A bit more about the team behind Zingela Ulwazi
Becky Harmon comes to Zingela Ulwazi with more than 20 years of experience as a Non-Profit Director, including 6 years in South Africa. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and holds a Clinical Social Worker license. She has also worked on international HIV projects in Botswana, Lesotho, and China and loved every minute of it.
Throughout her work history, Becky has always been hired to be “the first”, or the one to come in and build, or rebuild organizations or programs. She has a unique ability to connect with and build meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life–all races, ages, and ethnicities–and to share joy and humor, even in the most difficult life situations. She learns new things very quickly and is a calm, adept problem solver.
During her time as the Director of a Non-Profit Organization in South Africa, Becky was approached by a community group who wanted to start an Orphan Centre to care for the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in their village. Becky orchestrated the fund raising of over $400,000 U.S. and oversaw all planning and construction for the creation of a unique, landmark Orphan Center. It now serves over 200 children per day with meals, homework tutoring, and arts and sports activities. It is fully owned and operated by the community. She also developed and established the Acornhoek Leadership Forum, a yearlong program to develop leadership capabilities among bright, committed South Africans who were dedicated to uplifting their communities.
Becky has also been a small business owner and taught small business enterprise development to women in prison in America. She has completed extensive coursework on permaculture and on climate change and environmental issues, and cares deeply about inspiring and supporting people in rural communities to be careful stewards of our precious planet.
Anna Molala is a Permaculture expert, having been mentored by John Nzira, one of the foremost Permaculture authorities in Africa. She is a permaculture facilitator and project leader for her community. She loves working with nature and nature loves her. She thrives on motivating and inspiring women, youth and people living with disabilities to be self confident, and to move from distress to becoming sustainable farmers and growing their own healthy foods. She is an expert in seeds and indigenous trees. Anna exudes love wherever she goes and is a champion of independent women.
Blogger & Special Correspondent
December Ndhlovu has decades of experience as a community and environmental activist, and brings his skill as a writer and researcher to Zingela Ulwazi’s communications, as our resident blogger. December has been passionately advocating for water rights, sacred sites and indigenous knowledge systems and is a member of the South African Water Caucus and Mpumalanga Water Caucus. A graduate of Changing Practice (EMG/Rhodes University), December researched and co-authored the booklet “Saving Moholoholo“, which explores how the eucalyptus plantations that cover Moholoholo mountain affect stream flow of rivers that run through Bushbuckridge. The impact on close to a million peoples’ water supply is devastating, also affecting traditional healers’ practice by destroying sacred pools and reducing the availability of medicinal plants.
Enterprise Development Educator
Agnes Rapau heads up our Enterprise Development education, bringing 20+ years of experience teaching enterprise development in rural South African communities. She is also an entrepreneur, owning 3 businesses of her own : Learn From Us Solutions Pty Ltd; SATUMO sewing and embroidery Pty Ltd and Nako Yaka Kids Program(NPO).
Agnes has founded several projects to uplift disadvantaged youth and children, including Learn From Us Farmers in 2014, teaching small scale farmers to use natural resources in a sustainable way and to grow nutritional food in their back yards. Agnes started working with medicinal plants when she was 15, which developed into a deep passion. Agnes also works with Conservation South Africa, where she coordinates the Green Economy and Green learning programs; supervises YES4Youth programme and Green Business development. She coaches, mentors, facilitates trainings, organizes environmental awareness and stakeholder engagements. What drives Agnes is assisting people to be aware of their potential to deal with poverty and social and environmental issues.
Agnes holds a wealth of knowledge about every aspect of small enterprise development and is an excellent teacher, tackling complex concepts in a way that is understandable and accessible to all of our participants, regardless of their educational level. She has firsthand experience of the harshness of growing up vulnerable in rural South Africa, and brings tremendous wisdom, heart, kindness and love to all she does. We are so fortunate to have her as an integral part of our team.
Lillian Marule lives in RDP Village in Acornhoek and is the Permaculture Explorers Community Liaison to the other women participants, civic and traditional structures in the area. She is a highly respected member of her community, having volunteered for many years in various projects serving orphans and vulnerable children. She is a child magnet! Lillian has completed her Level 4 Certification for Early Childhood Education, worked at Ekurhuleni Centre for Orphans and Vulnerable Children and at Sibonile Day Care and Primary School Centre. Lillian is also the founder of Sekwanele (It’s Over) : Protection Strategies for Violence Against Women, a courageous project which aims to change the culture in RDP Village and put an end to the relentless violence that women and girls are subject to. Lillian is passionate about building her own and other women’s businesses and loves to grow and learn. She is an invaluable part of our Permaculture Explorers team and a champion of women in Acornhoek, and is absolutely key to the design of Zingela Ulwazi’s programs.
Jane Caroline Burt
Jane is in charge of our Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning processes and is the Project Manager for Changing Practice: Capacity Building and Mobilizing Civil Society for Water Justice. She is an independent researcher, monitoring and evaluation practitioner, environmental educator and environmental justice activist focusing on socio-ecological research, environmental learning and social change, with 19 years of experience in change-orientated environmental learning processes and participatory action research in the water and climate change sector. Jane works across a range of sectors, including water resource management, civil society inclusion and strengthening, biodiversity and climate change, gender and stakeholder engagement. She is a senior associate (transformational learning) for Emerald Networks, an international consultancy, project manager for the Environmental Monitoring Group and a research associate of the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC), Rhodes University. Jane is currently completing a PhD which is part of an international research programme on Trangressive learning coordinated through the ELRC. She is also a member of the South African Water Caucus, a civil society movement and network in the water sector.