During the awarding ceremony on 25 September in Johannesburg South-Africa, PhD Fellow Aline Saraiva Okello was awarded the 2013 L'Oréal-UNESCO Sub-Saharan Fellowship Award. She received a fellowship worth €15,000 to be spent on her PhD research on hydrology and water resources management in her home country Mozambique. "This prestigious award opens a new platform for me to encourage other women and young people to pursue their careers in research," Aline says.
Her work is being undertaken as part of the RISKOMAN (Risk-based operational water management for the Incomati River Basin) project, which aims to improve water management in the transboundary Incomati river basin in southern Africa. “I’m using tracers, remote sensing and hydrological modeling to better understand hydrological processes in the Incomati river basin, particularly those related with runoff generation processes, to inform and support improved operational water management in the basin. This would improve water management and governance, and ultimately contribute to reducing the vulnerability of several stakeholders who depend on water for their food security and the ecosystem services of the river for their livelihoods.”
Aline has a clear view on what actions need to be undertaken in order to improve water management in Africa. "I believe we need many more people engaged in science and scientific research in Africa in order to tackle the many challenges we face," she explains. "We need science and innovation to break through poverty in a sustainable manner. And by completing my PhD, I would be in a position to better influence the research that is done in Southern Africa, contribute to capacity building, and help advocating better practices in water resources management."
The L'Oreal-UNESCO Fellowships for Women in Science aims to increase the participation of women in the field of science. "This is very important, because there are not so many women in science, especially women with young children," Aline elaborates. Click on the video in the sidebar to see an interview with Aline about her research and the role of women in the water sector.
On her personal profile page you can find more information about Aline's projects and publications.