Meet the Team

Meet the Team

  • Merle Mansfield

  • As the Programme Director of the Zero Dropout Campaign, Merle is responsible for bringing our vision to life and leads our team of implementing partners. Merle is committed to making visible the large number of learners who disappear from the school system each year by advocating for a proactive response to reducing the rate of school dropout. She is a trained social worker and holds an honours degree in Policy and Management. Merle has worked in the civil society space for more than a decade, largely focusing on education and philanthropy.

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  • Pumza Ndamase

  • Pumza is the Project Lead for the Reading for Meaning programme. Concerned about a lack of access to quality education for marginalized communities, she is determined to find ways to ensure young people can access the resources they need to succeed. Pumza has extensive experience in strategic community development and sustainable solutions for youth and early childhood development. She has an advanced certificate in Project Management and is currently working towards a BA degree in Social Science. Pumza has been working in the development sector for over a decade, designing training content and working on youth development initiatives.

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  • Seshego Kgopa

  • Seshego joined the team as a Mentor Manager in the Reading for Meaning programme and is responsible for training and supporting our mentors and recruits. Seshego has worked in the NGO sector for 10 years, gaining her experience in responding to public health issues. She holds a BA degree in Health Science and Social Services. She is passionate about empowering young people, coaching and fostering leadership skills, particularly among women.

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  • Nosipho Waqu

  • Nosipho leads our mobilisation programme in schools. As a former teacher, she is well-versed about the issues facing South African educators on a daily basis. Nosipho’s background and experience have inspired her to be at the forefront of galvanizing community support for anti-dropout strategies. She is responsible for empowering a network of schools to collaborate with one another to reduce the rate of dropout. Nosipho has a Masters in Sustainable Development and Management and has spent the past 12 years working with education NGOs. Nosipho is passionate about working with vibrant young people and organisations dedicated to helping children complete their schooling.

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  • Rahima Essop

  • Rahima joined the team as the campaign’s Communication’s Lead after more than a decade of working in broadcast journalism and Public Relations. She is a former political reporter turned communications specialist. Combining her academic background in social anthropology and her media savvy, Rahima is bringing her interdisciplinary skills to the NGO sector. She is passionate about using social science research and evidence-based advocacy to change people’s perceptions and drive powerful campaigns for social good. She is inspired by individuals and organisations that pioneer simple yet effective solutions to socio-economic problems.

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