Our Team

The ESAVANA team is made up of many people who have contributed to the goals of respect, relationship and reciprocity. For a more complete list of those who have participated through the years, please click here.

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Bukiwe Ntwana is from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. I am in the final stages of completing my MAdmin (by full thesis) degree, concentrating on the effect of Water Management Devices on poor households in Cape Town. I work as a Research Intern at the Institute for Poverty And Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) which is a research institute in the University of the Western Cape. I am part of a team of researchers working on a Project concerning Social protests and water use in South Africa. I previously worked as a field researcher on research concentrating on South African citizens perspective on South Africa before and after South Africa became a democratic state. Furthermore, I have been involved in a research undertaken on social water scarcity and water use in South Africa. I was also involved in a research project concerning water management technologies in Cape Town and Durban.

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Krishna Gurung is a leader in the development of sustainable practices in Kathmandu. Gurung has over 19 years of experience working with impoverished, jobless, and socially stigmatized populations throughout Nepal after having worked as a physiotherapist in two hospitals. His efforts focus on the relationship between human populations and ecological systems to develop integrative solutions to world problems today. The Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation (KRMEF) was founded in 2008 to bring Gurung‟s intentions to fruition. Gurung has extensive experience in bio-dynamic agriculture, sustainable building practices, and community development, looking the life from Anthroposophic prospective. He together with friends (Hand Mulder) have been going several places of Nepal teaching community development through biodynamic practices. Utilizing these methods, he has created successful economic development, land revitalization, community health, and sustainable building projects. Gurung completed his Physiotherapy in India. He then worked in some hospitals in Kathmandu for needy people. Gurung received International Post Graduate Medical Training (IPMT) in India. He has been honored with six National Awards for Service, Innovation, and Peace and achieved. Gurung‟s expertise in Anthroposophical medicine and biodynamic agriculture systems of community development has led to speaking Engagements at Rudolf Steiner College, University of Virginia, Bard College (USA).

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Claudia J. Ford has had a global career spanning three decades and all continents. Her professional experience includes management of programs in environment and natural resource management, public health, women‟s empowerment, civic participation, and girl’s education for academic, development and humanitarian organizations. Some of Claudia’s international and US partners include: The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, Margaret Sanger Center International, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Angel Network, Nelson Mandela Children‟s Fund, DATA, UNHCR, USAID, The World Bank, The Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and The Social Marketing Company. Claudia is a PhD student in environmental studies with research interests in gender, traditional ecological knowledge, historical ethnobotany and sustainable agriculture. Claudia is also a midwife, an artist, and a published writer, and she has shared the adventures and challenges of her worldwide work and travel with her four children.

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Hlekani Muchazotida Kabiti is currently based at the University of Venda, in Limpopo Province of South Africa. She was born and grew up in Zimbabwe. She is a Masters student in Agricultural Economics and is working on agricultural commercialisation of smallholder farmers. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Agri Business Management. She interest in community development through agricultural practices. She has been participating in a community development program called Amplifying Community Voices, which is based at the University of Venda. She is the deputy Chairperson of the student chapter of Amplifying Community Voices. She also serves as a tutor in the department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at the University of Venda. She took part in ESAVANA 2012 Edition.

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Joseph Francis is a development practitioner- cum academic who holds a PhD, specializing in integrated crop-livestock systems, obtained from the University of Zimbabwe. Currently, he is an Associate Professor as well as Director of the Institute for Rural Development at the University of Venda in South Africa. He has worked as a university academic for more than 16 years, during which time he has extensively worked with grassroots communities in various countries in Southern Africa, in particular Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. For the past five years his work has been concentrated within communities in Vhembe District of Limpopo Province in South Africa. Of particular note is his leadership of the on-going Amplifying Community Voices programme in Vhembe District. His competencies encompass both academic and participatory process facilitation. Prof Francis has vast and extensive experience in research and documentation; field application of participatory development approaches; research coordination and postgraduate student supervision; monitoring and evaluation of development programmes/projects; livestock production and nutrition; agricultural extension; rural development; rural community development planning; social and community mobilization; community empowerment; local government and open learning or distance education. He has authored academic books/booklets, scientific papers published in various peer-reviewed journals and self-study books/manuals for use by smallholder farmers and grassroots community members.

