Democracy Works Foundation has a network of expert professionals, the Associates, at its disposal to help the organisation design and implement projects. Our Associates are experts and thought-leaders in their own right and continue to play a pivotal role in assisting Democracy Works Foundation provide tools to build resilient democracies.
Raisa is an urban development specialist with a specialisation in building resilient cities. She has worked in the fields of food security affordable housing, and sustainable livelihoods, leveraging development finance and impact opportunities to create sustainable human settlements in a changing climate. She has worked for various international and local NGOs, government agencies and the private sector to gather, analyse and strategically communicate data and market intelligence for more evidence-based policy and investment decision making and believes that transparent, accessible and collaborative data is the bedrock of democratic, safe, and resilient cities and human settlements.
Geralda Wildschutt is the CEO of Maisha Social Solutions Pty Ltd, a management consultancy company specializing in corporate sustainability and partnership brokering. Her experience spans across the mining, banking, government and social sectors and she has worked in more than 15 countries across Africa, South America, North America and Australia. Geralda is an Educational Psychologist and has lectured for School of Government at the University of the Western Cape, in Organizational Development and Introduction to Research. She is a Director of SAICA Enterprise Development and the Anglo American Namibia Foundation. She holds a Master Degree in Psychology from UCT and a MBA from BSN, as well as Post-graduate Certificates in Cross-sector Partnerships and Advanced Social Management from Cambridge University.
Venitia is a long-time anti-apartheid and human rights activist and campaigner, who has worked in government, civil society and independently as a consultant on issues of conflict resolution and peacebuilding as part of the South African National Peace Accord during the height of the violence during the 1990’s and continued to develop and support the establishment of local community peace committees and local community based advice offices in the country. Recent consultancies undertaken included engagement in areas of conflict, children’s rights, human rights violations and investigations in countries such as South Sudan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Swaziland and South Africa for social movements, INGO’s, the African Union and the United Nations amongst others.
She has developed and managed campaigns involving multiple partners for the protection of civilians in armed conflict and set up the Southern African Hub of the international crisis response network “Crisis Action”. Her work involves the production of campaign and advocacy materials, situational analyses, and position papers, conducting organisational mapping exercises, gap analyses and evaluations. She has experience in using participatory research methods with children and adults, including facilitating focus groups on community’s access to rights for (CAFOD/Save the Children, HIVOS amongst others) in the African region (Zimbabwe, DRC, South Sudan, Sudan), Middle East (Syria) and South East Asia.
Dr. Henry Chingaipe is a Malawian Political Scientist. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Political Science from the University of York (UK) with a specialization in Political Economy of Governance and Development; a Master’s Degree in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge (UK), and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political and Administrative Studies from the University of Malawi. He has served as Research Officer for the Malawi Parliament; Lecturer and Researcher in Political Science at the University of Malawi, Tutor and Post-doctoral Teaching Fellow in Politics of Development at the University of York.
He is an experienced researcher and a former university lecturer. His areas of competence include public policy analysis, institutional analysis and development, state theory and praxis, political theory and governance, democratisation, state-society relations, the politics of international aid and development effectiveness and public sector management and reforms. In elections, he has worked on or taught electoral system designs, election management bodies, electoral violence and electoral reforms. As a consultant, he supported the Malawi Electoral Commission to develop a Civic and Voter Education Strategy for the 2014 general election; Served as Lead Consultant for the civil society electoral reforms process in Malawi after the 2014 election and as Election Situation Room political scientist in 2019 and 2020. For DWF, he carried out the political economy analysis of the energy (electricity) and water sectors; designed and facilitated political parties’ score card methodology workshops; carried out the analysis of political party manifestoes for the 2019 general election focusing on pledges and promises in the energy and water sectors and led the development of a Manifesto Pledge Tracker
He is the Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Social Empowerment (IPRSE)- a growing think tank providing consultancy and advisory services in the realm of governance and development; Advisor to the National Planning Commission on Governance and Development; Reviewer for the Journal of African Elections for the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa and Member of the Board of Directors for Malawi’s Higher Education Student Loans and Grants Board.
