the Team

 

 

Directors

sHANTHA BLOEMEN

Shantha has spent the last two decades working in international humanitarian and development assistance In Africa & Asia. She now eager to put her experience into this venture that she believes will make a difference in rural women’s lives. She has worked on a variety of communication initiatives and has been actively involved in getting media attention to child rights, global health and poverty. She has travelled extensively across the continent to provide communication support in Sub Saharan Africa. She was based in China until 2017, where she managed UNICEF's external relations. She has a master's degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and an honors’ degree in History from University of Western Australia. She was a recipient of the Soros Documentary Fund and ITVS grant for her documentary T-Shirt Travels, the story of second hand clothes and third world debt that was screened in public television in the US in 2001.

Qelani Lillian Dhliwayo Makina

Qelani has more than 17 years’ experience in the banking and finance sector.  She is currently head of Private Banking at Stanbic Bank in Zimbabwe and has worked extensive in the region. She has a BA in Economics from Franklin & Marshall College USA and was Iacocca Scholar Business Leadership Iacocca Institute Lehigh University USA. She has worked for First Merchant Bank Zimbabwe, Banc ABC Zimbabwe, Kingdom Bank Zimbabwe and Genesis Investment Bank Zimbabwe.

Felicity D Tawengwa

Felicity is a managing director at Shaka Hills Farm which was established in 1977.  She oversees the production, wholesaling and export of vegetables for markets in UK, Europe and Southern Africa. The farm specializes in production of mange-tout peas, sugar snap peas, baby corn and fine beans with on-site internationally certified grading and packing facilities.  The company is also a primary producer of small grain crops for local market and full range of vegetables and meats for wholesalers, hotels and retail outlets in Zimbabwe.  Felicity is an ACCA qualified Accountant having trained in the UK.  Her work experience is wide having started her career in banking in Zimbabwe then working for various companies in the UK such as BP Exploration & Production,Letheby & Christopher, Whitbread and Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals.

James KeelEy

James is an international development consultant, based in China who speaks Mandarin. He has spent the two decades of working in Africa and China, including as a researcher on soils management and agricultural biotechnology in Zimbabwe.  He managed the award-winning UK Department for International Development funded AgriTT Agricultural Technology Transfer project, a partnership with Chinese agencies, implemented in Malawi and Uganda.  He has worked as a Senior Researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED,UK), and as a researcher at the UK Institute for Development Studies(IDS). 

 

TECHNICAL team

Dorah Mwengye – Research Coordinator is an agronomist and development practitioner who has extensive experience in participatory research, rural agriculture development and innovation.  She has worked across the countries to do research and evaluation.

Jorum Dambana – Mechanical Technician will provide support to the local assembly of the tricycles. When he finished school, he undertook to study mechanics.  He graduated and spent a year in Mozambique working in mechanics. He now runs a company that supplies timber and gum poles for mining and has a joint venture stake in a 30-ton truck company.  In his spare time, he coaches school athletics. MFA has a team of 4 trained technicians that can assemble, repair and maintain the tricycles, 2 rural “Electric Lady Agents” who help mobilize rural communities, a rural researcher, who is conducting focus group and managing our evidence collection, a pilot manager, a technical solar charging station manager as well as a bookkeeper.

Fadzai Eniah Mavhuna is a recent Development Studies graduate who came highly recommended and has landed on her feet. With her passion in community development and women empowerment, and having spent her internship year working at the Hwedza local district office, she could not be better qualified to help us manage the rural outreach. Fadzai is currently studying towards her Executive Certificate in Programme and Project Monitoring and Evaluation at the University of Zimbabwe.

Thandi Carlin was also part of the MSU team and since graduated with a degree in Automobile Electronics at Kwekwe Polytechnics, has joined the pilot team. She did her internship at the National Railways of Zimbabwe during her studies. As an energetic auto electrician, she will be working hard in the community to improve the tricycle and adapt the design to better tailor for off road conditions.

 Kundai Takawira, one of our star students from MSU, has now joined us as our recharging technician on the pilot. He has taken on the job of managing our battery swapping system and collecting evidence on how it will work, how much power we create and how we can measure the potential of off grid charging.  He holds a National Certificate in Electronic Communication Systems in Zimbabwe. He did his internship at the National Railways of Zimbabwe during his studies and is eager to now apply his skills to the MFA pilot.

Silas Dutiro, our bookkeeper and I first met in 2003 when he was 13 years old.  He lived in a rural area with his sister. Silas has gone on to excel at school and completed his accounting degree at the National University of Science and Technology.  He will help us with keeping track of our expenses.