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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  • Rahima Essop

  • Rahima is Head of Communications and Advocacy for the Zero Dropout Campaign. She began her work with the campaign as the Communication’s Lead following a decade of working in broadcast journalism and a stint in 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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  • Kendra Stewart

  • Kendra is driving the Zero Dropout Campaign’s digital strategy as the team’s Communications Officer. She graduated from UCT with an undergraduate degree in Film and Media and an honours degree in Media Theory, awarded with commendation and distinction. While completing her studies, Kendra also gained experience in marketing, media, social media and film.  She helped an NGO, Fix Forward, showcase their social cause online, and in doing so built a loyal following for the brand. She further volunteered her storytelling and videography skills to The Zoe project, producing educational videos for their expectant mothers. She is inspired by the power of provocative storytelling and content creation for social impact.

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