Our UDSM Alumnus for May 2022 is none other than Charles Venance Lugomela, a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam of the graduating class of 1993 and, until recently, the University’s own home-grown teacher and researcher in the fields of Zoology, Marine Biology and Plant Physiology. Currently he is rendering his services at another university within the country.
Charles Lugomela was born on 16th January 1967 in Mwadila village in the Maswa District of Mwanza region to the north of Tanzania. At the age of eight, he attended primary school, first at Kilalo P/S in Bariadi (1975-1980) and then at Kitongo in Nzega (1980-1981). He was admitted for secondary education at Tabora Boys Secondary School, a government school where he stayed continuously for six years, with four in the junior secondary classes of Form I to IV (Ordinary level) from 1982 to 1985, and another two years of senior school (Advanced level) from 1985 to 1987. In 1988, with a brilliant academic record in both the ‘O’- and ‘A’-level examinations, Charles secured admission for university degree studies at the Faculty of Science of the University of Dar es Salaam. He followed a B.Sc. programme, majoring in Zoology and Marine Biology — a programme he completed in record time in 1993, with an Honours degree.
With an assuring academic record and aptitude, the Faculty of Science identified Lugomela for retention and staff development at the Department of Zoology and Marine Biology and, in the next year, 1994, he embarked on a two-year postgraduate (master’s) degree study programme in Marine Biology, which he successfully completed in 1996. In January 1997, he was formally appointed as an Assistant Lecturer within the University establishment. Within the same year, and for the next five years from 1997 to 2002, Charles was admitted at the Botany Department of Stockholm University, in Sweden, for a PhD degree programme. His doctoral specialisation was in plant physiology.
At UDSM, Dr. Lugomela grew through the academic ranks from Tutorial Assistant, to Assistant Lecturer (1997–2002), Lecturer in Zoology and Marine Biology (2002) and with the restricting of the University and a birth of a newly designated Faculty, Lecturer in Fisheries and Aquaculture (2003–2006), Senior Lecturer in Fisheries and Aquaculture (2006–31st December 2014), Associate Professor (1st January 2015 to May 2018). In the course of this period, Professor Lugomela played a number of roles not only on behalf of the University of Dar es Salaam but also on behalf of associated academic and professional organisations, nationally and internationally. These include the following: as Associate Dean (Academic) of the Faculty of Aquatic Sciences and Technology (2003 to 2009); Country coordinator of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Sciences Association (WIOMSA) from 2006–2014; Head of the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries at the University of Dar es Salaam (December 2010 to March 2015); Director of Knowledge Exchange at the University of Dar es Salaam (April 2015 to March 2016); and Deputy Principal of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Fisheries Technology (December 2016 to May 2018).
Professor Lugomela left the University of Dar es Salaam in 2018 following an appointment to join The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, to serve there as the Institution’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Planning, Finance and Administration, while continuing to teach and research as an Associate Professor. In his new position and location, he is serving as the AIST’s chief assistant and advisor to the Vice-Chancellor in matters of the institution’s planning, administration and finances. He further advises the Vice Chancellor on legal and human resource matters and, in general, deputizing for the Vice-Chancellor in the absence of both the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for academic, research and innovation. He is also responsible for maintaining acceptable standards of discipline of both students and staff and, in general, for the smooth running and development of the institution’s administration and technical staff.
As an academic, Professor Lugomela maintains his well-developed tempo of teaching, research and writing in his area of specialisation. In this regard, he continues focus on rolling-out to farmers and the public in general his findings from his 2014-16 research study on integrated aquaculture and agriculture (IAA), first initiated while at UDSM, on the many benefits that could accrue especially to small-scale farmers, from commercial production of fish from dugout ponds and varied plant food varieties from extended gardens, thereby not only providing additional food products to boost household incomes but also important supplements to improve their nutritional and health status. He is credited with a long list of seminal publications on links between agricultural innovation and improved economic, nutritional and health status. These include 37 refereed-journal articles, eight books and book chapters, five contributions in conference proceedings, 12 consultancy reports as well as four special-interest research-innovation reports. The University of Dar es Salaam, his alma mater, wishes him well in his new location of service and academic activity.