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ICLEI Africa staff

ICLEI has more than 260 staff in 22 offices around the world, offering expertise that positions local and regional governments to advance sustainable urban development along our five pathways.

Our multidisciplinary team is divided into 5 teams, which include technical and support staff. However, since the urban challenges we face today are often complex, we work across workstreams to ensure we offer cities integrated solutions.

ICLEI AFRICA TEAM

AllRegional DirectorDirectorsManagersSenior Professsional OfficersThe Team
Deputy Secretary General: ICLEI & Regional Director: ICLEI Africa

Kobie Brand

Director: Biodiversity, Nature & Health

Ingrid Coetzee

Director: Climate Change: Energy & Resilience

Dr Meggan Spires

Director: Communications & Knowledge Management

Michelle Preen

Associate Director: Urban Systems Unit

Paul Currie

Financial Manager

Stephanie Babef

Senior Communications Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Adél Strydom

Senior Professional Officer: Social-ecological Systems

Dr Ernita Flynn

Manager: Climate Change Resilience

Dr Kate Strachan

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Professional Officer: Climate change, Energy and Resilience

Carine Lehtem Buma

Research & knowledge management officer

Claudia Schroder

Professional officer: Climate Change, Energy & Resilience

Dania Petrik

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Daniel Adeniyi

Administration Officer

Faghmieda King

Communications Officer: Climate and Energy

Jarita Kassen

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Jehan Bhikoo

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Jokudu Guya

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Kevin Mutia

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Kirsty Griffin

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Lauren Arendse

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Meagen Swain

Financial Administrator

Mellissa Moses

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Mthobisi Wanda

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nelson de Lamare

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Nikara Mahadeo

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Solophina Nekesa

Manager: Office Operations

Sonya Smith

Professional Officer: Climate Change and Water Resource Management

Tarryn Quayle

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Urban Systems

Ryan Fisher

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Vanessa Tshite

Graphic Designer: Graphic design and layout

Widaad Pienaar

Project Financial Officer

Dorah Zatu

Communications Officer

Ruby Schalit

Communications Officer

Ayanda Mthethwa

Coordinator: City Diplomacy and International Relations

Marina Reyskens Lutz

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nicola Rule

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Ryan Roberts

Project Finance Officer

Labeeqah Van Haaght

Senior Professional Officer - Global CWN and RWN Coordinator: Recruitment and Advocacy

Stefania Romano

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sarah Catto

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Dr. Azizat Gbadegesin

Intern: Urban Systems

Sinethemba Mthethwa

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Lucy Lavirotte

Senior Professional Officer: Urban Planning

Meembo Changula

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Fru Wanka

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sharin Govender

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sayuri Chetty

Intern: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Jade Sullivan

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Kweku Koranteng

Professional Officer: Urban Nature and Nature-based Solutions

Bongiwe Simka

Manager: Energy and Low Emission Development

Christelle Beyers

PhD Researcher: Circular Development

Garth Malan

Senior Professional Officer: Human Rights Based Approaches

Funmi Adeniyi

Intern: Urban Systems

Zakiyya Atkins

Caitlin Sole

Professional Officer: Urban Nature

Erin Hill

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Ivan Pauw

Student Intern: Urban Systems

Amélie Claude

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Professional Officer: Sustainable Energy Action and Political Liaison

Ayman Aribou

Manager: Biodiversity & Nature

Ursula Wellmann

Deputy Secretary General: ICLEI & Regional Director: ICLEI Africa

Kobie Brand

Kobie has more than 25 years of practical and managerial experience in Environmental Management and Urban Development. Her expertise range from biodiversity, climate change, coastal management to urban sustainability and planning. She is responsible for the strategic direction, growth, partnerships, programmes and scope of work for ICLEI in Africa. Kobie is also Global Director for ICLEI’s Biodiversity and Nature-based solutions work, and in this capacity heads up the Cities Biodiversity Center embedded in ICLEI Africa.

Director: Biodiversity, Nature & Health

Ingrid Coetzee

Ingrid has more than 30 years’ experience in sustainability and governance. Her work focuses on mainstreaming nature, its benefits, and nature-based solutions into urban planning and decision-making in cities and city regions thereby helping them become healthier, and more resilient and liveable places. She also serves as technical lead on ICLEI’s biodiversity advocacy work. Ingrid’s expertise includes stakeholder engagement, facilitation, law reform, policy, and strategy development.

Director: Climate Change: Energy & Resilience

Dr Meggan Spires

Meggan believes that African cities are places of innovation and potential, where globally relevant solutions are found. She leads the Climate Change, Energy and Resilience workstream at ICLEI Africa, where a diverse team works with African city stakeholders to build resilience, enable low emission development, and improve access to finance and energy. Meggan holds a PhD in Environmental Science and before joining ICLEI Africa worked as a municipal official.

Director: Communications & Knowledge Management

Michelle Preen

Michelle has close to 20 years’ experience in the field of environmental communications, most of these within local government, and covering a broad range of environmental issues. Her MSc in Environmental Biology, various communications qualifications and advanced writing skills, allow her to proficiently translate complex issues and concepts into accessible, action-oriented information. Michelle manages communications for ICLEI Africa and the Cities Biodiversity Center.

Associate Director: Urban Systems Unit

Paul Currie

Paul is fascinated by the multi-layered relationships that give each city its unique flavour. With his Sustainable Development MPhil and current doctoral research, Paul uses urban metabolism, resource nexus and political ecology as lenses for shaping sustainable, inclusive cities. At ICLEI, he supports local governments to apply systems perspectives to food, water, energy and nature, and facilitates the development of policies and plans appropriate to contexts of change and uncertainty.

Financial Manager

Stephanie Babef

Stephanie has been working at ICLEI Africa since 2011, when she started as an accounting assistant. She is currently Financial Manager, overseeing all of the company’s accounting processes and financial project reporting. She ensures the books are in order for the Annual Financial Statement and the financial deadlines for all projects are respected. Sustainable development has always been a passion of hers, having grown up on a self-sufficient island.

Senior Communications Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Adél Strydom

Adél believes in the beauty and power of stories to bring change. She combines an honours degree in Media Theory and Practice with an MPhil in Sustainable Development. Her six years’ experience range from travel, lifestyle and nature to urban metabolism, energy, and climate change. She works with the Climate Change, Energy & Resilience team at ICLEI Africa on communications, focusing primarily on writing and film.

Senior Professional Officer: Social-ecological Systems

Dr Ernita Flynn

Ernita Flynn is a senior professional officer (social-ecological systems) at ICLEI Africa and ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center: Urban Biodiversity Work stream. Her work focus is on mainstreaming nature-based benefits in urban environments through planning and implementation. Following initial training in ecology and conservation, Ernita developed an interest in how people and institutions value and interact with the natural environment. She brings 22 years’ experience to the work place.

Manager: Climate Change Resilience

Dr Kate Strachan

Kate holds a PhD in Environmental Science, focused on coastal changes associated with climate change. She has a special interest in understanding climate change and the associated risks, especially relating to coastal cities. She has worked with and for local governments to build climate resilience, developing climate adaption plans, and identifying challenges and opportunities associated with natural assets to overcome shocks and stressors associated with climate change.

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Thea joined ICLEI in 2016 after completing her Master’s at Nelson Mandela University’s Sustainability Research Unit. She initially embarked on a trans disciplinary Master’s, combining her aptitude for communication with her love of nature, learning that your passions and talents will often meet to reveal your vocation. Her expertise ranges from online marketing campaign conceptualization to graphic design and social media management. She has more than 5 years’ experience.

Professional Officer: Climate change, Energy and Resilience

Carine Lehtem Buma

Carine is passionate about energy, especially given the urgent need for sustainable energy access in Africa. She holds a MSc. in Physics and B.Eng in Petroleum Engineering. Carine joined ICLEI as an intern and is working on climate change and energy projects, including CoM SSA. She has experience in the design, monitoring and evaluation of photovoltaic systems, as well as on technical properties of petroleum products.

