GardenAfrica's team

Our small team work closely with partner organisations, with support from researchers, advisors and volunteers. 

As well as raising awareness to promote bio-cultural diversity to improve the sustainable management of botanical and other vital natural resources, our activities involve designing pioneering projects, networking, advocacy and fundraising, while supporting monitoring & evaluation, reporting and financial management on the ground with partners. Most of our team live within walking or cycling distance of work, or are home-based. 

(Our board members' profiles can be found on the governance and policy page)

Bill
Leeson

Communications

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After a brief career as an actor, Bill worked as an agent, theatre producer, club promoter, and then as a film-maker producing arts-based documentaries.

In the 1990s Bill was involved in humanitarian aid, working in Bosnia, Kosovo, West Africa, East Timor and Afghanistan. During this time, he became increasingly aware of the limitations and short-term value of the emergency approach, when compared with the potential of appropriately targeted development initiatives.

In 2002 Bill co-founded GardenAfrica. 

bill@gardenafrica.org.uk 

Georgina
McAllister

Programmes 

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With a background in humanitarian aid which, like conflict, often happens to people without their consent, George developed an interest in creating more inclusive and sustainable forms of community engagement, which view the environment and its hosts as part of a long-term solution.

Having worked during her youth as gardener in her native North Wales, and later completing her MA in politics at York (Post-War Reconstruction and Development) she drew upon these two passions, co-founding GardenAfrica in 2002, where she continues to design and develop programmes with civil society organisations in sub-Saharan Africa.

gem@gardenafrica.org.uk

Dr Robert
Close 

Finance

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Biologist and earthworm specialist, Bob has a long interest in gardening matters both as an enthusiast and a professional.

He is a strong advocate of GardenAfrica's developmental approach to aid and its 'people and plants' projects.

He also brings to our team over 10 years’ experience of voluntary sector finances and the legal aspects of fundraising and trading initiatives.

bob@gardenafrica.org.uk  

Sarah
Rose

Advocacy & Org. Development

Sarah was motivated to work with GardenAfrica because of her close links with the communities they work within, and the approach they take by engaging with issues through local organisations rather than applying a preconceived notion of how the work needs to be done.

Sarah brings experience of advocacy, monitoring and evaluation, organisational development and fundraising. Sarah also brings experience of having worked with organisations such as Save the Children, ChristianAid, and the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), she has an MSc in development management and has worked with GardenAfrica to develop their strategy and support the design and delivery of advocacy programmes.

 

Carol
Horne

Copywriting / Publicity 

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Carol writes copy for GardenAfrica's website and marketing materials.

Carol also tweets for us at @afrogardener and writes the Muswell Hillbilly blog, which features occasional stories on GardenAfrica.

When she's not growing vegetables or volunteering for GardenAfrica, Carol is Fundraising Manager at South African NPO Thembalitsha, a charity providing education and healthcare in South Africa. She has an Honours degree in Philosophy from Rhodes University in South Africa.

Jonathan
Campbell

IT Support 

For many years Jon, a database designer for Islington Council's asylum team, wondered how he could contribute to charitable 'causes', yet felt a disconnect between the large charities and their approaches on the ground. Like most of us, he is regularly accosted in the street by 'chuggers', but has never been moved to sign up to that monthly payment.

Instead Jon decided to contribute his time and expertise to GardenAfrica, keeping our systems linked and ticking over, ensuring data is protected and backed-up, and introducing us to new software to streamline our activities. Jon continues to make a central contribution to our work as we grow. 

Venetia
Bellers

Operational systems advisor

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Having worked for Goal, Oxfam, SCFUK and DFID, Venetia is an experienced trainer and facilitator for capacity building, particularly in staff and partner development, and has extensive experience in security analysis, management in insecure environments and geo-political analysis.

Venetia is a member of UNDAC, and is currently Adviser for Disaster Management to the Prime Minister of Mauritius, designing & establishing the national disaster management agency for Mauritius and Outer Islands, including relevant legislation, policy and strategic frameworks.
Venetia's advice on the design of operational monitoring and reporting systems continues to be invaluable to GardenAfrica. And through GardenAfrica, Venetia is able to explore her development tendencies, particularly those related to long-term community enablement and self-sufficiency - so often lacking in the humanitarian sector.

 

Alastair
Duncan

HIV Diet and Nutrition advisor

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Alastair is one of the UK's leading HIV dieticians. As well as working at Guy's and St. Thomas', he has been Chair of The Food Chain, and a freelance nutrition writer.

He is a Winston Churchill Fellow of 2007, recently spending time in Southern Africa conducting an HIV Nutrition Information Exchange.

Alastair believes that growing fruits and vegetables in home gardens or allotments not only provides foods rich in vitamins and minerals but also activity vital to building muscle tissue and maintaining a strong immune system. His website can be found at

www.hivnutrition.org.uk

Jeremy
Smith

Environmental communications advisor

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Jeremy is an writer and communications expert specialising in environmental issues.

He works with ethical and sustainable businesses, developing their communications, brands, websites and marketing. 

He writes regular articles and blogs on issues around responsible tourism and conservation.

He is co-author of Rough Guides' only guidebook dedicated to responsible tourism. Called Clean Breaks - 500 New Ways to See the World. before that he was editor of The Ecologist.

He built the current Garden Africa website and his own website is

www.jmcsmith.com

Pauline
Tiffen

Social business, finance & development advisor

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Pauline Tiffen works on agricultural supply chains, and was founder of Cafedirect and Divine Chocolate.

An innovative thinker, Pauline has worked for academic institutions, business, and the voluntary sector. Her ability to design and form new institutions, foment and nurture cross-cultural economic exchange, and to develop new forms of business collaboration has been demonstrated in more than two decades of work in the alternative trading sector in traditional and non-traditional commodities and across three continents. 

Pauline is a widely published and articulate communicator, able to assist in defining ways to overcome systemic barriers, inertia, and prejudice, and define and implement practical mechanisms to improve the political and economic position of marginalised or disadvantaged producers.