Olmo is co-Founder, seed-funder and Founding Executive Director of Democracy Works Foundation. With over 20 years experience, he has worked as a political networker, analyst, social entrepreneur, development practitioner and innovative manager on issues of human rights and democratisation in both Africa and Europe. He has spearheaded various leadership, democracy building and conflict resolution initiatives, in addition to managing funds dedicated to strengthening the role of civil society, political society and media through cross-sector approaches to deepening democracy.
His key interests lie in civil society sustainability and funding mechanisms for governance, human rights and democracy work in Africa and the global South, conflict management, institutions, leadership development, technology for development and climate and environmental issues.
Olmo leads the DWF Team on a day-to-day basis. Besides DWF's regional board, Olmo also sits on the DWF Malawi board.
To read publications by Olmo von Meijenfeldt on our website please click here. To view his tags please click here.
Democracy building is and must be an ongoing process, whether in South Africa or the EU. It is never ‘finished’, as older democracies show. Investing in democracy takes time, vision and long-term commitment. The returns don't necessarily show overnight, perhaps not even in our lifetime. It is a political development process that should involve all sectors of society.
Head of Operations
Sandra has over 15 years of experience working in finance. She was previously Finance Manager for Southern Africa Trust working with the business development team and led a philanthropy project to raise funds for local community organisations. She holds a Post Graduate Certificate in International Accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool as well as a BA (Hons) from the University of the West of England, Bristol.
HR & Administration Manager
Liz has worked at ActionAid South Africa (AASA), at Australia Awards for Africa (AAA) program, with nine years at the Department for International Development (DFID-SA). She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), a Pan-African and feminist-led initiative that aims to contribute to the development of jurisprudence on sexual rights and women’s human rights on the continent by providing expertise on strategic litigation.
Lerato is an accomplished Communications professional with over 12 years of expertise in 360 communications, specialising in digital marketing, user experience research and strategy. Certified in Digital Marketing, she's overseen the strategic and creative development of female care brands and CSI departments of organisations like Tiger Brands and South African National Blood Service (SANBS). During her agency tenure as PR Manager, she has conceptualised captivating media engagement and bespoke events – building solid relationships with key stakeholders, media, and social media content creators. She is passionate about using digital technology to enhance citizen voices for change, especially regarding women and youth living with mental disabilities and holistic wellness.
Loulou Kholeka Phiri is the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director. She has about 30 years of experience in Administration, Stakeholder Relations, Training, Executive Assistance, and Board Secretariat. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Social Behavioural Studies. Loulou also holds an Honours in Social Behavioural Studies, a BA Communications Degree, a Public Relations Diploma, and a Secretarial Diploma.
She started her career trajectory working as a clerk leading to her promotion to a trainer and supervisor and the growth she now enjoys. She has a wealth of experience working in corporate (local and multi-national organisations) and NGOs. Loulou brings her diverse industry experience, professionalism and friendly demeanour to the DWF team.
Senior Finance Officer
Boitumelo has Over 15 years of experience in the finance space having started in advertising and branding. She then went into the commercial media space, starting at Multichoice and then progressed to KayaFM where she worked as an accountant for nine years before moving to Media 24 as a senior accountant. Highlights of her career include serving on the Employment Equity Committee while at Kaya FM.
She has a CIS Professional Qualification – Corporate Governance and Administration from WITS University (Fasset). She also completed the Management Development Program (PMD) at The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). Boitumelo has a passion for women empowerment and early childhood education as she believes that a solid foundation is essential for a child's development.
Busisiwe is a seasoned professional with 6 years of working experience in the banking industry and customer liaising roles. She has long-standing experience working as a finance consultant in the bank and began her career as an front-line officer and progressed to customer consultant. She also has bookkeeping as well as finance assistant experience.
She holds a National Diploma in Auditing and a Certificate in Accounting from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Her interests include early childhood development as well as creating safe spaces for young women and other underserved minorities in educational institutes.
Sheleen Mberi has worked in the Accounting and Finance space going on 8 years. She has worked with and for different sized organisations from sole proprietors to multi-national companies. She has held different positions from Administrator, Finance Clerk, Accounts Controller and Assistant Accountant. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Regent Business School as well as a BCom Accounting from Rhodes University, and is a certified Business Analysis practitioner. She has previously participated in funding projects for Greenpeace, Save the Children and was a volunteer tutor for special needs children at GADRA in Grahamstown and Sparrow in Melville, Johannesburg. Sheleen was a Science student all through her schooling years but changed to study Accounting at University level. She is passionate about Finance and her key interests lie in financial planning and analysis.
