Juma Gwerenya was born and raised on the south coast of Kenya. He has therefore always had a high regard for the ocean and how it impacts the livelihoods of coastal communities. To understand more about how to protect ocean resources and these communities, he decided to study Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Masinde Muliro in Kakamega.
After graduating in 2021, Juma interned at the County Government of Kwale in the Fisheries Division, Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, as a Junior Fisheries Officer, and experienced his first professional interactions with the fisherfolk communities.
To gain more hands-on experience, Juma also volunteered at Kakamega as a Fisheries Extension Officer and at the annual Diani Sea Turtle Festival.
In September 2022, Juma joined ORP in Kenya to carry out a pilot study focusing on community perceptions of sea turtle conservation in the region. The study was a great success and, as a result, a new community education and outreach programme is being introduced with Juma as the Community Education & Outreach Officer. The programme’s mission is to implement good fishing practices, reduce bycatch and improve knowledge about sea turtles and the need for their conservation among the fishing communities on Kenya’s south coast.