Research & knowledge management officer

Claudia Schroder

Claudia holds degrees in Social Dynamics, Environmental Management and a masters in Environment, Society and Sustainability. Her role as a Research and Knowledge Management enables her to manage the knowledge and information processes for projects while simultaneously exploring the complex dynamics between humans and nature in the face of climate change.

Professional officer: Climate Change, Energy & Resilience

Dania Petrik

Dania is a MPhil graduate from the Energy Research Centre, UCT, with a focus on climate change and poverty. Her background in communications equips her to effectively communicate climate related issues. She has over five years’ experience in climate research and consulting, working alongside donor agencies, practitioners, local and national government, regional networks, and with academia to implement a range of projects specifically around building capacity and improved climate governance.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Daniel Adeniyi

Daniel has over seven years research and project management experience spanning areas including food systems, urban planning, and M&E. His work at ICLEI focuses on how to ensure sustainability of urban food systems and ways of incorporating sustainability principles into urban development plans and processes. Daniel holds Masters (Cum Laude) and PhD degrees in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape. Daniel is a registered city planner and a member of the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA).

Administration Officer

Faghmieda King

Faghmieda joined ICLEI Africa in 2014. Her key responsibilities are membership, logistics and office administration. She has 10 years’ experience as entrepreneur developer, coordinating member events, undertaking coaching sessions and other support activities.

Communications Officer: Climate and Energy

Jarita Kassen

Jarita Kassen spent the last two years working at Eyewitness News producing radio news stories and articles on a variety of topics. She is passionate about climate change and sustainability and excited to work in a communications position that addresses these issues. She has experience liaising with local government officials and gained a good understanding of government structures and communicating about political issues during her studies at the University of Cape Town. She has a BA degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and an Honours degree in Political Communications, focusing on media. She also has a diploma in Business French and has dabbled in design and layout, and podcast production. Jarita will be joining the ICLEI Africa team as a Communications Officer for Energy and Climate Change, specifically to support communications for the CoM SSA Secretariat as well as our LoCS4Africa Virtual Congress, and other related campaigns.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Jehan Bhikoo

Jehan has extensive experience in public sector healthcare design, development and infrastructure delivery. With a deep understanding of the correlation between environmental issues and public health, and the importance of good planning, urban development and policy, she pursued a Masters in Environment and Sustainable Development from University College London (UCL). Positioned within the urban systems team, Jehan is excited to explore a range of areas from mobility to circular development.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Jokudu Guya

Jokudu Guya is an Urban Systems Professional Officer. Her focus areas include Circular Economies, Nexus, and smart cities, amongst other urban systems focus areas. She has a background in city development research and holds a Master of Urban Studies Degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Bachelor’s degree with Honours in Urban and Regional Planning.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Kevin Mutia

Kevin is a Professional Officer at ICLEI Africa, in the Urban Systems unit. He hopes to change public spaces and urban forms in our cities. He especially hopes to do so through research, well analysed data and information, and a duly followed design process for developing plans, frameworks and strategies to improve the quality of urban spaces in Africa. This will ensure that all the users in these spaces, regardless of economic and cultural background, will have a good quality of life.

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Kirsty Griffin

Kirsty holds a Masters in Climate Change and Sustainable Development and joined ICLEI Africa in 2015. Her work focuses on climate change mitigation and adaptation, capacity building, and climate and biodiversity action planning. Kirsty is currently the project manager of ICLEI Africa’s CAPS Project and a member of several highly experienced and dynamic project teams responsible for implementing ICLEI’s key biodiversity and climate change projects.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Lauren Arendse

Lauren has extensive experience in the public infrastructure development and maintenance. She completed a Master’s in Water Science and Engineering from IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. She has a good grasp of integrated water systems from water governance to river and coastal management in the context of global issues like climate change. She is analytically minded and strives to use interdisciplinary and system thinking approaches to translate scientific research to inform better governance, policy or action towards sustainable futures, which is well suited for the urban systems team.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Meagen Swain

Meagen Swain holds a Master of Philosophy in Climate Change and Sustainable Development from the University of Cape Town with a theoretical background in Environmental and Geographical sciences. Before joining ICLEI Africa as a Professional Officer in the Climate Change, Energy and Resilience workstream, she completed the City of Cape Town’s Urban Sustainability Internship Programme, within the City’s Environmental Management Department. During her time at the City of Cape Town, she supported the public participation process of the city’s Climate Change Strategy and assisted in strengthening the strategy and action plan. Her interests lie in climate change, resilience and urban greening.

Financial Administrator

Mellissa Moses

Mellissa has six years’ experience in finance, having assisted in financial management and administration, mainly focused in the financial services sector and more recently within the digital marketing space. Here she also gained project finance experience.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Mthobisi Wanda

Mthobisi is an environmental practitioner with three years’ experience in the public and NGO sectors. His work experience is varied, having been exposed to a number of sub-disciplines in the broader environmental field. These include biodiversity mainstreaming and mapping ecosystem services. Mthobisi’s practical work experience is complemented by a solid academic grounding through a BSocSc in Geography and Environmental Management, and an Honours in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nelson de Lamare

Nelson is part of both the Climate Change, Energy & Resilience work stream, and the Membership team, while undertaking his MA in International Studies at Stellenbosch University. He has experience working for the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service, a global network of International Voluntary Service CSOs, as well as the culture and education sectors of UNESCO.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Nikara Mahadeo

Nikara has over 5 years’ experience working in the conservation sector in South Africa, having previously worked for local NGOs. She holds two masters degrees, MSc Environmental Science (University of KwaZulu-Natal), and MPhil Conservation Leadership (University of Cambridge). At ICLEI Africa, she applies her experience and skills across various projects within the biodiversity team, whilst expanding her understanding of both local and global environmental challenges.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Solophina Nekesa

Solophina is passionate about Green Architecture and Urban Design. She has worked with an architectural practice to plan off-grid sustainable communities and affordable net-zero energy buildings in Uganda. As a sustainability consultant, she has worked on projects that seek to promote comprehensive sustainable practices. Solophina holds a Master of Architecture (Sustainable and Energy Efficient Cities) from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Manager: Office Operations

Sonya Smith

Sonya studied Travel and Tourism and has 22 years’ experience in the travel sector, of which 16 were dedicated to the airline industry. During this time, she worked in every department within the airline’s ground operations. At ICLEI Africa, she is the friendly face greeting staff and visitors at the door. Apart from arranging travel bookings across Africa and beyond, Sonya is also responsible for our well-functioning and organised office.

Professional Officer: Climate Change and Water Resource Management

Tarryn Quayle

Tarryn joined ICLEI Africa in 2009 and focuses on urban water and sanitation projects through the lens of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Tarryn has a keen interest in co-developing projects that reflect the demand-driven, inclusive and multi-stakeholder approaches integral to supporting sustainable urban development on the continent.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Urban Systems

Ryan Fisher

Ryan has more than 6 years’ experience working for and with subnational governments. Since joining ICLEI Africa in 2013, he has been active in the fields of energy and climate change mitigation, biodiversity and nature-based solutions, food systems, and sustainable transport. With an undergrad in Environmental Management, his expertise include policy review and drafting, facilitation, strategy development and mainstreaming of sustainability good practice into subnational government operations.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Vanessa Tshite

Vanessa holds a postgraduate diploma in Integrated Water Resources Management and a BSc in Environmental and Water Science from the University of the Western Cape. She joined ICLEI as an intern, working on two main projects – UNA and IMPACT. She has experience assisting with environmental legislation and related projects as an Environmental Compliance Assistant at the City of Cape Town and in the private sector.

Graphic Designer: Graphic design and layout

Widaad Pienaar

Widaad studied Multimedia Design at The Cape Peninsula University of Technology where she attained her National Diploma and Bachelor of Technology Degree in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Widaad is known for being optimistic, dedicated and detail-oriented. Her love of fine art and talent for design is obvious in her work. Widaad brings valuable creativity to the multi-skilled Communications team at ICLEI Africa.

