Judge Maria M. Kawimbe is our Board Chairperson and a Judge of the High Court in Zambia. She is very passionate about human rights in general, with specific interests in promoting the rights of children, women and families. She also Chairs the REPSSI Zambia Country Advisory Board. Judge Kawimbe was appointed to serve on the High Court for Zambia in 2016. She previously worked in several portfolios at the Ministry of Justice ranging from (i) Civil Litigation Department, coordinating the preparation of human rights state reports and communications before the United Nations High Commission, all the United Nations treaty bodies (including the UNCRC report) and the African Union Commission on Human and People’s Rights based in Banjul between 2001 and 2015. Judge Kawimbe has previously served as the Deputy Chair, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and Women (ACERCW). In addition, she has held senior global leadership roles, including serving as a Special Rapporteur on the issue of children without parental care.
She has a Master’s Degree in Public International Law (M.I.L) from the University of Lund, Sweden and is a member of the Bar.
Gigi brings extensive public sector and NGO experience to our regional board. She has worked for a number of government departments in South Africa the field of; land reform, public service regulations compliance monitoring, municipal performance monitoring and evaluation, government cluster coordination, macro-policy and planning, social development and executive and strategic support services, spanning over 25 years of service. Her skills include: general management, programme and project management, monitoring and evaluation, research, writing, policy and advocacy work, education and training, community organizing and development and executive coaching. Gigi has also worked for non-governmental organizations in the field of gender training, land reform and rural development, both in the Philippines and in South Africa. Prior to joining the public sector, she worked as a Psychology lecturer in the Philippines. She was the Gender Training Coordinator for the Community Division of Khanya College based in Johannesburg for 2 years and developed gender transformative approaches and training programmes that are still being used to date.
Ms Gosnell has a Bachelor of Arts major in Psychology from University of the Philippines, Master’s Degree in Education from University of the Witwatersrand and several post-grad diplomas.
Margriet Blaauw has worked more than 20 years in (post) conflict situations and in areas affected by disasters world-wide. She was the co-chair of the IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) from 2013 -2016, on behalf of War Trauma Foundation. Recently she worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands on the integration of MHPSS in the work of the Humanitarian Department. She was co-responsible for the organisation of the Mind the Mind Now conference on MHPSS in crisis situations, hosted by the Netherlands, in October 2019 in Amsterdam. Currently she works as a consultant on the development of training materials linking MHPSS to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
Dr. Kinoti has over 25 years senior level experience in the international humanitarian development sector, managing programmes targeting children and their families. Dr. Kinoti has previously worked as Programmes Director for ChildFund International (Kenya) and later as a Chief of Party and Project Director of a multimillion dollar USAID project. He worked for Plan International, partly as the Program Area Director, managing a budget of over $ 30 million over a period of 5 years from multiple donors He is a Trainer in Project Design and Management/Grants Administration (Washington – USA), A Trainer in Business Creation (Kenya Institute of Management) and a Trainer in Psychosocial programming.
Dr. Kinoti has provided senior level leadership in various capacities which include; as a member of the Kenya National Council for Children Services (NCCS); a member of the OVC Technical Group which developed the Minimum Service Standards for Quality Improvement (QI) of OVC Programmes in Kenya and is currently, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Community Micro-Enterprise for Hope Africa, Chairperson of the Advisory Board - Regional Psycho-Social Support Initiative (REPSSI) (Kenya Chapter; Co-Founder and Chair of the Board, Shalem Investment Limited, a limited company working with over 30,000 smallholder farmers in the Eastern Region of Kenya.
Tom Fenn has worked in the OVC and children’s sector for over 25 years. He brings to the REPSSI Board grounded technical expertise and thought leadership in the design and management of large scale programmes targeting children and impoverished communities. Tom has held senior programme leadership positions, having worked as a Chief of Party and Country Director at numerous occasions.
Tom is presently the Project Director, Global Grants at Catholic Relief Services. Before that he worked with UNICEF both in New York and at the East and Southern Africa Regional Bureau in senior management positions. Tom has also worked as the Project Director for the very first USAID OVC grant in Uganda, the Core Initiative Project as well as the Country Representative for Pathfinder International.
Mr. Fernandes is a Rural Development Specialist that brings over 20years experience to the REPSSI Board. He is a founding Director of Wona Sanana, a respected local NGO in Mozambique. As Executive Director, he contributed to establishing a sustainable and accountable national organization with financial, programmatic and institutionally trustworthy systems, an organization with a reputation, prestige and recognition from Ministry of Women and Social Welfare-MMAS and Ministry of Education-MoE in the area of child rights protection, Early Childhood Development (ECD), and the improvement of the quality of primary education in Mozambique.
