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Zainab Janowalla


My postgraduate degree provided the fundamental foundation required for the beginning of my career, developing and building transferrable, analytical skills and technical knowledge that enables me to contribute in a multicultural and dynamic work environment.

The Applied Environmental Geology programme offers an opportunity to develop comprehensive knowledge and skills that were pivotal to begin my career.

What attracted me to the programme initially were the wide range of modules offered, from engineering behaviour of soils to hydrology and environmental impact regulations. The modules were assessed in a balanced way that included examinations, but also assignments on conducting comprehensive desk-based studies, geospatial modeling and lab-based analysis.

The regular field trips in the South Wales area helped contextualize the learning and offered an opportunity to develop field skills such as surveying, understanding contaminant pathways, collecting primary data – all of which I continue to apply in my current role.

Project placement

For my six-month placement, I undertook a project with FLEXIS entitled, “The re-development of the Milford Haven marina into a zero carbon area”. It explored a scarcely studied facet of renewable energy potential in South Wales, UK. My research involved carrying out a preliminary desk study, including geology, hydrology, ecology and landscape of Milford Haven. Exposure to this project culminated, and sustained, my interests in understanding, and quantifying, various aspects of the natural and urban environment.

Graduate career

I am currently working for a not-for-profit organization called MSINGI East Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. MSINGI is funded by the Gatsby Charity Trust in the UK. We identify young, nascent industries in East Africa, that have significant potential to create jobs and contribute to food production.

I am currently involved in the aquaculture programme, which focuses on supporting cage fish farming in Lake Victoria. My role as an Environmental Sustainability Specialist is to assist the industry players (private sector, government and other actors across the value chain) to work on ensuring that the aquaculture industry in East Africa grows in a sustainable, productive manner, while minimizing environmental deterioration of water bodies, such as Lake Victoria.

One of the projects I am currently involved in is catalyzing the development of a spatial plan, zoning and carrying capacity assessment for Lake Victoria – this involves quantifying and modeling contaminant and nutrient run-off into the lake, to understand maximum thresholds and develop a framework for the government to implement as part of a licensing regime for aquaculture stakeholders.