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Dr. Bakari S. Asseid PhD, Obituary

17th February 2021

It is with the great sorrow that we announce the death of our esteemed colleague and friend, Dr Bakari S. Asseid

Dr Bakari’s interest in Natural History emerged when he started work in 1979 as a Forest Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Tanzania, before moving on to higher education in the United Kingdom, where he was awarded a PhD in Psychology in Natural Resources, at Reading University in 1999. Later as a Research Fellow, Dr Bakari carried out extensive studies by working with local communities on such issues as drought resistance technologies for crop development, soil fertility and plant genetics. On return to his work at the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, he took on a new role as a Training Officer in agroforestry, water conservation, land use, small scale nurseries and, bee-keeping.

In January 2001 Dr Bakari was appointed Director of Forestry and Commercial Crops for the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This role gave him the opportunity to exercise the ideas he had for larger scale improvements to the flora and fauna of Tanzania. His extensive forestry knowledge led to a long-term forestry management plan for Tanzania including leadership in forest management and governance.

Ten years later, Dr Bakari had moved up into the role of Deputy Principal Secretary. Working mainly in forestry, he spent the next 6 years supervising and developing projects covering such things as biomass surveys, forest management plans, alternative wood-fuel energy, training in the forestry industry and stopping illegal timber trade.

Moving back to his training roots in 2016, Dr Bakari moved to the Kizimbani Agricultural Training Institute as Chief Executive, responsible for all academic matters of the institute along with organising outreach programmes for farmers and running monitoring and evaluation programmes.

During his professional career, Dr Bakari was co-author in 15 publications covering such topics as Botany, Environmental Surveys, Natural Resource Management, Ecological Behaviours, Endemic Species, Forest Management and Changing Land Use. He also worked as a consultant on many projects for major environmental organisations.

In 2018 Kwanini Foundation were fortunate when Dr Bakari accepted the voluntary position of Director of Communities. Dr Bakari’s vast experience in the interaction of communities with their natural environment helped shape our approach to conservation and environmental issues we face in our surrounding terrestrial environment. His passion for the native forests and some of the endemic species found around Zanzibar, such as the Red Colobus and Sykes's Monkeys will continue to inspire us to work in his footsteps.

Kwanini Foundation are saddened by the loss of Dr Bakari. He was a great asset to the Foundation and a dear friend to all who knew him. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family.

In recognition of his significant contributions to the conservation of natural habitats and biota of both Pemba and Unguja, a newly discovered species of mastiff bat was named after Dr Bakari in 2008. The species Mops bakarii is the only mammal endemic to Pemba and is known from Ngezi forest in the north-west of the island.

We leave you with Dr Bakari’s own words on why he joined Kwanini Foundation.
“I am bringing to the Kwanini Foundation a wide range of experience in natural resources management and community engagement in development. Over the years in my personal capacity and as a senior civil servant in Zanzibar, I have worked with other people in Pemba, formally and informally, to improve the livelihoods of the people and the ecosystems they depend on for their livelihoods. The Kwanini Foundation for me is putting into practice these elements which will help meet my long-term inspiration to Pemba’s ecosystems and people”.

May his passion live on in everything Kwanini Foundation does in the future.

Asante sana, Bakari