ARUA-CD welcomes Dr Cornelius Okello to the team! Cornelius is a freshwater researcher who is joining ARUA-CD to begin a new project which aims to co-design a new water management framework for coastal freshwater systems on Lamu Island, Kenya. The project highlights the importance of addressing the disconnect between researchers and communities to help create collaborative solutions for water management problems in coastal communities in Africa.

“I am excited to start working with leaders in environmental science who have vast experience in the social science aspects of environmental management” says Cornelius. “This project is slightly outside my wheelhouse, as someone coming from a hard science background, but I am excited by the idea of working more with communities and gaining new perspectives, especially from communities who I know this work will directly impact.”


When asked about the importance of this project, Cornelius emphasises a call to action phrase which has driven him since his undergrad days, “Water is going to be the new oil, the importance and value of freshwater as a resource highlights the urgency for sustainable and collaborative management frameworks.” This project has potential to provide a robust, sustainable and inclusive water management framework that will hopefully provide a blueprint for future coastal freshwater management in Lamu.

“Water is going to be the new oil”

Cornelius completed his undergraduate degree in environmental science at the University of Nairobi, Kenya after which he spent six years in Europe obtaining his MSc in water and coastal management and his PhD exploring freshwater resources in coastal management, highlighting the role of climate change. It was during his postgraduate studies that Cornelius saw a gap in freshwater coastal research and has since dedicated his career to this field. Cornelius joins us from Machakos University where he was the Chair of the Environmental Science Department and lecturer. Cornelius is also affiliated with the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) where he holds a research associate position.


Edited by: Dr Michelle Blanckenberg