Mr. Fernandes is very technical in his field and has been credited with developing locally adaptive education materials for ECD in Mozambique. He has also developed training modules for the "Learning Through Play Package" that has been adapted by several public and private schools. Mr. Fernandes has in the past been involved in developing national OVC data management protocols and was part of the team, that provided technical assistance for the strengthening of community care mechanisms for OVC’s.
Mr Liberato Fernandes posseses an MSc. in Rural Sociology and Development Management, a Degree in Clinical and Counselling Psychology and Associate degree in Social Work.
Mr. Coltman is a finance Strategist, business coach and one of the trustees and Chairman of the De Beers Pension Fund. Mr. Coltman honed his financial and corporate governance skills while working at De Beers Consolidated, where he was the Chief Financial Officer, among other corporate governance positions he held, over a period of 32 years.
He is a strategically focused change leader, driving continuous improvement through new and available technologies, identifying new talent and growing existing talent. As Treasurer, Mr. Coltman provides management and the board with oversight in; corporate governance, risk management and treasury management. His fields of expertise include; finance, supply chain, IT, project management and business performance and strategy. He also serves on various Boards in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
Mr. Coltman is a FCMA (Chartered Management Accountant), holds a B.Com (Honours) Financial Management, Project Management Certificate (UCT) and is a Certified Business Coach (GIBS).
Currently the REPSSI Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Onyango Mangen is a Development Management Specialist with over 20 years of providing senior level leadership in both humanitarian and development sectors, in the Great Lakes Region and later Southern Africa. A strategic leader and one with hands on experience, Mr. Onyango is passionate about building capacity of local actors, as frontline responders. He has been instrumental in promoting the role of local CSOs, in Somalia, South Sudan, DR Congo and Uganda, to be able to deliver integrated protection, psychosocial support and mental health services for children and families. Mr. Onyango has served in various global capacities previously as the founding Country Director for TPO Uganda; he has also served on the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, the Child Protection in Crisis Learning Network among others, and is one of the founding promoters of the AFRICHILD Centre, at Makerere University in Uganda. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the intervention a peer reviewed journal on psychosocial support and mental health.
Mr. Onyango continues to serve on several other local and global boards and initiatives, providing senior leadership to large scale, highly syndicated programmes. He holds a Master of Science Degree in International Development from University of Bristol, UK; a Post Graduate Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation Methods from Stellenbosch University, South Africa; a Post Graduate Certificate with Distinction in Humanitarian Action and Conflict from Oxford Brookes University, UK and a Bachelor’s Degree from Makerere University Uganda.
Miso has worked with REPSSI for close to 20years. She is a Certified Accountant, with a strong bias in corporate governance and regulatory assurance. In REPSSI, Miso is responsible for budget control, financial management, ensuring that the organisation has sound financial systems to manage its resource and risk management. She is also the point person on all organisational policies, and works closely with the Human Resource Manager, to ensure that organisational policies, checks and balances are clearly understood, and effectively enforced by all levels of authority. Miso also supports countries to put in place functional management systems, regularly update the risk register and to be compliant with local laws of the land.
Brighton Gwezera has over 18 years of experience in the field of Mental Health & Psychosocial Support and Orphans and Vulnerable Children & Youth (OVC&Y) sector. He is a member of the Policy, Advocacy and Communications AU ECED cluster – developing regional frameworks on strengthening Early Childhood Education systems. Since 2018, Brighton Gwezera sits on the MHPSS Collaborative Steering Committee and is the REPSSI representative to the Inter Agency Standing Committee on MHPSS in emergency setting.
Brighton Gwezera has provided technical support to SADC and EAC. In this role, he has co-led the development of the SADC Guidelines for operationalisation of the Minimum Package of Services for Orphans and other Vulnerable Children & Youth and provided technical input to SADC Business Plan on Orphans, Vulnerable Children and Youth 2016–2020; Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Framework for OVC&Y (2016 -2020). Coordinated the domestication of the SADC Minimum Package of Services for Orphans and other Vulnerable Children & Youth in 11 Countries. He has further provided technical input to EAC: Minimum Standards on Comprehensive Services for Children and Young People in the East African Community. Recently, he has co-led the development of a regional document in response to COVID-19 - Basic Psychosocial Support Skills: A guide for Service Providers at Points of Entry in East and Southern Africa. Provided technical input in global documents such as ‘I Support My Friends: Peer-to-Peer Psychological First Aid for Children and Adolescents’.