Tara Polzer Ngwato
Tara Polzer Ngwato is a Director at Social Surveys Africa, one of the region’s preeminent social policy and research companies, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has twenty years of experience designing, managing and conducting research on a wide range of social development topics, with thematic focus areas in human migration and mobility; conflict transformation, social cohesion and violence early warning; traditional and informal community (self)governance systems; and near-mining communities. Her methodological expertise ranges across all the main forms of qualitative and quantitative and mixed approaches, with particular interests in participatory and adaptive M&E and data literacy training. She has a particular interest in the effective communication of research findings and the use of research as a tool for achieving social transformation and informing strategic decision-making. Her prior experience includes being Head of Research for the Royal Bafokeng Administration, a traditionally governed near-mining community in South Africa. She also spent ten years as Senior Researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg with the African Centre for Migration & Society researching xenophobic violence and Zimbabwean migration and teaching postgraduate migration studies courses. Prior to Wits, Polzer Ngwato worked with Transparency International and the GTZ. She has also consulted widely for South African, African and global organisations including UNHCR, UN OCHA and the IFRC. Polzer Ngwato is widely published and holds a PhD and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University.
Alexander is an independent development professional and political analyst. A Zimbabwean Rhodes Scholar with an MPhil in Development Studies from Oxford and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, her areas of specialisation include democratisation, governance, and conflict management.
Alexander has moved from work on Transitional Justice in central and east Africa through managing Idasa's States in Transition Observatory to leading Idasa's Measuring and Monitoring Democracy strategic team. She recently managed the Web Index for the World Wide Web Foundation, and has co-edited the books A Fine Balance: Assessing the Quality of Governance in Botswana and Peace in the Balance: The Crisis in Sudan.
To read publications by Karin Alexander on our website please click here.
Kate is an independent researcher and evaluator with more than fifteen years of experience working in Southern Africa. She specializes in monitoring and evaluation (M&E), research design, qualitative and quantitative methods, and data analysis and has worked with a wide range of clients from civil society and academic institutions, as well as both the private and public sector. Kate’s background is in civil society research. She managed the South African Reconciliation Barometer Survey at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) from 2009 to 2013 and worked as a researcher at Idasa in both the Political Information and Monitoring Services (PIMS) and Southern African Migration Project (SAMP). She has conducted social and policy research in the areas of social cohesion, public participation and good governance, and migration and xenophobia. She has published widely, including as commissioning editor of Rethinking Reconciliation: Evidence from South Africa (Human Sciences Research Council Press, 2017) as well as in academic journals, international research reports and the popular press.
Dr Athi Msutu is the Managing Director at AMQ Advisory. Her management consulting experience comes from a five-year tenure at a top-tier global management consulting firm AT Kearney and working independently, having recently started her own firm (AMQ Advisory). Her expertise spans the management consulting spectrum, from strategy (strategy, financial forecasting and revenue optimisation) to operations (transformation, process optimisation, organisational design and supply chain management/procurement). She has applied this expertise in working with public and private sector clients in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, across a number of industries.
Thandi Matthews is an attorney with experience in the private and public legal sectors in South Africa. She is a Senior Legal Officer at the South African Human Rights Commission, focusing on the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights by various state and non-state actors. Her interests lie in analysing the relationship between human rights, governance and society, and her academic work has been published in the South African Journal of Human Rights. She comments frequently in various media publications and panel discussions on issues affecting South Africa’s youth, with a particular emphasis on social transformation and its intersection with race and gender. She also sits as a non-executive Board member of the AIDS Consortium, an NGO which serves over 200 affiliated members in the HIV/AIDS and Human Rights sectors. Thandi holds a Masters in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University based at The Hague (Netherlands); a Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Bachelor of Social Sciences from the University of Cape Town. In 2015 she was selected by the US State Department as a Fulbright / Hubert Humphrey Fellow and based at the University of Minnesota Law School, United States.