Project Financial Officer

Dorah Zatu

I have National Diploma in Cost & Management Accounting from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and Higher Certificate in Senior Management Development Programme from the University if the Western Cape (UWC). I have years of experience in working across a broad range of technical financial matters within NPOs, Education, SOC and SMME sectors. My work experience includes full bookkeeping function, compilation of management accounts, payroll management and coordinating internal and externa audits. I have a strong track record of working with NGO’s, preparing funders/donors reports, administering grants and ensuring that spending is incurred consistent with the grant agreement.

Communications Officer

Ruby Schalit

Ruby recently graduated with a masters in Development Planning from the University of the Witwatersrand with a research focus on informal recycling systems in Johannesburg’s suburbs. Her undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics illustrates her affinity for multidisciplinary ways of thinking. Ruby sees her role as Communications Officer at ICLEI Africa as the perfect marriage between her professional background in marketing and communications, her education and passion for sustainable urban planning, spatial justice and the environment, and her creative flair.

Communications Officer

Ayanda Mthethwa

Ayanda Mthethwa brings with her a strong writing and journalism background. She has a BA Honours in Journalism and Media Studies from North-West University. Before joining ICLEI she worked as a reporter for Daily Maverick and headed up MavericKids where she mainstreamed climate considerations in ways that our younger generation can relate to. At ICLEI she’ll be assisting with project communications for some of our climate and energy projects.

Coordinator: City Diplomacy and International Relations

Marina Reyskens Lutz

Marina is an international affairs specialist and has previously worked in the International Relations Unit in the Office of the Executive Mayor at the City of Cape Town, South Africa, a position she held since 2016. Prior to her work at the City of Cape Town, Ms Reyskens Lutz worked as a Senior Policy Officer (Political Affairs) at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pretoria.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nicola Rule

Nicola is passionate about developing more just and regenerative urban systems through local climate action. She holds a Masters in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University. She has worked in Environmental Management in the local government sector and as a climate change consultant, developing large donor-funded mitigation and adaptation projects with small island developing states (SIDS) and African countries. Nicola recently joined ICLEI to support African cities to develop and implement climate action plans under the CoM SSA initiative.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Ryan Roberts

Born in Johannesburg yet growing up in Durban, Ryan is comfortable having both plenty to do as well as nothing at all. Ryan has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical engineering from the University of Pretoria. He then furthered his studies at Stellenbosch
University in sustainable and renewable energy, obtaining his Master’s in Philosophy in 2017.

Project Finance Officer

Labeeqah Van Haaght

She has completed a National Diploma in Mathematical Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Though her work experience has been gained over various business sectors, Labeeqah has developed a strong passion for NGO’s. It is because of her passion, that she opted to perform her mandatory in-service training at an NGO for whom she volunteered for a short period of time before being
permanently appointed.

Senior Professional Officer - Global CWN and RWN Coordinator: Recruitment and Advocacy

Stefania Romano

With a Public Policy background, Stefania has worked for more ten years for the Italian Ministry of the Environment (IMELS); first posted in Serbia, she was later seconded by IMELS to an international organisation, the Regional Environmental Center (REC), where she has been the Director of the Italian Fund (ITF), targeting specific environmental programs and channelling governmental funds throughout several geographical regions, such as Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the MENA region.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sarah Catto

Sarah has three years’ experience consulting in the climate change field, and holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Cape Town in Conservation Biology. She has worked closely with UN agencies, non-profit organisations, and national and regional stakeholders across the Global South. Her expertise includes climate finance, adaptation planning, the global climate change policy environment, and project management. Sarah’s interests lie specifically in adaptation and resilience, unlocking climate finance at the local level, and climate justice.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Dr. Azizat Gbadegesin

Azizat holds a PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering,  and currently works on the CoMSSA, ENACT and AFMEG projects at ICLEI Africa. She has experience in capacity building, research, system  design, as well as project management and implementation in energy efficiency, decentralised renewable energy systems, and energy storage. She is passionate about contributing to sustainable energy development within African cities as the way to the overall development of the African continent.

Intern: Urban Systems

Sinethemba Mthethwa

Sinethemba Mthethwa is an intern in the Urban Systems Unit at ICLEI Africa. She holds a BSS (Geography and Environmental Management) degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Food Security. Her work at ICLEI Africa is centered around promoting sustainable urban food systems. Her hopes are to witness a world where hunger and malnutrition are not prevailing challenges in food systems.
Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Lucy Lavirotte

Lucy holds a Msc in Political Science and a MPhil in Climate Change and Development. She has worked on GCF and GEF adaptation project design in several French speaking countries before joining ICLEI Africa in early 2021. Lucy currently works on participatory adaptation action planning, gender inclusion and finance for local climate action under the CoM SSA project.

Senior Professional Officer: Urban Planning

Meembo Changula

Meembo joined ICLEI-Africa in August 2021, bringing with her more than 18 years’ varied experience in sustainable urban development. With her BSc. and MSc. in Urban and Regional planning, and prior work in Zambia’s central government in various capacities, Meembo has gained leading expertise in urbanisation policy, urban planning legislation, integrated development planning, informal settlement upgrading, and improving national and subnational urban governance capacities. Meembo currently serves as Team Leader and Training Coordinator for the Urban Planning and Development Control Strengthening Program in Tanzania.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Fru Wanka

Fru is passionate about food and nutrition security, resource management, economic development, and labour market dynamics. She has over five years of work experience on issues relating to food and nutrition security. Fru holds a Masters in Economics from the University of the Western Cape and is pursuing a PhD degree in Development Studies at the same university. Fru is a member of the Economic Society of South Africa (ESSA).

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sharin Govender

Sharin is a Senior Professional Officer at ICLEI Africa. She has over 15 years of experience in the field of environmental management, which to date, has exposed her to a spectrum of environmental issues. Her time working for KwaZulu Natal’s Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs gave her a solid foundation to understand and apply policy and regulatory framework in environmental management. Following this, her career in local government has provided a platform to actively influence environmental planning processes as well as institutionalize climate change action at a sub national scale.

 

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sayuri Chetty

Sayuri has an Environmental Science background and more than six years of project management and technical experience working with all spheres of government, private and public sector on a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy topics. Before joining ICLEI Africa in November 2021, she worked for GIZ South Africa and Eskom. Her interests lie in urban energy, equitable and inclusive low carbon development, climate change mitigation and gender mainstreaming.

Intern: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Jade Sullivan

Jade has a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Stellenbosch. She has 1 year and 8 months of experience working in the Urban Catalytic Investment department at the City of Cape Town Municipality as an Urban Planning and Project Packaging Assistant. Jade is currently working as an intern in the Biodiversity and Nature-Based Solutions team. She is an avid reader and is passionate about sustainable development.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Kweku Koranteng

Kweku is a professional Officer in ICLEI Africa’s Energy and Climate Resilience workstream. He has over 10 year of experience and has worked with various organisations such as the AfDB, UNDP-Ghana, British Council – Ghana, Ghana Cocoa Bod, World Cocoa Foundation, Overseas Development Institute – UK and Research ICT Africa – South Africa. His 6 years in Sustainable development research focused on the implication of global energy transition on Africa’s urban energy access in marginalised communities. He is exploring transdisciplinary research methods as a cutting-edge approach to address the many challenges found in standardised approaches adopted from the global north.

Professional Officer: Urban Nature and Nature-based Solutions

Bongiwe Simka

Bongiwe has a strong passion for sustainability and social justice. She holds BSc Honours degrees in Environmental Management and Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. Bongiwe has over 4 years’ experience working on Spatial Biodiversity Planning, Project Coordination and Ecosystem Services research. Her work on mapping and making the case for green and blue infrastructure helped cultivate her interest in integrated environmental management and developing products and tools useful for mainstreaming biodiversity into development, land use planning and informing the policy landscape.

Manager: Energy and Low Emission Development

Christelle Beyers

Christelle brings 25 years’ experience in sustainable development planning. She is an astute sustainability broker and market development strategist for innovative and tangible sustainability outcomes, including sustainability finance. Before ICLEI, Christelle held progressively senior positions with the IlEC, CSIR, IFC (World Bank), Chemonics and UNEP. She has a BSc in Town and Regional Planning, an M(Phil) in Sustainable Development Planning and Management, and is currently pursuing further study in natural resource flows.

