Gill Garb, Executive Director
A native South African, Gill Garb brings a 25-year track record of developing innovative education and HIV & AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs in Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Swaziland, and Mozambique.
Prior to launching the Bantwana Initiative, Gill was World Education’s Africa Regional Director and then HIV & AIDS Senior Advisor. In those roles, Gill used evidence-based strategies to test new approaches in HIV and AIDS programs, and championed an integrated, comprehensive approach linking literacy, health, livelihoods, leadership, community awareness, and policy to mitigating the HIV epidemic.
Under Gill’s leadership, World Education’s HIV projects in Africa grew to a total of more than $20 million, and HIV & AIDS prevention, treatment, and care were mainstreamed into all World Education programs across Africa.
As Gill watched the AIDS epidemic leave millions of children orphaned and vulnerable, particularly in southern Africa, she noticed that while vast resources were invested in mitigating the HIV epidemic, few actually trickled down to the communities caring for children. Seeing this, she developed a model focused on making necessary technical and management investments in people and organizations already caring for children in communities where they live.
Gill launched the Bantwana Initiative in 2006 to help orphaned and vulnerable children—and their care-givers—access the full range of support and integrated care they need to grow into healthy adults.
Susan Kajura, Uganda Country Director and Regional Advisor
Driven by her passion for children, Ms. Kajura brings more than a decade of professional experience to her role as Uganda Country Director and Regional Advisor of Bantwana. As Chief of Party for Bantwana’s Children First program in Zimbabwe, Susan led a team of dedicated professionals through the country’s recent economic and social turmoil to build a globally recognized program for vulnerable children. She has worked on diverse projects including HIV and home-based care, access to education, institutional capacity building, as well as monitoring and evaluation.
Ms. Kajura has been instrumental in designing and implementing innovative OVC projects in Uganda. Prior to joining World Education and Bantwana, Ms Kajura was the Executive Director of the local NGO, Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO). Among her many accomplishments, Ms. Kajura successfully led her team through an organizational restructuring process that resulted in the improvement of the quality of care services to more than 70,000 OVC in Uganda.
Ms. Kajura has also worked extensively with communities and civil society organizations in developing and implementing HIV and AIDS programs around thematic areas such as education, youth, capacity building, and home-based care in Uganda. Ms. Kajura is also an author; in 2002, she was awarded the MacMillan African Writers Prize as the Most Promising New Children’s Writer for Africa.
Patience Ndlovu, Zimbabwe Country Director
Patience Ndlovu leads Bantwana’s Zimbabwe programming which includes Vana Bantwana, the follow-on to Children First, and the scale-up of two of Bantwana’s integrated service delivery models targeting highly vulnerable children: the Case Management model and Second Chance Education program.
With a master’s degree in Policy Studies and currently working on her PhD, Patience couples a strong academic background with more than 15 years of experience leading community-based programs in both urban and rural areas of Zimbabwe. A natural relationship builder and talented strategic thinker, Patience’s policy development experience and excellent relationships with the government at all levels has been instrumental to the substantial gains made by the program over the past five years.
Lilian Badi, Tanzania Country Director
A Tanzanian national, Lilian Badi leads the USAID/PEPFAR-funded Pamoja Tuwalee program in the Northern Zone of Tanzania. Lilian brings more than a decade of experience in senior management positions managing PEPFAR, Global Fund, and USAID-funded programs concerned with community-based support for most vulnerable children (MVC). Prior to joining Bantwana, Lilian served as the Finance and Grants Management Director for Pact International, where she oversaw finance and grants management teams supporting MVC programs. There she successfully managed partnerships with Family Health International (FHI), CAMFED, International Centre for Research and Women (ICRW), and the Futures Group. Ms. Badi also brings extensive experience working in partnership with faith-based organizations (FBOs) serving vulnerable children and families.
Ms. Badi holds a PhD in Accounting and Finance from the Open University of Tanzania – Dar es Salaam, and a Masters of Science degree in Finance from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland.
Meshack Thulani Earnshaw, Swaziland Country Director
As Swaziland Country Director for Bantwana, Thulani Earnshaw leads a committed team of Swazi professionals who support innovative programs such as the Bantwana Schools Integrated Program (BSIP), the School Health Outreach Program, and Early Childhood Education. Mr. Earnshaw brings more than a decade of community-based experience in strategic planning, marketing, livelihoods development, and capacity building.
