Frank Mirobo

Frank Mirobo, a 27 years old honours graduate of University of Dodoma, Tanzania, majored in marine biology. He is currently doing his Masters in Aquatic ecosystem management at Addis Ababa University focusing on sustainability of marine ecosystem. He has also volunteered in different projects at the institute of marine science in Zanzibar, where he was exposed to the practical aspects of marine science in his work on more than 10 projects and attendance at workshops, conferences and by being able to work with different scientists from different part of the world. In 2017, he was selected to be the first undergraduate student from his university, UDOM, and Tanzania to present his third year research project – on the contribution of local communities in the protection of endangered sea turtles and marine dolphins in Zanzibar – to an international symposium (WIOMSA). His Masters focuses on sustainability of marine ecosystem: evaluating the balance between the shark fishers and people involved in dolphin tourism – dolphins have been used as bait to catch big sharks and investigating why shark oil is preferred over ray’s oil by local fishermen when making wooden boats and how that affects the conservation of endangered shark species along the Western Indian Ocean. Along with that am working with the Southern Ocean scientists to see how we can develop a modelling technology to monitor dolphin movements along the WIO region.

 What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Being an early career marine scientist who has trained ethical boat drivers on how to operate their boats during ethical dolphin tours. We have had dolphins being chased by boats along the coastal area of Zanzibar, which was affecting the dolphin tourism in Zanzibar. By training ethical boat drivers, it encourages more boat drivers to come on board for the training, I have managed to encourage hotels, tour agencies and companies to recommend their guest to our eco-environmental friendly dolphin tour and brought a smile to dolphin since ethical tours equals to a happy dolphin.

Graduation moment for those who attended a 6 weeks course in how to be an ethical boat driver

Who has inspired you in your career?

My mother Annie Mirobo has been saving millions of lives of pregnant mothers with their babies in the hospital, this has inspired me to love so much saving the lives of marine organisms in the mother ocean. Through my career I have been inspired and mentored by Dr. Narriman Jiddawi, Dr. Salum Hamed and Dr. Margareth Kyewalyanga who have dedicated their lives to promote empowerment – conducting multidisciplinary work in fisheries, aquaculture, mariculture, seaweed, phytoplankton, endangered animals, biodiversity conservation and making the ocean a better home for future tomorrow.

What is your dream research project? Where would you work and with whom?

To be an expert in the field of conservation and management of endangered megafauna populations, including their biology and ecology, distribution, and abundance of marine mammals and elasmobranches. This will provide knowledge on all possible anthropogenic threats to the marine mammals and to protect these beautiful marine creatures. I would like to work with UN conservation programs, international agencies in the conservation of animals e.g. IUCN, CITES, and marine mammal conservation organisations along the Western Indian ocean.

Where do you see yourself in 15 years?

I see myself as an expert, mentor, and an inspiration to early career scientist in the field of megafauna in the Western Indian Ocean and a co-founder of consultancy agency in marine mammals’ conservation. All this is triggered with my will to leave a legacy which will inspire and encourage other people that, “always where there is a will, there is a way” and all this can be attained by your commitment, hardworking, personal sacrifices, discipline, be yourself and networking with people.

What secret talent do you have?

Starting today they are no longer secret talents, I do Counselling, Designing, Decoration, Travelling, singing, Learning Innovative things, Mentoring, and Teaching.

What do you miss most about the pre-Covid19 world?

I mostly miss being in the field doing research, interacting with different communities, making jokes, laughing, improving skills by attending workshops and conferences. The world has changed and made most of us who like working in the field to be hard to work and making a difference. This teaches me that, our life is a gift and we should not intend to waste it in every second of it, we need to do things that we are passionate about to make a difference.

Frank’s favorite study site, Kizimkazi village, in the southern side of Unguja island in Zanzibar-Tanzania. Its a center of Dolphin tourism and diversity of fish species in the Unguja Island

What is your quote to live by?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” by Lao Tzu.

In this regard, every step you make in life determine your dream achievements, make the right choice, the right step, remain focus, be positive and focus on getting changes not results since changes are the one which bring good results.

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