On 6th December 2019 Nancy Iraba from Tanzania was awarded ‘Upcoming Woman Scientist in the field of Marine Sciences’ during the Next Einstein Forum. The Forum gathered 38 African countries to promote science and technology in Africa.
Nancy specializes in benthic ecology and has been out to sea twice as part of the benthic team, researching about the Indian ocean’s benthic biodiversity. She is currently pursuing her masters in marine sciences at the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Dar es Salaam through a scholarship from Sweden International Development Agency (SIDA). The focus of her studies is on the nutritional requirements of octopus and the economic potential of octopus farming in Tanzania.
She is one of the co-founders of Aqua-Farms Organization, a youth-led organization for conservation of marine ecosystems in Tanzania, where she takes the lead as a researcher and science communication personnel. Nancy has previously won the Hidden Eco-heroine Award in 2017 by the Republic of Korea for her project on “ Aquatic Resources Education Program”. The project enabled girls in secondary schools to get an understanding on the careers opportunities in the aquatic sciences. Nancy recently founded an ocean literacy initiative to create an ocean literate society in the Western Indian Ocean Region and beyond through art, storytelling, career guidance and diving.
Nancy uses her voice and digital platforms for advocacy on ocean conservation and has been featured in a reputable local magazine giving her views about the ocean decade and on ways the blue economy can do wonders. She has also been featured in the 9th edition of WIOMSA magazine, under the theme “ Breaking the glass ceiling” with stories from other women in marine science. Nancy was recently named among 10 black inspiring marine scientists making waves in marine sciences and conservation by the University of Scotland conservation society ( UoSCS).
“I want to see more young girls taking a lead in marine sciences in terms of research, academia and decision making. I would like to see a society that recognizes that the ocean is more than just a source of fish and works with eagerness to unlock its untapped potential” says Nancy.
Congratulations on your award Nancy!