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Urban systems

Kobie Brand

Regional Director: ICLEI Africa

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.

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.

Related Projects

We, together with various partners, are jointly delivering activities under the SESA project, which aims at providing energy access technologies and business models that are easily replicable and generate local opportunities for economic development and social cohesion in selected sites in nine African countries.
We are supporting and facilitating capacity building within coastal cities and the transfer of knowledge and expertise to harness the potential of these cities. We are assessing needs of coastal cities’ in the Western Indian Ocean region through a key stakeholder engagement workshops and delivering trainings on adapting to climate change and enhancing resilience.
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.

Related Resources

The Team

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.

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