Guest Lecture: World Resources Institute

April 27, 2022

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. CAT

Room A203

A panel discussion on research, data, and innovation at the World Resources Institute


Dr. Rebekah Shirley, Director of Research

Dr. Rebekah Shirley is the director of research, data & innovation at WRI Africa, where she works to create widespread public access to high-quality data and insights for mobilizing sustainable development solutions. 

Prior to joining WRI, Rebekah was the chief of research at Power for All, a global non-profit organization advancing universal energy access. Over her tenure Rebekah built a novel energy research dissemination engine that fills critical knowledge gaps for practitioners and decision-makers on implementing integrated utility energy services, unlocking agricultural value-addition, and creating livelihoods in the African context, receiving multiple awards for this work.

Rebekah earned her Ph.D. and MSc from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, where, as a University Chancellor’s Fellow, she designed innovative tools for power system planning in emerging markets. She has fourteen years of experience leading energy and environmental research across Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Dr. Bernadette Arakwiye, Manager, AFR100

Bernadette Arakwiye manages WRI’s contributions to the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) and she serves as an in-country liaison for WRI in Rwanda. In her previous roles at WRI, she supported restoration monitoring activities in African countries.

Before joining WRI, Bernadette conducted environmental research in African landscapes, working as a research associate with Conservation International in the USA and as a research assistant with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Rwanda. Bernadette has also supported WRI research projects in Rwanda, on a consultancy basis between 2016 and 2020.

Bernadette received a Ph.D. in geography from Clark University in Massachusetts; her NASA-funded dissertation research is titled: "Forest cover change in Western Rwanda during periods of wars and environmental policy shifts: Dynamics, drivers, and ecological outcomes." She received an MSc in environmental studies from Antioch University New England and a BSc in biology from the University of Rwanda.

Marc Mayifika, Country Lead, Urban Water Resilience

Marc Mayifika is the country lead for Urban Water Resilience in Rwanda, and he is also the lead spatial planner for the program. He works closely with the cities of Kigali and Musanze in Rwanda to coordinate and engage stakeholders to develop a water resilience action plan for both cities, based on the City Water Resilience Approach. He also assists with the coordination of the spatial analysis work done in the program covering Ethiopia (Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa); Rwanda (Kigali, Musanze); and South Africa (Johannesburg, Gqheberha). In addition, Marc helps coordinate the relationship management, diplomacy, and strategic planning of WRI in Rwanda.

Marc previously worked in the Ministry of Environment in the Government of Rwanda where he oversaw the policy coordination in Land, Water, and Forestry. Prior to that, he was involved in the development of the water sector in Rwanda as one of the leading hydrologists. He has also done research across the region spanning from hydropower development, spatial analysis for water resources management, sediment fingerprinting, etc. using a combination of GIS-based tools coupled with hydrologic/hydraulic modeling.

Marc holds an MSc. in geo-information science and earth observation for WREM from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, as well as a BSc. in water and environmental engineering from the College of Science and Technology at the University of Rwanda, formerly known as Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.

Eric Ruzigamanzi, Program Manager, Circular Food Systems

Eric Ruzigamanzi is an experienced agribusiness advisor and project manager with more than 11 years in non-profit organization management. Prior to joining WRI, Eric worked with three International Organizations, namely SNV-Netherlands Development Organization, Energy4Impact formally known as GVEP International and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) where he developed, supported, and provided leadership to five agricultural and rural development based projects and more than 30 business cases with private companies (SMEs). He has also supported with different government institutions in Rwanda.

Eric is skilled in Agricultural Value Chain and Market System Development, Grant Administration and Management; SME Promotion and Business Advising, M&E, Program/project(s) Implementation and Management.

Eric has a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness from the University of Rwanda and a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Jomo kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.