To read publications by Thandi on our website please click here.
Mandisa Mbali is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University. Her main research interest is in health policy and activism, considered as interrelated phenomena, both transnationally and within South Africa. She has explored this theme in relation to several particular foci, namely: AIDS activism and policies; gender and sexuality and the politics of health; and, race and ethics in international health. In 2013 she published her scholarly monograph South African AIDS Activism and Global Health Politics with Palgrave Macmillan as part of their Global Ethics series. Her more historical work has involved documenting transnational debates between anti-apartheid activists and the World Medical Association (WMA) over the issue of apartheid in the 1980s.
Dr David Monyae is co-director of the Confucius Institute. He is an International Relations and Foreign Policy expert providing advisory and management services to organisations, companies and institutions. In his role as a policy analyst at the Development Bank Southern Africa, he undertook major research on Regional Economic Communities in Africa. He holds a PhD in International Relations and is the Section Manager: International Relations Analysis for the Parliament of South Africa, where he provides Strategic Management, Parliamentary Foreign Policy Formulation, Monitoring and Analysis. He has lectured on South Africa's foreign policy and Africa's International Relations in the Department of International at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has published widely and is a respected political analyst featuring in both national and international media outlets.
To read publications by David Monyae on our website please click here.
Patience is a skilled trainer, researcher and material developer and an accredited trainer to the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) programme, with particular focus on the socio-economic and political development of the African region. Her areas of speciality and interest centre on working with youth, women and political parties in leadership development and democratic governance issues. She has worked in Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, where she has been championing the rollout of the Initiative for Leadership and Democracy in Africa (ILEDA).
Her research interests are in gender, conflict, social capital and civic agency. She holds a Masters’ degree in Public and Development Management from the University of Witwatersrand, a Masters degree in Monitoring and Evaluation from Stellenbosch University and an Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Zimbabwe.
To read publications by Patience Zonge on our website please click here.
Sithembile is a lecturer in the department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria lecturing in international relations and South African politics. She was previously a researcher in the secretariat of the National Planning Commission in the Presidency of South Africa where she focused on public service reform and anti-corruption policy where she contributed to the drafting of the National Development Plan. Prior to this she worked as a political researcher at IDASA (Institute for Democracy in Africa) where she was responsible for Parliamentary monitoring and political analysis.
She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pretoria, writing a thesis on South African foreign policy in the United Nations Security Council. She comments frequently in the media on a range of issues in South African politics.
Senior Finance Officer
Jean Scrimgeour is a public diplomacy and democratic governance specialist with experience working in the US, the UK and Southern Africa. Jean was the UK-SA parliamentary, political and communications officer for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in South Africa and trade, science and innovation communications lead for the British Embassy in Washington DC. She has a number of years experience developing and managing youth leadership programmes including the South Africa-Washington International Program (SAWIP) and the British Chevening Scholarship. She has also worked as a programme officer for the Westminster Foundation small parties office and is currently a sub-Saharan Africa analyst for Freedom in the World Index.
Jean has a BSocSci in Law and Politics and an honours degree in International Relations from the University of Cape Town. She also received an MA in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies from Kings College in London as a British Chevening Scholar.
Dr. Desné Masie is a visiting researcher in international political economy at the Wits School of Governance. She is an expert in international economics and regulation, specialising in forecasting and analysis of African political economy. She has also worked in financial services at Alexander Forbes group for several years in consulting and communications.
She is the co-host of the African Arguments podcast for the Royal African Society and has provided commentary for The Guardian; New African Magazine; The Times; 702 Radio and the BBC. She was a senior editor in capital markets at the Financial Mail in Johannesburg, and is an economics contributor to The Times. Desné holds a PhD in finance from the University of Edinburgh Business School, and an MSc in Finance and Financial Law from SOAS, the University of London.
To read publications by Desné Masie on our website please click here.