PhD Researcher: Circular Development

Garth Malan

While completing his master’s degree, Garth gained a deep appreciation for the integral role that resources play, but more so, the value in increasing their utility. His current research is concerned with the water, energy and food (WEF) nexus, and how it could be operationalized on a city scale towards urban resource security and resilience for Cape Town. Garth holds a BSc MechEng and MBA from the University of Cape Town, is an ECSA registered Professional Engineer and currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University.

Senior Professional Officer: Human Rights Based Approaches

Funmi Adeniyi

Funmi holds a PhD in Law (Human Rights Protection) and has more than a decade of cross-sectoral experience in the private, public and academic spaces. She is skilled in creating and coordinating projects with a human rights-based framework, geared towards policy change, implementation and prioritisation of vulnerable groups. Funmi works at ICLEI Africa as a people-centered rights-based expert on various projects.

Intern: Urban Systems

Zakiyya Atkins

Zakiyya holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Town and Regional Planning from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Prior to joining ICLEI Africa, she gained experience as an Urban Planning and Project Packaging Assistant in the Urban Catalytic Investment Department at the City of Cape Town. Zakiyya has experience as a Research Assistant at CPUT and in the Development Planning Intelligence Management and Research Directorate within the Western Cape Government Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. She has a passion for sustainable development, co-creation, research and innovation.

Caitlin Sole

Caitlin has a background in Ocean and Atmospheric Science from the University of Cape Town. She has just completed a two-year internship at the City of Cape Town in the Sustainable Energy Markets department, where she was part of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Promotion and Facilitation branch. There, she was involved in projects aimed at building awareness around energy and resource efficiency. Caitlin joined the Urban Systems unit at ICLEI Africa in 2022 where she continues to grow her understanding of (among others) systems responses to climate change.

Professional Officer: Urban Nature

Erin Hill

Erin has an MPhil in Environment, Society and Sustainability from the University of Cape Town. Prior to joining ICLEI, Erin worked as a consultant for a company focused on developing climate change adaptation and mitigation project funding proposals. She also has experience in research, data analysis and education. With a multidisciplinary background, Erin is interested in analysing complex qualitative data and learning about creative solutions that benefit society and nature. She joins ICLEI in the biodiversity and nature-based solutions stream where she hopes to further her understanding of and contribute towards the prioritisation of nature and climate-resilient development pathways in urban spaces.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Ivan Pauw

Ivan is a master’s graduate in Sustainable Development Planning and Management from Stellenbosch University. He is passionate about sustainability in Africa. He has a background in economics, food, energy, transdisciplinary research, social entrepreneurship, impact investment and financing the Sustainable Development Goals. He as just over three years’ experience as a project manager and researcher in the field of sustainability and alternative food systems.

Student Intern: Urban Systems

Amélie Claude

Amélie Claude is studying urban planning in a Masters of Territorial Development in Geneva. She started her Masters in September 2020 after completing a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environment with a specialisation in economic history. Her Bachelor’s thesis focused on “Discord in the Tigre and Euphrates regions” to analyze the environmental and political consequences of the Turkish dams on the neighboring countries. Before taking up studies in University of Geneva she studied at business school in Geneva and then in the International School of Tourism in Lausanne. She is now in Cape town to complete her Master’s degree with an internship at ICLEI Africa which will feed into her Masters thesis.

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Willemien obtained a PhD in Media Studies, focusing on China’s environmental and human rights reputation in Africa. Her 12 years of experience ranges from journalism and strategic communication, to academic research in the communication field. Willemien strongly believes that communication plays a vital role in achieving ambitious goals for biodiversity protection, ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Professional Officer: Sustainable Energy Action and Political Liaison

Ayman Aribou

Ayman is a trilingual policy officer and an energy engineer by training. He has solid experience in working at the global network level and a proven track record in political advocacy in an African context. His academic background is in energy transition and governance, as well as energy efficiency and renewables. Ayman has a Master’s degree in Political Science and Social Science from the European Institute in Berlin (Germany), a Master’s degree in Automatic Control of Energy Efficiency from the University of Lorraine in Nancy (France), as well as an Engineering Degree in Renewable Energy from the International University of Rabat (Morocco).

Manager: Biodiversity & Nature

Ursula Wellmann

Ursula Wellmann has a background in Politics and Economics with an undergrad degree in Social Science, a Skills Development Facilitation certificate and a passion for the green economy. Supporting sustainable growth in both the renewable energy sector and Greentech manufacturing was a focus of her recent years’ work. Together with this, her passion for nature and biodiversity resulted in numerous projects implemented supporting decent employment opportunities within the Western Cape’s growing green economy.

Urban Systems

ICLEI Africa’s Urban Systems workstream focuses primarily on the systems that manage and influence the consumption of resources in African cities. By focusing on systems, cities can identify strategic areas of intervention that facilitate more sustainable urban living and unlock broader ecological and social benefits. The workstream’s themes include resource-efficient service provision, resource flows and circular development, ecomobility, visioning sustainable future cities, procurement, finance, capacity building and governance.

AllSenior Professsional Officers
Associate Director: Urban Systems Unit

Paul Currie

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Daniel Adeniyi

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Jehan Bhikoo

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Jokudu Guya

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Kevin Mutia

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Lauren Arendse

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Solophina Nekesa

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Communications Officer

Ruby Schalit

Intern: Urban Systems

Sinethemba Mthethwa

Senior Professional Officer: Urban Planning

Meembo Changula

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Fru Wanka

PhD Researcher: Circular Development

Garth Malan

Senior Professional Officer: Human Rights Based Approaches

Funmi Adeniyi

Intern: Urban Systems

Zakiyya Atkins

Caitlin Sole

Student Intern: Urban Systems

Amélie Claude

Associate Director: Urban Systems Unit

Paul Currie

Paul is fascinated by the multi-layered relationships that give each city its unique flavour. With his Sustainable Development MPhil and current doctoral research, Paul uses urban metabolism, resource nexus and political ecology as lenses for shaping sustainable, inclusive cities. At ICLEI, he supports local governments to apply systems perspectives to food, water, energy and nature, and facilitates the development of policies and plans appropriate to contexts of change and uncertainty.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Daniel Adeniyi

Daniel has over seven years research and project management experience spanning areas including food systems, urban planning, and M&E. His work at ICLEI focuses on how to ensure sustainability of urban food systems and ways of incorporating sustainability principles into urban development plans and processes. Daniel holds Masters (Cum Laude) and PhD degrees in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape. Daniel is a registered city planner and a member of the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA).

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Jehan Bhikoo

Jehan has extensive experience in public sector healthcare design, development and infrastructure delivery. With a deep understanding of the correlation between environmental issues and public health, and the importance of good planning, urban development and policy, she pursued a Masters in Environment and Sustainable Development from University College London (UCL). Positioned within the urban systems team, Jehan is excited to explore a range of areas from mobility to circular development.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Jokudu Guya

Jokudu Guya is an Urban Systems Professional Officer. Her focus areas include Circular Economies, Nexus, and smart cities, amongst other urban systems focus areas. She has a background in city development research and holds a Master of Urban Studies Degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Bachelor’s degree with Honours in Urban and Regional Planning.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Kevin Mutia

Kevin is a Professional Officer at ICLEI Africa, in the Urban Systems unit. He hopes to change public spaces and urban forms in our cities. He especially hopes to do so through research, well analysed data and information, and a duly followed design process for developing plans, frameworks and strategies to improve the quality of urban spaces in Africa. This will ensure that all the users in these spaces, regardless of economic and cultural background, will have a good quality of life.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Lauren Arendse

Lauren has extensive experience in the public infrastructure development and maintenance. She completed a Master’s in Water Science and Engineering from IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. She has a good grasp of integrated water systems from water governance to river and coastal management in the context of global issues like climate change. She is analytically minded and strives to use interdisciplinary and system thinking approaches to translate scientific research to inform better governance, policy or action towards sustainable futures, which is well suited for the urban systems team.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Solophina Nekesa

Solophina is passionate about Green Architecture and Urban Design. She has worked with an architectural practice to plan off-grid sustainable communities and affordable net-zero energy buildings in Uganda. As a sustainability consultant, she has worked on projects that seek to promote comprehensive sustainable practices. Solophina holds a Master of Architecture (Sustainable and Energy Efficient Cities) from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Thea joined ICLEI in 2016 after completing her Master’s at Nelson Mandela University’s Sustainability Research Unit. She initially embarked on a trans disciplinary Master’s, combining her aptitude for communication with her love of nature, learning that your passions and talents will often meet to reveal your vocation. Her expertise ranges from online marketing campaign conceptualization to graphic design and social media management. She has more than 5 years’ experience.