Regional Director - Chief of Party
Augustine has over twenty years experience in international development cooperation particularly in the fields of governance, democracy, human rights, with most of these years spent in the field of political parties’ strengthening in sub-Saharan Africa. Previously he worked with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) as the Africa Regional Representative. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science focusing on democratisation aid and development cooperation and an MA in Development Management from the Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany.
Deputy Regional Director - Deputy Chief of Party
Fannie is a multi-disciplinary expert with more than 17 years of experience in the development and governance sectors. As the Deputy Regional Director, she is responsible for overseeing the management and operation of programmes implemented at the country level within the southern African region for improved programme performance and coherence with organizational and donor objectives.
She also serves as the Deputy Chief of Party (DCOP) for the Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue (SAPP&D). Prior to this, she served as the Senior Technical Adviser (STA) and DWF Country Director for Zambia. She has hands-on experience in grants management and setting up grants-making systems having worked as Deputy Team Leader and Head of Operations for a £19 million multi-donor (DFID, Royal Norwegian Embassy and Irish Aid) pooled grant-making facility in Malawi (the Tilitonse Fund). Her academic background, in which she holds an MSc in Agriculture Economics from University of Malawi, and her practical experience in governance provides the much-needed nexus between politics and development.
Regional Program Officer
Tadala has previously worked under USAID Fisheries Integration of Society and Habitats Project with Pact Malawi and Emmanuel International. She has experience in project implementation and Monitoring and Evaluation. Working with local communities in governance, livelihoods and climate change adaptation interventions she was responsible for managing M&E systems, capacity building of local governance structures and reporting. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science from the University of Malawi and has undergone training in gender mainstreaming for project planning and implementation.
Augusto Santana is a former Angolan army captain, journalist, and teacher. Enthusiast, scholar, trainer, and activist on issues related to democracy and governance, especially in the areas of elections, political parties, human rights, and gender, he has worked in these areas for over 23 years. In the field of elections, has engaged and observed electoral processes in more than 50 countries in Africa and abroad. During that period, he has worked with several electoral institutions including National Electoral Bodies in SADC and beyond.
He has published books on elections and political parties and cooperated with some specialised magazines and newspapers. Before joining DWF he worked with the Norwegian Peoples Aids, National Democratic Institute, Electoral Institute of Southern African, and the United Nation Development Program. During the Angola 2017 elections was the main advisor to the National Electoral Commission president.
Augusto holds a BA in Public Policy, from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Liverpool as well as postgraduate degrees in Human Rights from the Universities of Sao Paulo, and Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, both from Brazil and Columbia, USA.
Lucas João has more than 25 years of experience in fields such as education, peacekeeping, reintegration of ex-combatants, social action, local development, fight against poverty, child protection, gender equality, mine action, democracy, and local elections. He has worked with the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Angola, the World Bank, the Institute for Socio-Professional Reintegration of Ex-combatants, the Ministry of Social Action, Family, and the Promotion of Women. Lucas holds a BA in Education Sciences with a focus on English Language and is currently studying Law, Public Management, Social Protection, and DDRR. In his free time, he enjoys music, travelling and exploring different cultures, and he is passionate about social and human social development.
Sheila Da Silva
Sheila Da Silva is a highly skilled marketing professional with over 14 years of diverse work experience across various industries. She has held positions in sales, tourism, hospitality, oil and gas, public sector, sports marketing, activations, and events nationally and globally. Sheila holds a degree in Marketing and a certificate in Organizational Consulting. Currently, she is pursuing an MBA in Project Management from MBAUSPESALQ. She is a quick learner and team player, making her a great asset to the team.
João Miguel is a highly experienced professional with 19 years of experience in various fields. He has been involved in philanthropic work with CSOs, and has extensive experience in international trade and customs procedures, as well as business management. Jao’s expertise also includes market research, customs operations and inspections before his current role at DWF. He holds a higher education degree in Business Management and Public Administration and has received training in analysis and customs inspection.
Alberto Kanguenha possesses a wealth of experience, with seven years working in the fields of Finance and Accounting, as well as five years in Procurement and Logistics. He has a strong level of knowledge and skill, achieving various objectives and successful outcomes. Alberto's educational background is vast, earning a Diploma in Accounting and Finance, a CIPS Level 3 certificate, a General Accounting Certificate, a Basic Statistics Certificate, and a Manager ToolKit Training Certificate. In addition to his career and educational achievements, he is passionate about learning through travel while enjoying writing and sports. His diverse skill set and accomplishments make him a valuable team player.