Dr. Mahamadou Lamine Sagna holds a Ph.D. in sociology and Master Degree in Business Administration and Ethnic-psychiatry in France. He taught courses in anthropological economics and social science methodologies in French and American universities. His multidisciplinary background addresses complex intersections between economics, gender, culture, and power—specifically in how they relate to poverty, his personal field of interest. At Princeton University, over the course of ten years, at the departments of Sociology, African American Studies and African Studies, he taught courses such as Science Technology and Development, African Cultural Forms in Political Spheres, and African Economic Culture. His research focuses on sociology of poverty as well as monetary and financial practices in relation to economic innovation and the dynamics of social trust and risk.
He is founder and executive director of “Re-Source/Sununet” a Senegalese Diaspora organization (which is represented by chapters in Africa, America, Europe and Asia) building transnational networks and contributing to Senegalese political, social and economic development.
Judith February is a consultant on governance matters and affiliated to the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice. Prior to that she was Executive Director of the HSRC’s Democracy and Governance Unit and also Head of the Idasa’s South African Governance programme. Judith has worked extensively on issues of good governance, transparency and accountability within the South African context. She is a regular commentator in the media on politics in SA and in 2009 served on an ad hoc panel to evaluate the effectiveness of South Africa’s Parliament. She is a regular columnist for Media24 and also an occasional columnist for the Daily Maverick and other publications. She is the co-editor of “Testing democracy: which way is South Africa going?” March 2010, Idasa. She was awarded a summer fellowship in 2009 at the Freeman Spogli Institute for Democracy Development and the rule of law at Stanford University, California and in 2012 was awarded a Spring Reagan-Fascell Fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC.
To see Judith February's extensive list of publications on our website please click here.
Paul has been working as a professional in the field of decentralisation and local governance in Africa and Asia for over 25 years. During that period he was Country Director for SNV, Netherlands Development Organisation in various African countries for 10 years. Presently, Paul is working as an independent consultant in the field of public governance assessment and governance capacity development. He has carried out assignments for the Swiss Development Cooperation designing and backstopping governance assessments in Zambia, Malawi and Botswana and is currently working on an assignment for the United Nations Development Programme in Myanmar supporting the democratization process at local level.
Paul’s core competencies are: governance and service delivery assessment (in the education and health sectors as well as local government service delivery); strategic planning for local government; decentralisation; organisational development and change process facilitation.
Prof. Christi van der Westhuizen (Ph.D.) is an author and Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Pretoria. Her books include Sitting Pretty: White Afrikaans Women in Postapartheid South Africa (forthcoming, 2017), Working Democracy: Perspectives on South Africa’s Parliament at 20 Years (2014) and White Power & the Rise and Fall of the National Party (2007). She started her working life as a journalist at the anti-apartheid weekly Vrye Weekblad and later worked as Associate Editor at the global news agency Inter Press Service. Previously she held associateships with the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, Free State University and the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town. As a regular commentator in local and international media, she received the Mondi Paper Newspaper Award for her political columns.
Other relevant publications include: 2017. ‘Rejuvenating Reconciliation with Transformation.’ In Lefko-Everett, K., Govender, R., and Foster, D. (eds.) Rethinking Reconciliation. Evidence from South Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press.2016. ‘Race, intersectionality and affect in postapartheid productions of ‘the Afrikaans white woman’. Critical Philosophy of Race 4 (2), 221-238. 2016. ‘Democratising South Africa: Towards a “Conflictual Consensus”’ in H. Botha, N. Schaks and D. Steiger (eds.) Das Ende des repräsentativen Staates? Demokratie am Scheideweg/ The End of the Representative State? Democracy at the Crossroads. Baden Baden: Nomos. Her Ph.D. is in Sociology (Critical Diversity Studies) and her Masters (cum laude) in South African Politics & Political Economy.
To see read Christi van der Westhuizen's publications on our website please click here.
Dr Isayvani Naicker is currently the Chief Director of International Resources at the Department of Science and Technology based in Pretoria, South Africa. She has over nineteen years of management and practical experience in science, technology and innovation, research and development, policy consultation, analysis and advocacy, strategic international and government-to-government partnerships.
