Assessment, Baseline Surveys and technical reporting.
Leonard Sweta received the Bachelor of Education from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya and Master of Science degree from University of Twente, Faculty of geo-information, ITC, the Netherlands. He works as Geo-information instructor/Lecturer at Regional center for mapping of resources for development (RCMRD) an organization serving over 21 countries in East and Sothern Africa.
He is experienced in GIS mapping activities using commercial and open source software’s. He is part of the team in charge of training in use of GPS and mobile technologies to carryout utility mapping, participatory GIS, mapping of cultural sites, and mapping of tourist sites. He assists Ecofinder Kenya through technical backstopping for GIS related interventions such community mapping,spatial wetlands mapping and analysis and technical reporting. His research interests are Disaster management, land use/land cover mapping, water quality and participatory GIS.
Francis Odhiambo Omungo is a motivated team player and enthusiastic self-starter, he enjoys working with those who have interesting ideas and a passion for serving the community. Being successful in his job is important to him, and he strives to excel for his employer and the community he serves, and for his own personal satisfaction.
He is the Team Leader (Drama and Outreaches) for Ecofinder Creative Players. His duties and responsibilities include Strategic planning, resource mobilization, reporting and community mobilization. Additionally involved in volunteers recruitment, coordination of outreach activities on community empowerment, nature and social education and public awareness. Likewise involved in community training and capacity building, research data collection and monitoring. He is engaged in Winam Gulf Wetlands Sustainability project in the capacity of drama and outreaches that relate to relaying the Project’s key messages to the public through Community Education.
Erick Owira is an Accountant by profession. He was born in Kisumu County in Winam Division, West Kolwa Location and is 36 years old. He has the skills to analyze and interpret account records, compile financial information and reconcile reports and other financial data, process journal entries and perform accounting corrections to ensure accurate records, track all spending against approved requests; he is also responsible for production and publication of monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports.
Erick has professional training in Quick books professional accounting, Practical Financial Recording and Reporting (Based on the Pot Module), Microsoft Office proficiency and Internet Communication. He has a lot of expectation that through providing services to the local community, it will be possible to have a direct and positive effect on their well-being. He is in charge of the financial management for the project, as he is currently the finance officer for Ecofinder Kenya.
Richard Juma is a conservationist based in Yala, Siaya County, Kenya. He is currently a government gazetted warden with the Kenya Wildlife Service at Lake Kanyaboli National Reserve, Siaya County, Kenya. He is also a bird expert as he has had professional training in birding from Nature Kenya and has had several years’ experience in bird watching, identification, and avi tourism.
He is a community mobilizer and the lead wetland keeper for the villages in Yala wetland community for the Winam Gulf Wetland Sustainability project and does this voluntarily as he believes in the goals and objectives of the project, and is passionate about its implementation and sustainability in Yala wetland.
Tobias Otieno was born in Kusa, Nyakach sub county, Kisumu County, Kenya, he is married with 5 children. He has been farming for over 10 years, growing beans, maize, tomatoes and kales for both commercial and subsistence purposes. He is currently the vice chairperson of NYAPACO-which is an umbrella of farmer groups, and a member of the Upendo Farmers Group. He has a half an acre piece of farm which he inherited. He also rears cattle in his homestead.
He has studied up to the A level/ Form 6. He depends mainly on farming as a source of income. He used to be on a salaried job which he decided to quit concentrating on his farming.
Tobias is also passionate about wetland conservation and is the community mobilizer and lead wetland keeper for Kusa wetland for the Winam Gulf Sustainability Project. His extensive farming experience and willingness to shift his farming away from the wetlands to a farm close to his homestead, made him a good beacon of conservation agriculture knowledge and is also a model farmer in the wetland.
Julius Akenge is a farmer and a village elder in Koguta wetland community, he is married with 8 children. He has been farming for 18 years, majorly growing maize, beans and kales together with his wife. Apart from crop growing, he also keeps livestock, currently owning 10 locally bred cattle and 10 goats from where he gets the manure to enrich the soil fertility of his land.
Julius being a village elder has a lot of reach and influence over his people, he thinks that conserving the wetland of Koguta will in the long run help sustain his fellow community members and their children’s children. Julius is also very supportive of women empowerment and nature based enterprises. He is the community mobilizer and lead wetland keeper for Koguta wetland.