Why having a PhD matters in East Africa

Esther Marijani

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[NAIROBI] Esther Marijani is a doctoral student at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and teaches at the Open University of Tanzania. In 2013, she was awarded a grant by the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World to study harmful aflatoxins in aquaculture in East Africa.

Marijani is the only scientist in her family. Her journey into science and food-safety research began with her great-grandfather, a traditional healer. She believes that having a PhD matters not just for science, but for governance too — and gives an example from Kenya’s response to an outbreak of cassava disease to explain why.

This article is part of the Spotlight on Making higher education work for Africa.