Naicker is also a research associate at the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Research Fellow at the School for Public and Development Management at the University of Witwatersrand. Furthermore, she is a member of international research networks including the Society for the Social Studies of Science, and the International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA), Green Economics Institute at Oxford University.
Danga is a former undergraduate Academic Tutor in the Department of Political Studies and former Programme Manager of the Afrobarometer Project at the University of Cape Town. He was Political Strategist for the 2004 presidential election campaign of the Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi and has conducted extensive research on parliaments in sub-Saharan Africa.
Danga has worked as an account executive for Ogilvy & Mather in New York; and was a former Liaison Officer for AIDS Accountability International (AAI). He was founding Editor of Roots and Culture, the first African student journal at Harvard University. He holds an A.B. Economics Major from Harvard University and a MSocSci from the University of Cape Town.
Tamuka is currently studying for a DLitt. et. Philosophy in Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg and has worked extensively with civil society in Zimbabwe and South Africa, on issues of human rights, governance and democracy, migrant’s rights, economic policy and social justice. He has presented at several academic and civil society conferences especially on Zimbabwe on the subjects of economic transformation in Post-Colonial Africa and co-authored an article ‘Civil Society’s Contested Role in the 2013 Elections in Zimbabwe: A Historical Perspective’ in the Journal of African Elections (2014).
Tamuka is also a columnist for several media houses in Zimbabwe on the subjects of democracy, governance, elections, black economic empowerment, business state-relations, post-colonial state and economic reform within the SADC region. He is keenly interested in the political economy of transformation in post-colonial Africa and is currently engaged in researches on political parties, elections and democratisation; economic indigenisation (Zimbabwe) and the possibility of ‘democratic developmental states’ in Southern Africa.
To read publications by Tamuka Chirimambowa on our website please click here.
Jasteena is a Professor of Law at Humber College and at the University of Windsor's Faculty of Law teaching law and international law, focusing on Human Rights, Development, Transnational and Business law. Jasteena has worked in conflict, post-conflict and transitional countries and regions on justice and human rights issues. In South Africa she has worked on children's rights and the constitutional drafting process and has continued to work internationally on legal and development and human rights issues in conflict, post-conflict and transitional crisis areas around the world, including in Afghanistan, Southern Sudan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bosnia, Croatia, Occupied Palestinian Territory in international non-governmental organizations, the United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. She was a Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School's Carr Centre for Human Rights in the State –Building and Human Rights for Afghanistan/Pakistan program and has written extensively about her experiences and work on global issues.
To read publications by Jasteena Dhillon on our website please click here.
Leslie Mxolisi Dikeni
Dikeni was most recently a Senior Researcher in the Humanity Faculty at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). He is a visiting Research Fellow at the School of Public and Development Management, University of Witwatersrand and Research Associate in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria . Dikeni served as Executive Director for the Africa Secretariat United Nations Human Rights Commission and was Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) He has also worked at the National Treasury of South Africa as a political analyst, advising on the workings of the International Financial Institutions.
He holds an MSc in Rural Sociology from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and is a PhD candidate in Urban Sociology at Ecole Des Hautes Etudes Science Sociale (College De France), Paris and specialises in Social Research. Dikeni is co-editor with William Gumede of the book Poverty of Ideas: The Retreat of Intellectuals in New Democracies.
Leah Shearman is a programme management specialist with experience in participatory programme design, social accountability and grant compliance. As a Senior Business Development Officer with World Vision, she worked with country programmes across West and Southern Africa to design and develop comprehensive social accountability, food security and health programming in both emergency and development contexts.
Prior to this, she worked as a program officer at the Canadian International Development Agency in International Humanitarian Assistance Directorate supporting the management of Canada’s global food assistance programme and managing their relationship with the World Food Programme. Most recently she worked as regional head of business development for VSO International in Southern Africa. Leah has a BAHon in Political Science and History from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and an MSocSci in Democratic Governance from the University of Cape Town.