Communications Officer

Ruby Schalit

Ruby recently graduated with a masters in Development Planning from the University of the Witwatersrand with a research focus on informal recycling systems in Johannesburg’s suburbs. Her undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics illustrates her affinity for multidisciplinary ways of thinking. Ruby sees her role as Communications Officer at ICLEI Africa as the perfect marriage between her professional background in marketing and communications, her education and passion for sustainable urban planning, spatial justice and the environment, and her creative flair.

Intern: Urban Systems

Sinethemba Mthethwa

Sinethemba Mthethwa is an intern in the Urban Systems Unit at ICLEI Africa. She holds a BSS (Geography and Environmental Management) degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Food Security. Her work at ICLEI Africa is centered around promoting sustainable urban food systems. Her hopes are to witness a world where hunger and malnutrition are not prevailing challenges in food systems.
Senior Professional Officer: Urban Planning

Meembo Changula

Meembo joined ICLEI-Africa in August 2021, bringing with her more than 18 years’ varied experience in sustainable urban development. With her BSc. and MSc. in Urban and Regional planning, and prior work in Zambia’s central government in various capacities, Meembo has gained leading expertise in urbanisation policy, urban planning legislation, integrated development planning, informal settlement upgrading, and improving national and subnational urban governance capacities. Meembo currently serves as Team Leader and Training Coordinator for the Urban Planning and Development Control Strengthening Program in Tanzania.

Professional Officer: Urban Systems

Fru Wanka

Fru is passionate about food and nutrition security, resource management, economic development, and labour market dynamics. She has over five years of work experience on issues relating to food and nutrition security. Fru holds a Masters in Economics from the University of the Western Cape and is pursuing a PhD degree in Development Studies at the same university. Fru is a member of the Economic Society of South Africa (ESSA).

PhD Researcher: Circular Development

Garth Malan

While completing his master’s degree, Garth gained a deep appreciation for the integral role that resources play, but more so, the value in increasing their utility. His current research is concerned with the water, energy and food (WEF) nexus, and how it could be operationalized on a city scale towards urban resource security and resilience for Cape Town. Garth holds a BSc MechEng and MBA from the University of Cape Town, is an ECSA registered Professional Engineer and currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University.

Senior Professional Officer: Human Rights Based Approaches

Funmi Adeniyi

Funmi holds a PhD in Law (Human Rights Protection) and has more than a decade of cross-sectoral experience in the private, public and academic spaces. She is skilled in creating and coordinating projects with a human rights-based framework, geared towards policy change, implementation and prioritisation of vulnerable groups. Funmi works at ICLEI Africa as a people-centered rights-based expert on various projects.

Intern: Urban Systems

Zakiyya Atkins

Zakiyya holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Town and Regional Planning from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Prior to joining ICLEI Africa, she gained experience as an Urban Planning and Project Packaging Assistant in the Urban Catalytic Investment Department at the City of Cape Town. Zakiyya has experience as a Research Assistant at CPUT and in the Development Planning Intelligence Management and Research Directorate within the Western Cape Government Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. She has a passion for sustainable development, co-creation, research and innovation.

Caitlin Sole

Caitlin has a background in Ocean and Atmospheric Science from the University of Cape Town. She has just completed a two-year internship at the City of Cape Town in the Sustainable Energy Markets department, where she was part of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Promotion and Facilitation branch. There, she was involved in projects aimed at building awareness around energy and resource efficiency. Caitlin joined the Urban Systems unit at ICLEI Africa in 2022 where she continues to grow her understanding of (among others) systems responses to climate change.

Student Intern: Urban Systems

Amélie Claude

Amélie Claude is studying urban planning in a Masters of Territorial Development in Geneva. She started her Masters in September 2020 after completing a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environment with a specialisation in economic history. Her Bachelor’s thesis focused on “Discord in the Tigre and Euphrates regions” to analyze the environmental and political consequences of the Turkish dams on the neighboring countries. Before taking up studies in University of Geneva she studied at business school in Geneva and then in the International School of Tourism in Lausanne. She is now in Cape town to complete her Master’s degree with an internship at ICLEI Africa which will feed into her Masters thesis.

The Climate Change, Energy and Resilience workstream tackles issues of relevance to African cities, including low emission development, climate change adaptation, access to finance and energy, resilience, and disaster risk reduction. The team consists of a diverse set of individuals with backgrounds in energy, economics, environmental science, engineering and planning. Our goal is to co-develop sustainability solutions with our cities, with the aim of enhancing urban resilience on the continent.

CLIMATE CHANGE, ENERGY AND RESILIENCE

AllDirectorsSenior Professsional Officers
Director: Climate Change: Energy & Resilience

Dr Meggan Spires

Manager: Climate Change Resilience

Dr Kate Strachan

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Kirsty Griffin

Professional Officer: Climate change, Energy and Resilience

Carine Lehtem Buma

Professional officer: Climate Change, Energy & Resilience

Dania Petrik

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Meagen Swain

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nelson de Lamare

Professional Officer: Climate Change and Water Resource Management

Tarryn Quayle

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Vanessa Tshite

Senior Communications Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Adél Strydom

Research & knowledge management officer

Claudia Schroder

Communications Officer: Climate and Energy

Jarita Kassen

Communications Officer

Ayanda Mthethwa

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nicola Rule

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Ryan Roberts

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sarah Catto

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Dr. Azizat Gbadegesin

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Lucy Lavirotte

Manager: Energy and Low Emission Development

Christelle Beyers

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sharin Govender

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sayuri Chetty

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Kweku Koranteng

Professional Officer: Sustainable Energy Action and Political Liaison

Ayman Aribou

Director: Climate Change: Energy & Resilience

Dr Meggan Spires

Meggan believes that African cities are places of innovation and potential, where globally relevant solutions are found. She leads the Climate Change, Energy and Resilience workstream at ICLEI Africa, where a diverse team works with African city stakeholders to build resilience, enable low emission development, and improve access to finance and energy. Meggan holds a PhD in Environmental Science and before joining ICLEI Africa worked as a municipal official.

Manager: Climate Change Resilience

Dr Kate Strachan

Kate holds a PhD in Environmental Science, focused on coastal changes associated with climate change. She has a special interest in understanding climate change and the associated risks, especially relating to coastal cities. She has worked with and for local governments to build climate resilience, developing climate adaption plans, and identifying challenges and opportunities associated with natural assets to overcome shocks and stressors associated with climate change.

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Kirsty Griffin

Kirsty holds a Masters in Climate Change and Sustainable Development and joined ICLEI Africa in 2015. Her work focuses on climate change mitigation and adaptation, capacity building, and climate and biodiversity action planning. Kirsty is currently the project manager of ICLEI Africa’s CAPS Project and a member of several highly experienced and dynamic project teams responsible for implementing ICLEI’s key biodiversity and climate change projects.

Professional Officer: Climate change, Energy and Resilience

Carine Lehtem Buma

Carine is passionate about energy, especially given the urgent need for sustainable energy access in Africa. She holds a MSc. in Physics and B.Eng in Petroleum Engineering. Carine joined ICLEI as an intern and is working on climate change and energy projects, including CoM SSA. She has experience in the design, monitoring and evaluation of photovoltaic systems, as well as on technical properties of petroleum products.

