Medical Sciences Center
1300 University Ave, Madison, WI 53706
Lake Victoria water quality and fisheries impact livelihoods and health of local communities. Lake Victoria, surrounded by Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, represents the largest tropical lake by surface area in Africa and supports the largest freshwater lake fishery in the world. Population growth, land cultivation, nutrient pollution, climate variability, resource extraction, intensive fishing and other stressors have dramatically altered water quality and fisheries ecology, affecting 30 million people living around the lake. Satellite imagery and direct observation show harmful algae blooms and water hyacinth invasions, which can negatively impact livelihoods and health.
Ecological, health, and economic effects disproportionately place the burden of compromised water quality on women.
Jessica Corman, a postdoctoral research associate in the Center for Limnology, will discuss the results of a 2016 GHI Seed Grant that supported her investigation into the interrelationship between these two ecological realities and how to empower communities through women-led initiatives and interventions to reduce impacts on fisheries livelihoods and community health. Focus groups and economic surveys within impacted communities helped identify management strategies and establish a platform in which to empower women to reduce community health risks.