Ana Mateus has gained professional experience in office maintenance, cleaning, and supplies support for a period of two years. Furthermore, she has two years of experience in the restaurant industry and two years in the early childhood development sector. An ambitious go-getter, Ana is pursuing a degree in Law with a desire to use her skills for social change and women and youth empowerment. Outside of work and studies, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and attending church.
Kahisano has 10 years of experience in the development sector where she has served as a Human Rights activist and youth development worker. She also has experience in projects of governance, enterprise development, civic education, leadership, youth development, health, public policy and education.
The highlights of her work include being a member of the Local Education Group, a National educational planning team, co founding the Accessible Education, Development and Leadership – an organisation that promotes access and equity to health and education. She also won the 2020 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer by Genderlinks Barometer awards and serves as the Secretary General for the Common Wealth Young Women in Local Government Network Lesotho Chapter.
Kahisano’s key interests lie in youth development and access to education for marginalised groups.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Katiso has over eight years of experience working in civil society organizations, through research and electoral management. He has experience in various projects including Lesotho’s bulk water supply, electoral management cycles, youth and women initiatives, and capacity building programs for political parties, CSOs, and other stakeholders. He has contributed to national studies in Lesotho aimed at poverty alleviation and participated in the China-Lesotho bi-lateral relations on trade, culture, and technology and written work published by the Chinese Embassy.
He currently provides monitoring and evaluation of a DWF European Union-funded project. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration from the National University of Lesotho. He is passionate about community and skills development and the development of women and youth, and describes himself as an advocate for good governance and the building of just and inclusive societies.
Belinah Kose has over four years of experience in both the accounting and audit fields. She started her career as a Junior Auditor at Newdawn Chartered Accountants and was promoted to Senior Auditor after just six months. She was later promoted to Audit Supervisor after 11 months and held that position for two years until her position at DWF. Belinah is a hardworking Chartered Accountant with experience in various industries. She is a professional with the admirable ability to work efficiently in a deadline-driven environment.
Public Resource Management Expert
Dalitso Kubalasa has over 22 years of experience in Economic Governance and Public Policy Development & Analysis. He has been working as an economist, human rights advocate, and public finance management expert, focusing on policy development and connecting agency for policy change and development results. Dalitso holds an Advanced Master of Science Degree in Development Evaluation and Management and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics.
Tamika is a project management specialist with over 15 years of experience in areas of administration, Parliamentary Strengthening and Project Management. She has also been a part of various consultancy teams in areas of Gender Equality, Women and Youth Empowerment, Livelihoods, Socio-economic Empowerment and Development.
Soon after graduating, she volunteered for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Atlanta, Georgia and contributed to their newsletter before joining Aetna Health as a Provider relations officer. She then relocated back to Malawi where she worked as the Project Officer for the Institute for Parliamentary Support in Africa (IPSA), and later its Project Manager.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from United States International University (now Alliant International University) in San Diego, California.
She has a passion in Women and Youth empowerment, Girl Education and writing.
She also just loves to make a difference and bring a smile to others.
Tryphena has over 7 years of experience in the NGOs sector. She is highly organized, productive, skilled, and experienced in the administrative field with excellent interpersonal and communication skills. In 2014 she joined Goal Malawi, a humanitarian organization that was funded by Irish Aid as an office assistant.
She is trained as a Peer Educator, motivating peers to adapt and adopt positive behavior change, and has worked as a data entry Conducting field assessment and surveys.
In 2017 she Joined Nation Registration Bureau (NRB) which was funded by UNDP as a registration officer during the Malawi mass citizen registration by explaining the process and helping the applicants to fill the form, conduct interviews with the respondent.
She holds a Malawian Certificate of Education and a certificate of a peer educator.
South Africa Office
Mira has 15 years of research, advocacy, capacity building, media production, and programme management experience and has worked across Southern Africa, in Northern Ireland, and the United States. Her work is focused on good governance and community-driven accountability and has covered areas such as children’s rights, human rights-based budgeting, and government spending, extractive industries and environmental rights as well as fundraising and grant. Her work has been published in books, peer-reviewed journals, and popular media outlets. LinkTV, MNet, the UK Guardian, the Mail&Guardian, and others have published her media work. She has an LL.B (bachelor of law) and an LL.M - Masters in International Human Rights law. Mira is passionate about social justice, human rights, and sustainable development and continues to explore new and innovative approaches to bring about positive change.
Lesego has a background in governance, policy development, and research. He previously worked at the North West University in Student Life, where he focused on student leadership development and training. His academic highlights include being part of the Linnaeus Palme International Exchange Programme in Sweden. He holds a BA Law and BA Honours in Political Studies and is currently studying towards his MA with a research focus on Legislatures and Democracy in the continent at North West University.