Professional officer: Climate Change, Energy & Resilience

Dania Petrik

Dania is a MPhil graduate from the Energy Research Centre, UCT, with a focus on climate change and poverty. Her background in communications equips her to effectively communicate climate related issues. She has over five years’ experience in climate research and consulting, working alongside donor agencies, practitioners, local and national government, regional networks, and with academia to implement a range of projects specifically around building capacity and improved climate governance.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Meagen Swain

Meagen Swain holds a Master of Philosophy in Climate Change and Sustainable Development from the University of Cape Town with a theoretical background in Environmental and Geographical sciences. Before joining ICLEI Africa as a Professional Officer in the Climate Change, Energy and Resilience workstream, she completed the City of Cape Town’s Urban Sustainability Internship Programme, within the City’s Environmental Management Department. During her time at the City of Cape Town, she supported the public participation process of the city’s Climate Change Strategy and assisted in strengthening the strategy and action plan. Her interests lie in climate change, resilience and urban greening.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nelson de Lamare

Nelson is part of both the Climate Change, Energy & Resilience work stream, and the Membership team, while undertaking his MA in International Studies at Stellenbosch University. He has experience working for the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service, a global network of International Voluntary Service CSOs, as well as the culture and education sectors of UNESCO.

Professional Officer: Climate Change and Water Resource Management

Tarryn Quayle

Tarryn joined ICLEI Africa in 2009 and focuses on urban water and sanitation projects through the lens of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Tarryn has a keen interest in co-developing projects that reflect the demand-driven, inclusive and multi-stakeholder approaches integral to supporting sustainable urban development on the continent.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Vanessa Tshite

Vanessa holds a postgraduate diploma in Integrated Water Resources Management and a BSc in Environmental and Water Science from the University of the Western Cape. She joined ICLEI as an intern, working on two main projects – UNA and IMPACT. She has experience assisting with environmental legislation and related projects as an Environmental Compliance Assistant at the City of Cape Town and in the private sector.

Senior Communications Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Adél Strydom

Adél believes in the beauty and power of stories to bring change. She combines an honours degree in Media Theory and Practice with an MPhil in Sustainable Development. Her six years’ experience range from travel, lifestyle and nature to urban metabolism, energy, and climate change. She works with the Climate Change, Energy & Resilience team at ICLEI Africa on communications, focusing primarily on writing and film.

Research & knowledge management officer

Claudia Schroder

Claudia holds degrees in Social Dynamics, Environmental Management and a masters in Environment, Society and Sustainability. Her role as a Research and Knowledge Management enables her to manage the knowledge and information processes for projects while simultaneously exploring the complex dynamics between humans and nature in the face of climate change.

Communications Officer: Climate and Energy

Jarita Kassen

Jarita Kassen spent the last two years working at Eyewitness News producing radio news stories and articles on a variety of topics. She is passionate about climate change and sustainability and excited to work in a communications position that addresses these issues. She has experience liaising with local government officials and gained a good understanding of government structures and communicating about political issues during her studies at the University of Cape Town. She has a BA degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and an Honours degree in Political Communications, focusing on media. She also has a diploma in Business French and has dabbled in design and layout, and podcast production. Jarita will be joining the ICLEI Africa team as a Communications Officer for Energy and Climate Change, specifically to support communications for the CoM SSA Secretariat as well as our LoCS4Africa Virtual Congress, and other related campaigns.

Communications Officer

Ayanda Mthethwa

Ayanda Mthethwa brings with her a strong writing and journalism background. She has a BA Honours in Journalism and Media Studies from North-West University. Before joining ICLEI she worked as a reporter for Daily Maverick and headed up MavericKids where she mainstreamed climate considerations in ways that our younger generation can relate to. At ICLEI she’ll be assisting with project communications for some of our climate and energy projects.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nicola Rule

Nicola is passionate about developing more just and regenerative urban systems through local climate action. She holds a Masters in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University. She has worked in Environmental Management in the local government sector and as a climate change consultant, developing large donor-funded mitigation and adaptation projects with small island developing states (SIDS) and African countries. Nicola recently joined ICLEI to support African cities to develop and implement climate action plans under the CoM SSA initiative.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Ryan Roberts

Born in Johannesburg yet growing up in Durban, Ryan is comfortable having both plenty to do as well as nothing at all. Ryan has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical engineering from the University of Pretoria. He then furthered his studies at Stellenbosch
University in sustainable and renewable energy, obtaining his Master’s in Philosophy in 2017.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sarah Catto

Sarah has three years’ experience consulting in the climate change field, and holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Cape Town in Conservation Biology. She has worked closely with UN agencies, non-profit organisations, and national and regional stakeholders across the Global South. Her expertise includes climate finance, adaptation planning, the global climate change policy environment, and project management. Sarah’s interests lie specifically in adaptation and resilience, unlocking climate finance at the local level, and climate justice.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Dr. Azizat Gbadegesin

Azizat holds a PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering,  and currently works on the CoMSSA, ENACT and AFMEG projects at ICLEI Africa. She has experience in capacity building, research, system  design, as well as project management and implementation in energy efficiency, decentralised renewable energy systems, and energy storage. She is passionate about contributing to sustainable energy development within African cities as the way to the overall development of the African continent.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Lucy Lavirotte

Lucy holds a Msc in Political Science and a MPhil in Climate Change and Development. She has worked on GCF and GEF adaptation project design in several French speaking countries before joining ICLEI Africa in early 2021. Lucy currently works on participatory adaptation action planning, gender inclusion and finance for local climate action under the CoM SSA project.

Manager: Energy and Low Emission Development

Christelle Beyers

Christelle brings 25 years’ experience in sustainable development planning. She is an astute sustainability broker and market development strategist for innovative and tangible sustainability outcomes, including sustainability finance. Before ICLEI, Christelle held progressively senior positions with the IlEC, CSIR, IFC (World Bank), Chemonics and UNEP. She has a BSc in Town and Regional Planning, an M(Phil) in Sustainable Development Planning and Management, and is currently pursuing further study in natural resource flows.

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sharin Govender

Sharin is a Senior Professional Officer at ICLEI Africa. She has over 15 years of experience in the field of environmental management, which to date, has exposed her to a spectrum of environmental issues. Her time working for KwaZulu Natal’s Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs gave her a solid foundation to understand and apply policy and regulatory framework in environmental management. Following this, her career in local government has provided a platform to actively influence environmental planning processes as well as institutionalize climate change action at a sub national scale.

 

Senior Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Sayuri Chetty

Sayuri has an Environmental Science background and more than six years of project management and technical experience working with all spheres of government, private and public sector on a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy topics. Before joining ICLEI Africa in November 2021, she worked for GIZ South Africa and Eskom. Her interests lie in urban energy, equitable and inclusive low carbon development, climate change mitigation and gender mainstreaming.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Kweku Koranteng

Kweku is a professional Officer in ICLEI Africa’s Energy and Climate Resilience workstream. He has over 10 year of experience and has worked with various organisations such as the AfDB, UNDP-Ghana, British Council – Ghana, Ghana Cocoa Bod, World Cocoa Foundation, Overseas Development Institute – UK and Research ICT Africa – South Africa. His 6 years in Sustainable development research focused on the implication of global energy transition on Africa’s urban energy access in marginalised communities. He is exploring transdisciplinary research methods as a cutting-edge approach to address the many challenges found in standardised approaches adopted from the global north.

Professional Officer: Sustainable Energy Action and Political Liaison

Ayman Aribou

Ayman is a trilingual policy officer and an energy engineer by training. He has solid experience in working at the global network level and a proven track record in political advocacy in an African context. His academic background is in energy transition and governance, as well as energy efficiency and renewables. Ayman has a Master’s degree in Political Science and Social Science from the European Institute in Berlin (Germany), a Master’s degree in Automatic Control of Energy Efficiency from the University of Lorraine in Nancy (France), as well as an Engineering Degree in Renewable Energy from the International University of Rabat (Morocco).

BIODIVERSITY AND NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS

This workstream helps cities and urban communities work with nature to design their cities to improve urban health, resilience and well-being. We do this by assisting local governments to adopt green-blue infrastructure solutions, interpret global biodiversity and sustainability targets, and find innovative ways of mainstreaming nature-based solutions. We support local leaders to apply sustainable governance practices and advocate multilevel governance in the negotiation and implementation of the UN Conventions.