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Siddhartha Pailla is a graduate student in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He received his BS in Systems and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia, and is pursuing a PhD in Systems Engineering. His research interests include absorptive capacity in developing communities, entrepreneurship as a pathway for increasing absorptive capacity, and infrastructural policy and system building. Over his research career, Sid has worked on district- level water supply infrastructure assessment in Nalgonda, India and local water supply and filtration in Limpopo, South Africa. He started an NGO and is currently working on a start-up focusing on SMS-to-web networking and communication platform for stakeholders involved with community development. Outside of academics, Sid is involved across the student sphere: Student Council, Range, and graduate student affairs, Engineering organizations, etc. He loves reading and rocking on the Range, watching college and professional football, enjoys listening to TED-like talks, and volunteering in educational services.

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O.G.S.O. Kgosidintsi is an environmental scientist, professional photographer, and documentarian. His interests lie in IT-based solutions for the environment. He has done work with water quality management, GIS, and remote sensing. Particularly, his professional background involves Environmental Engineering/ Technology/ Sciences-Water Resources, Quality and Development, Waste Management, Soil Science Remote Sensing, GIS, Environmental Education. He has produced several documentaries and his professional photography has been highlighted in many countries. OGSO has worked in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and South Africa. He enjoys traveling and trying new cultures.

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Martin Kigozi is an Environmental scientist, who has a background from Geography at undergraduate and currently a graduate student at Makerere University Uganda pursuing MS Environmental Science and Natural Resources. After his first degree he got involved in a Community Climate Change Adaptation project in Gogonyo sub-county Pallisa District eastern Uganda, he interacted with the indigenous local communities majorly affected by seasonal floods which largely affected their livelihoods, live-stocks, cultivation fields, and all the infrastructures. Currently, he is a graduate student doing research with IHACC (Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change) a case of Batwa-pygmies of south western Uganda and is doing research on climate change and livelihoods on mostly on domestic natural water purification. These communities we ignore really are gifted with a lot of important information and ideas which we don’t know and may be very important to solve global climate change issues, so social capital is maximally important in doing research work. Always when doing research questions and proposals change according to the community dynamics hence as researchers we should be flexible and ready to change for the good and betterment of our scientific research. Hobbies; am a fan of soccer, play basketball and as well a good athlete (long distance races). Martin enjoys dancing and music, he likes making jokes too.

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Shuaib Lwasa is a geographer with twelve years University teaching and research at Makerere University, Uganda. He received a PhD in Geography from Makerere University, a Masters degree in GIS at ITC, Netherlands, a Masters degree in Land Use Planning from Makerere University and his Bachelors in Geography from Makerere University. Research interests include urban environmental management, livelihood systems, hazard and vulnerability assessment in both rural and urban environments. He has worked on multi-disciplinary and inter- disciplinary research projects utilizing geospatial technologies on coupled social and environmental systems. Recent publications topics include adaptation to climate change, land and property rights, land use and land cover change, vulnerability assessment and spatial planning for sustainable development.

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Kelebogile Mfundisi is a Physical Geographer specializing in water resources management and biogeochemistry. She holds a Doctor of Natural Sciences in Geography from Bonn University, Germany; Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Professional Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from University of New Haven, USA. She previously worked as a Research Scholar at the University of Botswana Okavango Research Institute, and is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Polytechnic of Namibia. She is involved in a flood mapping and modeling project for improved disaster risk management in Northern Namibia. She enjoys hiking, cycling and meeting people from different cultures. In 1996 she reached the peak of the highest mountain in South East Asia, Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia. She has lived in Germany, United States of America, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia.

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Prof Harold Annegarn has researched atmospheric pollution, environmental management and energy efficient housing in southern Africa for 30 years. He is currently employed as a Research Professor, in the Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies, at the University of Johannesburg. His current research interests are on energy and sustainable Megacities, through the EnerKey Sustainable Megacities Programme, in partnership with the University of Stuttgart; and the development and testing of improved domestic combustion stoves, and their contribution to air pollution reduction and climate protection. He has supervised over thirty MSc and PhD students, from several African countries.

