Francis Rweyemamu Bagambilana, currently a lecturer at Mwenge Catholic University (MWECAU) in Moshi since 2009, is a UDSM alumnus, having graduated there on three graceful occasions: first at the undergraduate level in 1998, later at the postgraduate level in 2009 and finally at the graduate, doctoral, level in 2019. He was born in Tosamaganga, Iringa, on June 14, 1971, of parents from Karagwe district, to which he became naturally affiliated basically by parental ethnographic origins. He had his first year of primary education (1979) at Kimiza Primary School in Tosamaganga where his parents were graduate secondary school teachers, with the rest of his seven years of primary education (1980–1985) being spent at Kibeta Primary School in Bukoba, following the transfer of his parents from Iringa to Bukoba as headmaster and headmistress at two different schools within Bukoba municipality. He had his four years of ‘Ordinary-level’ secondary education at Bukoba Secondary School (1986–1989), proceeding to advanced-level secondary education at Musoma High School in Mara region from 1990 to 1992. Having performed very well in the advanced certificate of secsecondary education (Form 6) examinations, particularly with principal passes in Geography and English, he was admitted, in 1994, for undergraduate study in geography and linguistics in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and education in the Faculty of Education. He was, essentially, one of the many graduates of the four-year degree programme for would-be graduate teachers in secondary schools and post-secondary educational institutions.
Upon graduation in 1998, Francis joined Laureate International School in Dar es Salaam, where he taught for eight years (until 2006), where, by his own testimony, he gained a lot of confidence in school-master teaching, pupil supervision along with close master assistance from his school headmaster, then Mr. John Walker. The latter practically quenched his thirst in geography learning by financially supporting him, as his geography school teacher with research travel trips—with pupils or alone—to field and nature study investigations especially in the Usambara mountains. He came to develop strong research interest in the rich diversity of rare and unique butterflies found only in the Usambara mountain forests that came to stimulate economic and commercial attention for the local population. Early in his career as a geographer and environmental investigator, Francis was able to compile a research report that turned out to be a significant Cambridge-registered resourcebook for students and examination readers within Cambridge’s curriculum framework for its international clients. The resourcebook is titled A Guidebook to Amani for University of Cambridge International Examinations IGCSE Geography (Laureate International School, 2006).
Francis’ strong interest in the booming economic livelihood of people in a nature reserve subsequently provided him with a postgraduate (master’s) research theme in Amani, this time more focussed on the ‘Assessment of the impacts of butterfly farming on livelihoods and forest conservation in the East Usambara Mountains in Tanzania’. A well-illustrated theme, it was Bagambilana’s dissertation supervised by his specialist teacher Professor Salome Misana as part of the master’s degree programme by coursework and dissertation at the University of Dar es Salaam’s Geography Department in 2007-2009.
Supported by a rich teaching and field-research experience of ten years at Laureate International (1998-2008), Francis Bagambilana was an intellectual asset when he subsequently obtained a teaching position at Mwenge University College of Education in Moshi, a constituent college at that time of a Mwanza-based St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) and the teaching staff in the Geography teaching unit of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He joined the Faculty there as an assistant lecturer, a position he held until 2014 when he was promoted to full lecturer. He has shouldered a number of responsibilities, including research on varied geographical and environmental issues, in addition to a number of leadership roles such as Director in the Quality Assurance Bureau.
Francis Bagambilana’s intellectual journey led him to the pursuit of a PhD programme, with the same alma mater, beginning in 2013 and ending in 2019, and this was within the same broader context of research but now focussing on the effects of climate change. The title of his doctoral dissertation was ‘Assessment of farmers perceptions of climate and attendant adaptation in semi-arid lowlands of Mwanga district, Tanzania’ It took him a total of six years to completion and graduation in 2019. He remembers well the pleasant practical learning experiences he had, with the memorable assistance and cooperation he received from his supervisor Professor William Rugumamu. His current teaching and research interests include, among others, the science of climate change and variability, environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment, adaptation to climate change, tourism and economic development.
Dr. Bagambilana shoulders a number of roles at his University in Moshi. These include active membership and participation in the University’s (MWECAU) Committee of Deans and Directors, in his Faculty of Science, as well as in the University Panel for PhD Viva Voce Examinations. Externally, he is a member of the African Association for the Study of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (AASIKS).
Quite appreciably, he has, on record, a number of works in the form of published journal articles, a book and conference papers. They include: A guidebook to Amani for University of Cambridge International Examinations IGCSE Geography (Laureate International School, 2006); “Climate change: the most significant challenge for the 21st century” in Big questions of our time: The world speaks (ed. Waslekar & I. Futehally, 2016); “Understanding nexuses between precipitation changes and climate change and variability in semi-arid lowlands of Mwanga district, Tanzania” in African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 13(1), 52-65 (with Rugumamu, W. M., 2019); “Towards increased agricultural productivity in the fragile semi-arid lowlands of Mwanga District, Tanzania” (Conference paper, with W. M. Rugumamu, for The 3rd Africa Climate Talks (ACT 3) Conference, UDSM, Dar es Salaam, 2019); “Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation in Tanzania: Strategies, successes and challenges” in 7th Annual Educational Research and Evaluation International Conference (Conference paper, MWECAU, February 14, 2020). The University congratulates him so much on the stage he has reached in his academic and intellectual journey.