AllDirectorsSenior Professsional OfficersThe Team
Director: Biodiversity, Nature & Health

Ingrid Coetzee

Senior Professional Officer: Social-ecological Systems

Dr Ernita Flynn

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Mthobisi Wanda

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Nikara Mahadeo

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Urban Systems

Ryan Fisher

Senior Professional Officer - Global CWN and RWN Coordinator: Recruitment and Advocacy

Stefania Romano

Global Coordinator CitiesWithNature: Technical Development and Knowledge Management

Pieter Botha

Professional Officer: Urban Nature and Nature-based Solutions

Bongiwe Simka

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Intern: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Jade Sullivan

Professional Officer: Urban Nature

Erin Hill

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Manager: Biodiversity & Nature

Ursula Wellmann

Director: Biodiversity, Nature & Health

Ingrid Coetzee

Ingrid has more than 30 years’ experience in sustainability and governance. Her work focuses on mainstreaming nature, its benefits, and nature-based solutions into urban planning and decision-making in cities and city regions thereby helping them become healthier, and more resilient and liveable places. She also serves as technical lead on ICLEI’s biodiversity advocacy work. Ingrid’s expertise includes stakeholder engagement, facilitation, law reform, policy, and strategy development.

Senior Professional Officer: Social-ecological Systems

Dr Ernita Flynn

Ernita Flynn is a senior professional officer (social-ecological systems) at ICLEI Africa and ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center: Urban Biodiversity Work stream. Her work focus is on mainstreaming nature-based benefits in urban environments through planning and implementation. Following initial training in ecology and conservation, Ernita developed an interest in how people and institutions value and interact with the natural environment. She brings 22 years’ experience to the work place.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Mthobisi Wanda

Mthobisi is an environmental practitioner with three years’ experience in the public and NGO sectors. His work experience is varied, having been exposed to a number of sub-disciplines in the broader environmental field. These include biodiversity mainstreaming and mapping ecosystem services. Mthobisi’s practical work experience is complemented by a solid academic grounding through a BSocSc in Geography and Environmental Management, and an Honours in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Nikara Mahadeo

Nikara has over 5 years’ experience working in the conservation sector in South Africa, having previously worked for local NGOs. She holds two masters degrees, MSc Environmental Science (University of KwaZulu-Natal), and MPhil Conservation Leadership (University of Cambridge). At ICLEI Africa, she applies her experience and skills across various projects within the biodiversity team, whilst expanding her understanding of both local and global environmental challenges.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Urban Systems

Ryan Fisher

Ryan has more than 6 years’ experience working for and with subnational governments. Since joining ICLEI Africa in 2013, he has been active in the fields of energy and climate change mitigation, biodiversity and nature-based solutions, food systems, and sustainable transport. With an undergrad in Environmental Management, his expertise include policy review and drafting, facilitation, strategy development and mainstreaming of sustainability good practice into subnational government operations.

Senior Professional Officer - Global CWN and RWN Coordinator: Recruitment and Advocacy

Stefania Romano

With a Public Policy background, Stefania has worked for more ten years for the Italian Ministry of the Environment (IMELS); first posted in Serbia, she was later seconded by IMELS to an international organisation, the Regional Environmental Center (REC), where she has been the Director of the Italian Fund (ITF), targeting specific environmental programs and channelling governmental funds throughout several geographical regions, such as Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the MENA region.

Global Coordinator CitiesWithNature: Technical Development and Knowledge Management

Pieter Botha

As a consultant to UN agencies, he has developed projects for the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and Global Environment Facility in various countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In this work, he has specialised in ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation, in particular nature-based solutions. He has also consulted for South African conservation NGOs. Besides consulting, Pieter
has worked as a freelance journalist, writing about topics such as urban wildlife, plastic pollution and climate change.

Professional Officer: Urban Nature and Nature-based Solutions

Bongiwe Simka

Bongiwe has a strong passion for sustainability and social justice. She holds BSc Honours degrees in Environmental Management and Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. Bongiwe has over 4 years’ experience working on Spatial Biodiversity Planning, Project Coordination and Ecosystem Services research. Her work on mapping and making the case for green and blue infrastructure helped cultivate her interest in integrated environmental management and developing products and tools useful for mainstreaming biodiversity into development, land use planning and informing the policy landscape.

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Thea joined ICLEI in 2016 after completing her Master’s at Nelson Mandela University’s Sustainability Research Unit. She initially embarked on a trans disciplinary Master’s, combining her aptitude for communication with her love of nature, learning that your passions and talents will often meet to reveal your vocation. Her expertise ranges from online marketing campaign conceptualization to graphic design and social media management. She has more than 5 years’ experience.

Intern: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Jade Sullivan

Jade has a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Stellenbosch. She has 1 year and 8 months of experience working in the Urban Catalytic Investment department at the City of Cape Town Municipality as an Urban Planning and Project Packaging Assistant. Jade is currently working as an intern in the Biodiversity and Nature-Based Solutions team. She is an avid reader and is passionate about sustainable development.

Professional Officer: Urban Nature

Erin Hill

Erin has an MPhil in Environment, Society and Sustainability from the University of Cape Town. Prior to joining ICLEI, Erin worked as a consultant for a company focused on developing climate change adaptation and mitigation project funding proposals. She also has experience in research, data analysis and education. With a multidisciplinary background, Erin is interested in analysing complex qualitative data and learning about creative solutions that benefit society and nature. She joins ICLEI in the biodiversity and nature-based solutions stream where she hopes to further her understanding of and contribute towards the prioritisation of nature and climate-resilient development pathways in urban spaces.

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Willemien obtained a PhD in Media Studies, focusing on China’s environmental and human rights reputation in Africa. Her 12 years of experience ranges from journalism and strategic communication, to academic research in the communication field. Willemien strongly believes that communication plays a vital role in achieving ambitious goals for biodiversity protection, ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Manager: Biodiversity & Nature

Ursula Wellmann

Ursula Wellmann has a background in Politics and Economics with an undergrad degree in Social Science, a Skills Development Facilitation certificate and a passion for the green economy. Supporting sustainable growth in both the renewable energy sector and Greentech manufacturing was a focus of her recent years’ work. Together with this, her passion for nature and biodiversity resulted in numerous projects implemented supporting decent employment opportunities within the Western Cape’s growing green economy.

ICLEI Africa’s multi-skilled communications and knowledge management team has extensive experience in the fields of communications, knowledge management and research related to urban sustainability and environmental issues, working at local and subnational government levels. We work closely with the technical workstreams to design effective communications and knowledge management strategies, deliver impactful communications campaigns, resources and events, as well as support with various research needs. We support our members in Africa by profiling their sustainable urban development work.

COMMUNICATIONS AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

AllDirectorsSenior Professsional Officers
Director: Communications & Knowledge Management

Michelle Preen

Senior Communications Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Adél Strydom

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Research & knowledge management officer

Claudia Schroder

Graphic Designer: Graphic design and layout

Widaad Pienaar

Communications Officer: Climate and Energy

Jarita Kassen

Communications Officer

Ruby Schalit

Communications Officer

Ayanda Mthethwa

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Director: Communications & Knowledge Management

Michelle Preen

Michelle has close to 20 years’ experience in the field of environmental communications, most of these within local government, and covering a broad range of environmental issues. Her MSc in Environmental Biology, various communications qualifications and advanced writing skills, allow her to proficiently translate complex issues and concepts into accessible, action-oriented information. Michelle manages communications for ICLEI Africa and the Cities Biodiversity Center.

Senior Communications Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Adél Strydom

Adél believes in the beauty and power of stories to bring change. She combines an honours degree in Media Theory and Practice with an MPhil in Sustainable Development. Her six years’ experience range from travel, lifestyle and nature to urban metabolism, energy, and climate change. She works with the Climate Change, Energy & Resilience team at ICLEI Africa on communications, focusing primarily on writing and film.

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Thea joined ICLEI in 2016 after completing her Master’s at Nelson Mandela University’s Sustainability Research Unit. She initially embarked on a trans disciplinary Master’s, combining her aptitude for communication with her love of nature, learning that your passions and talents will often meet to reveal your vocation. Her expertise ranges from online marketing campaign conceptualization to graphic design and social media management. She has more than 5 years’ experience.