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Jan Vermeulen started his career as a Human Resources practitioner, became an HR Manager in the financial services sector and eventually involved in corporate consulting specialising in performance management. In the early nineties he relocated to Bushbuckridge to work full time in the field of poverty alleviation. He facilitated the establishment of Pfunanani Co-operative and Credit Union and the Bushbuckridge community radio station. He also established the Bushbuckridge Local Business Service Centre in Acornhoek, in 1995. He led a SMME research programme in the Limpopo Province which culminated in the establishment of a Central Business Service Centre (now Libsa) to facilitate, support and co-ordinate small business service providers and BDS activities in the province. As BLBSC co-ordinator he initiated a number of locally owned enterprises including a Peppadew farm; a commercial poultry farm; a state-of-the-art shade-cloth vegetable production farm; community based tourism and craft production, all of which were assisted by numerous direct business development support activities. For the last couple of years he has been involved with a wide range of projects inter alia researching micro finance opportunities in Mozambique, natural resource business opportunities, income generation for child-headed households, community leadership development, M&E services, development of community owned tourism enterprises in the Tzaneen area and supporting communities (Community Property Associations) in the effective use of their recently restituted land.

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Loren Intolubbe-Chmil is a Teaching & Research Associate at the University of Virginia and Adjunct Faculty at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, whose work centers on education for change and transformative teaching & learning that centers on social justice and civic engagement. Loren has been working with the ESAVANA-related January term course and study abroad course since 2009, in addition to advising on several field-based research experiences in a variety of settings as engaged scholarship initiatives.

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Augusto Francisco Manuel Castilho grew up at Beira in Mozambique. He loves to play volleyball, watch movies and read books, and also hang out with friends. He is currently living in Maputo where he did his Bachelor Degree in Crop Production in Eduardo Mondlane University. He is currently doing an Energy Planning course sponsored by a coal mine company called Vale Mozambique and the University of Amsterdam. He worked as a data collector for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at Maputo, which was concerned about the Evaluation of Urban Risk of Earthquakes. Moreover, he worked as a data collector in a project sponsored by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to evaluate the impact of lethal yellow palm (Coconut’s disease) on generated revenue of households leaving in rural areas in Zambezia and Nampula Provinces in Mozambique.

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Caroline Berinyuy is from Cameroon and has a bachelors in English and French languages from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, a masters in educational leadership from the University of Florida at Gainesville and a PhD in comparative and international education from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Previously, she worked as a foreign language teacher and as technical trainer and education training coordinator for Peace Corps in Cameroon. Currently she is program director for the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP) Cameroon. She has participated in the ESAVANA January term (J-Term) since 2008.

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Shirley Pendlebury is an emeritus professor in the School of Education at the University of Cape Town. She is former director (2007-2012) of the Children’s Institute, a transdisciplinary child policy research and advocacy institute in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Prior to her appointment at UCT, she was a Professor of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), where she also served as director of teacher education and, subsequently, Head of the Wits School of Education. She has a PhD in Philosophy of Education. Social justice, human rights, inclusion and democracy have been enduring themes in her research, publications, conference presentations and postgraduate research supervision. She has conducted collaborative, cross-country research with colleagues in Mozambique, India, Bosnia, Serbia, the UK, Ireland, Sweden and the USA on such topics as inclusive education, curriculum and democratic citizenship, and the participatory rights of children and youth. She is currently part of a UCT transdisciplinary research group on Healthy Cities for Children. She is particularly interested in translating research findings into publications that are useful and accessible to policy-makers, community groups, youth and other stakeholders. Shirley has also worked as a secondary school teacher and a librarian, has taught English as a foreign language to adults, and has run her own small publishing house. Hiking, riding on trains, reading and writing poetry, reading obscure theoretical books, and theatre are among her interests. She was a founder member of Workshop ’71, a political theatre group that performed protest theatre against apartheid during the 1970s.

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Bob Swap was recently named Virginia Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Bob’s current research focuses on how broad global change shapes environmental systems in the developing world. With more than twenty years of conducting international scientific research, he is passionate about understanding core relationships between humans and their environment, and how those interactions impact developing ecosystems. His work examining the intersection of environmental science and human health has expanded into collaboration with the UVA Schools of Education, Medicine, Nursing and Engineering. Bob has also developed courses under the recently launched Global Development Studies Major such as “Global Development on the Ground” and “Useful Knowledge and Its Impact on Local and Global Communities.” He acts a student advisor for both graduate and undergraduate students and with particular emphasis on mentoring the development and reflective synthesis of international service learning projects. Bob is dedicated to participatory educational experiences as he feels they are an essential component of a comprehensive university education.