Fortunata Msoffe has successfully defended her PhD, thus qualifying for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, from the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Msoffe is a Tanzanian Wildlife ecologist and Park warden planner as well as Geographic Information systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing Analyst. Since 2005, when she joined ILRI as a Graduate Fellow and a PhD research student, Msoffe has worked with ILRI’s People Livestock and Environment Program (PLE) and Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences to understand the landscape and local-scale level focusing on the drivers, causes and impacts of land-cover and land-use changes on the wildlife and agropastralists in the Maasai-Steppe of Northern Tanzania. This study culminated in her thesis entitled: Land Use Change in Maasailand: Drivers, Dynamics and Impacts on large-herbivores and agro-pastoralism.
“It was a long, exciting and sometimes boring journey. You get tired; discouraged but then you have to keep on going because in the end it is a rewarding one!”, says the ecologist who is currently the Chief Park Warden of Udzungwa Mountains National Park, East-southern Tanzania (along the eastern-arc).
Last year (2009), Msoffe won two awards that both geared at leveraging the intellectual prowess of researchers. The first was the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) fellowship. It is designed to complement and strengthen the ongoing research activities and career development of African women scientists. The second was the student award from The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). This is an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity.
“My advise to anyone is to sometimes give it a break for a while but keep on-going knowing that you should complete no matter what and that end should be the degree!”, she says.