Research & knowledge management officer

Claudia Schroder

Claudia holds degrees in Social Dynamics, Environmental Management and a masters in Environment, Society and Sustainability. Her role as a Research and Knowledge Management enables her to manage the knowledge and information processes for projects while simultaneously exploring the complex dynamics between humans and nature in the face of climate change.

Graphic Designer: Graphic design and layout

Widaad Pienaar

Widaad studied Multimedia Design at The Cape Peninsula University of Technology where she attained her National Diploma and Bachelor of Technology Degree in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Widaad is known for being optimistic, dedicated and detail-oriented. Her love of fine art and talent for design is obvious in her work. Widaad brings valuable creativity to the multi-skilled Communications team at ICLEI Africa.

Communications Officer: Climate and Energy

Jarita Kassen

Jarita Kassen spent the last two years working at Eyewitness News producing radio news stories and articles on a variety of topics. She is passionate about climate change and sustainability and excited to work in a communications position that addresses these issues. She has experience liaising with local government officials and gained a good understanding of government structures and communicating about political issues during her studies at the University of Cape Town. She has a BA degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and an Honours degree in Political Communications, focusing on media. She also has a diploma in Business French and has dabbled in design and layout, and podcast production. Jarita will be joining the ICLEI Africa team as a Communications Officer for Energy and Climate Change, specifically to support communications for the CoM SSA Secretariat as well as our LoCS4Africa Virtual Congress, and other related campaigns.

Communications Officer

Ruby Schalit

Ruby recently graduated with a masters in Development Planning from the University of the Witwatersrand with a research focus on informal recycling systems in Johannesburg’s suburbs. Her undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics illustrates her affinity for multidisciplinary ways of thinking. Ruby sees her role as Communications Officer at ICLEI Africa as the perfect marriage between her professional background in marketing and communications, her education and passion for sustainable urban planning, spatial justice and the environment, and her creative flair.

Communications Officer

Ayanda Mthethwa

Ayanda Mthethwa brings with her a strong writing and journalism background. She has a BA Honours in Journalism and Media Studies from North-West University. Before joining ICLEI she worked as a reporter for Daily Maverick and headed up MavericKids where she mainstreamed climate considerations in ways that our younger generation can relate to. At ICLEI she’ll be assisting with project communications for some of our climate and energy projects.

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Willemien obtained a PhD in Media Studies, focusing on China’s environmental and human rights reputation in Africa. Her 12 years of experience ranges from journalism and strategic communication, to academic research in the communication field. Willemien strongly believes that communication plays a vital role in achieving ambitious goals for biodiversity protection, ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

CITY DIPLOMACY AND MEMBERSHIPS

ICLEI Africa is committed to building and serving the ICLEI network in Africa, working with the Communications and Technical teams to provide a range of services to members. While being a unique commitment to sustainable development, ICLEI membership also grants subnational authorities democratic powers to govern the organisation internationally. We therefore support the ICLEI Africa Committee and its Mayors, both across our continent and globally. We give support and services to our members and network cities, in order to build the ICLEI brand as the leading global sustainability network for subnational governments.

AllDirectors
Deputy Secretary General: ICLEI & Regional Director: ICLEI Africa

Kobie Brand

Coordinator: City Diplomacy and International Relations

Marina Reyskens Lutz

Administration Officer

Faghmieda King

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nelson de Lamare

Professional Officer: Sustainable Energy Action and Political Liaison

Ayman Aribou

Deputy Secretary General: ICLEI & Regional Director: ICLEI Africa

Kobie Brand

Kobie has more than 25 years of practical and managerial experience in Environmental Management and Urban Development. Her expertise range from biodiversity, climate change, coastal management to urban sustainability and planning. She is responsible for the strategic direction, growth, partnerships, programmes and scope of work for ICLEI in Africa. Kobie is also Global Director for ICLEI’s Biodiversity and Nature-based solutions work, and in this capacity heads up the Cities Biodiversity Center embedded in ICLEI Africa.

Coordinator: City Diplomacy and International Relations

Marina Reyskens Lutz

Marina is an international affairs specialist and has previously worked in the International Relations Unit in the Office of the Executive Mayor at the City of Cape Town, South Africa, a position she held since 2016. Prior to her work at the City of Cape Town, Ms Reyskens Lutz worked as a Senior Policy Officer (Political Affairs) at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pretoria.

Administration Officer

Faghmieda King

Faghmieda joined ICLEI Africa in 2014. Her key responsibilities are membership, logistics and office administration. She has 10 years’ experience as entrepreneur developer, coordinating member events, undertaking coaching sessions and other support activities.

Professional Officer: Climate Change, Energy and Resilience

Nelson de Lamare

Nelson is part of both the Climate Change, Energy & Resilience work stream, and the Membership team, while undertaking his MA in International Studies at Stellenbosch University. He has experience working for the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service, a global network of International Voluntary Service CSOs, as well as the culture and education sectors of UNESCO.

Professional Officer: Sustainable Energy Action and Political Liaison

Ayman Aribou

Ayman is a trilingual policy officer and an energy engineer by training. He has solid experience in working at the global network level and a proven track record in political advocacy in an African context. His academic background is in energy transition and governance, as well as energy efficiency and renewables. Ayman has a Master’s degree in Political Science and Social Science from the European Institute in Berlin (Germany), a Master’s degree in Automatic Control of Energy Efficiency from the University of Lorraine in Nancy (France), as well as an Engineering Degree in Renewable Energy from the International University of Rabat (Morocco).

ICLEI Africa’s dedicated and experienced finance and admin team ensures efficient financial and administration systems and procedures are established and maintained to facilitate the smooth running of the organisation and support our work across the continent.

ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE

AllManagers
Financial Manager

Stephanie Babef

Administration Officer

Faghmieda King

Financial Administrator

Mellissa Moses

Manager: Office Operations

Sonya Smith

Project Financial Officer

Dorah Zatu

Project Finance Officer

Labeeqah Van Haaght

Financial Manager

Stephanie Babef

Stephanie has been working at ICLEI Africa since 2011, when she started as an accounting assistant. She is currently Financial Manager, overseeing all of the company’s accounting processes and financial project reporting. She ensures the books are in order for the Annual Financial Statement and the financial deadlines for all projects are respected. Sustainable development has always been a passion of hers, having grown up on a self-sufficient island.

Administration Officer

Faghmieda King

Faghmieda joined ICLEI Africa in 2014. Her key responsibilities are membership, logistics and office administration. She has 10 years’ experience as entrepreneur developer, coordinating member events, undertaking coaching sessions and other support activities.

Financial Administrator

Mellissa Moses

Mellissa has six years’ experience in finance, having assisted in financial management and administration, mainly focused in the financial services sector and more recently within the digital marketing space. Here she also gained project finance experience.

Manager: Office Operations

Sonya Smith

Sonya studied Travel and Tourism and has 22 years’ experience in the travel sector, of which 16 were dedicated to the airline industry. During this time, she worked in every department within the airline’s ground operations. At ICLEI Africa, she is the friendly face greeting staff and visitors at the door. Apart from arranging travel bookings across Africa and beyond, Sonya is also responsible for our well-functioning and organised office.

Project Financial Officer

Dorah Zatu

I have National Diploma in Cost & Management Accounting from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and Higher Certificate in Senior Management Development Programme from the University if the Western Cape (UWC). I have years of experience in working across a broad range of technical financial matters within NPOs, Education, SOC and SMME sectors. My work experience includes full bookkeeping function, compilation of management accounts, payroll management and coordinating internal and externa audits. I have a strong track record of working with NGO’s, preparing funders/donors reports, administering grants and ensuring that spending is incurred consistent with the grant agreement.

Project Finance Officer

Labeeqah Van Haaght

She has completed a National Diploma in Mathematical Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Though her work experience has been gained over various business sectors, Labeeqah has developed a strong passion for NGO’s. It is because of her passion, that she opted to perform her mandatory in-service training at an NGO for whom she volunteered for a short period of time before being
permanently appointed.