Prior to joining Bantwana, Mr. Earnshaw worked extensively on poverty alleviation and microenterprise projects with diverse community groups in Swaziland. He has successfully assisted new companies to design, set up, and expand small businesses and community entrepreneurial projects. As Program Manager, he mobilized and trained community groups in business and entrepreneurial skills for projects ranging from small cooperatives to commercial business ventures in Swaziland.
Mr. Earnshaw received his Master’s in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2006. He is a recipient of the Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Program Scholarship Award. He also serves as an advisor to several business institutions, including the Pilot International Study Center in Swaziland.
Edton Babu, Uganda Capacity Building Advisor
As the Uganda Capacity Building Advisor, Edton Babu builds and strengthens the capacity of community organizations to streamline interventions targeting orphans and other vulnerable children.
Mr. Babu brings a decade of experience in civil-society strengthening and management of HIV prevention, care, and support for OVC programs. He has supported civil-society organizations (CSOs) as well as government agencies in effective implementation and management of HIV and OVC projects. As a senior member of the Technical Support Project funded by USAID and the CORE Initiative, Mr. Babu played a key role in the rolling out of the OVC policy on behalf of the Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development (MGLSD) in 11 districts in Eastern Uganda.
Mr. Babu has also worked for Uganda’s Society for Disabled Children as a Field Coordinator, where he was responsible for capacity building and provided oversight for community projects dealing with children. Mr. Babu holds a Masters in Management Studies (MMS) from the University of Makerere in Uganda. He is also the founding member of an adult education program in Kampala, Uganda.
Farai Charasika, Program Director, Vana Bantwana
Farai Charasika is a Zimbabwean physician who has worked as a hospital clinician, public health physician, and community development worker. He has a medical degree from the University of Zimbabwe Medical School, a Master’s in International Health Policy and Management from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and a PhD from the Boston University School of Public Health. Working extensively with urban and rural communities in East, West, and Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East, he has mobilized international and grassroots communities to action for public health and development goals.
Dr. Charasika brings experience and expertise in health, community development, and training that spans a wide spectrum of public health and development issues. These include: hospital-based patient care, health systems strengthening, and community-based interventions in HIV and AIDS, malaria, maternal and child health, and reproductive health. In his role as Program Director, Farai oversees the technical aspect of Vana Bantwana‘s integrated programming to maintain quality as Bantwana’s innovative approaches are tested, proven, and scaled up.
Ronald Mutasa, Regional Advisor
A native of Zimbabwe, Ronald Mutasa, brings a decade of leadership and program management experience at the community, national, and regional levels in southern Africa. As a staff member of the Canadian International Development Agency and the United States African Development Foundation, Ronald worked extensively on community-based development programs that helped HIV and AIDS-affected families meet their basic needs in East and Southern Africa. Ronald helped to launch and measure impacts on income, nutrition, access to treatment, and education for children. Ronald also brings deep experience in program evaluation in Tanzania, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.
In 2004, Ronald was awarded the Southern Africa Poverty and Development Fellowship for the Master of Arts in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University. He also holds a second Masters in Public Administration from the University of Zimbabwe. In addition, Ronald has contributed to several research papers and to the improvement of development management tools. Currently Ronald works as an operations officer/consultant for the World Bank’s Africa region.
Tom Haslett, Strategic Advisor
Tom Haslett has spent much of his career managing equity investments for institutions in large developed markets and frontier markets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Starting in 2002, following his passion to work on ‘mission-driven’ ventures, he adapted his management, strategy, and business skills to social-development programs in Africa.
After leading a team to build a youth service program engaging 18-to-25-year-old South African men and women to work in the state-run schools of Gauteng province in Johannesburg, Tom shifted his focus to addressing the challenges of sub-Saharan African children who were orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS. Tom married his passion for investing and African social development in two new ventures: development of the African Healthcare Fund, and start up of the Bantwana Initiative.
As a senior advisor, Tom works with Bantwana teams on strategy and program development in Boston, and in Bantwana’s focus countries in Africa.