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Communications

Michelle Preen

Senior Manager: Communications, Membership and Knowledge Management

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, as well as oversees the membership team.

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.

Related Projects

Cities are complex, dynamic, political systems. We bring together the right people and an understanding of the political economy of individual cities to identify and address the critical challenges they are facing. Our aim is to generate insights and evidence that will help improve the living conditions, services and life chances of all city residents, particularly for disadvantaged communities.
Building more inclusive and sustainable food systems has the catalytic potential to offer several economic and development benefits to all people, especially the poor and disadvantaged.
Facilitating the engagement of local governments, local partners, investors, financiers and food system stakeholders for investment in urban food systems programmes.
We support the mitigation of climate change impacts through the development of an enabling regulatory and financial environment to accelerate the transition to e-mobility through the deployment of electric motorcycles and buses in Rwanda.

Related Resources

The Team

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.

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