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WIOMSA Science–Policy Programme Coordinator

South African marine scientist, Dr Obakeng Molelu has taken up a position with the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) as the Science–Policy Programme Coordinator.

As a marine social scientist with research interests in how coastal communities interact with development and how development has impact socio-spatial planning, and climate change risk mitigation, Dr Molelu is well-known in the western Indian Ocean (WIO) region, both for her work with the Bandari Bora project and as an active member of the Network of Women in Marine Science (WiMS).

She was introduced to the WIO region in 2015 as a PhD student at South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the University of KwaZulu Natal. She conducted research on the influence of environmental change and legislation on port–city relations in Durban, while participating in various training courses and symposia organised by WIOMSA and other institutions in the WIO.

As her network expanded in the region, she joined COMRED in Mombasa in 2020 and led a multi-disciplinary team of researchers in a WIOMSA Cities and Coasts-funded project that analysed the impact of port expansion on land use change, climate change adaptation and mitigation policy, and socio-spatial arrangements in three port-cities: Mombasa in Kenya, Durban in South Africa and Moroni in the Comoros.

Dr Molelu is the WiMS country representative for South Africa. With the steering committee, she has assisted in organising and facilitating various WIMS events and shared information with early career researchers, helping them to apply for various opportunities to advance their careers.

“As the Science to Policy Programme Coordinator, I am enthusiastic to embark on this new journey towards ensuring that our scientific findings have a place in the rooms where policies are discussed,” said Dr Molelu. “With the right approach, these findings can be effectively used by policymakers and decision-makers. It is my hope that this will spark an interest in the minds of politicians and lead to more evidence-based decision-making,” she says.


SOURCE: WIOMSA News

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