Dr Jai Clifford-Holmes
Executive Director

Dr. Jai Clifford-Holmes is the Executive Director, leveraging his expertise as a system dynamics modeller and project manager in the South African water sector. With a PhD in Water Resource Science and a rich background including being a 2011 Mandela Rhodes scholar and a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, his work spans integrated water resources and sustainable land management, preparing him for his new leadership role.

Derick du Toit
Programme Manager

Derick has been working for AWARD since 2002. Although originally trained as an evolutionary ecologist Derick branched off into education, with a focus on environmental education. Derick holds a postgraduate degree in ecology, a postgraduate diploma in education and a Masters degree in Environmental Education.

Tebogo Mathebula
Resource Governance Manager

Tebogo Mathebula, a Business and Local Governance Specialist, has extensive experience with NGOs, government, and the private sector, focusing on economic development and water resource management. He holds a Development Studies degree from the University of Johannesburg, specializing in Political Science, Public Governance, and Sustainable Development. Tebogo’s career includes collaborative projects with AWARD in the Olifants and Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment areas of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces.

Hugo Retief
R&D Manager

Hugo, with a BSc in Zoology & Environmental Science, BSc Hons in Environmental Science, and an MSc in Water Resources Science from Rhodes University, excels as a senior researcher and development manager. Specializing in water resource management, he adeptly blends technical knowledge with project management skills. His focus is on fostering integrated and sustainable water management solutions, demonstrating a strong commitment to collaborative and innovative approaches in environmental projects.

Kholeka Rasalanavho
Financial Accountant

Kholeka Rasalanavho brings 15 years of experience as a Finance Officer with various NGOs in the Western Cape to her role at Award. She has a National Diploma in Financial Accounting from the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and a Btech in Public Management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Kholeka joined our team in May 2023, taking on the role of Financial Accountant and Administrator.

Bigboy (BB) Mkhabela
Community Facilitator & Fleet Management

BB has been working with AWARD since 2008 as a community facilitator with a focus on community natural resources management. His roles include organising logistics for fieldwork and community gatherings; interpreting during community gatherings and interviews, and managing the AWARD vehicle fleet.

Basani Ngoveni
Office Administrator and Project Field Support

Basani holds a National Diploma in Financial Accounting and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Accounting. She has a background in project management and has worked in the NGO sector. She is specialising in project administration but has exceptional community liaison and workshop facilitation skills. Her passion for community development led her to join AWARD in May 2023.

Thembhani Mabunda
Research Assistant

Thembhani Holds a BSc in Environmental Science and BSc Hons in Environmental Science from University of Venda majoring in Remote Sensing and GIS. He has previously worked with various NGOs as a GIS intern, Field worker & junior researcher, and as a Climate Change Adaptation Project Manager where he gained experience in his field of study before joining AWARD in January 2021 as a Research Assistant.


Karen Kotschy
MERL Manager

Karen has a background in ecology, geography and education, with a focus on riparian ecosystems. She holds a PhD in Ecology from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has more recently specialized in monitoring and evaluation for complex environmental programs and is responsible for implementing AWARD’s pioneering monitoring, evaluation, reporting and learning (MERL) system.

Prof Ray Ison

Professor Ray Ison (Applied Systems Thinking in Practice Group, The Open University, School of Engineering & Innovation) is internationally recognised in Systems scholarship and in pioneering approaches to systemic inquiry. Ray is an author of several books including Systems Practice: How to Act in a Climate-Change World (Springer 2010/2017), many book chapters and over 130 refereed papers. In research, teaching and consultancy, he has made significant contributions in fields of systemic governance, systems practice and social learning, systemic environmental decision making, “knowledge transfer”, design of learning/inquiring systems and agricultural/food systems.

Dr Harry Biggs

Dr Harry Biggs is one of South Africa’s leading thinkers when it comes to strategic adaptive management and systems thinking. He has worked with a wide range of biophysical scientists, both aquatic and terrestrial, in the Kruger National Park and surroundings, over the course of several decades. He is currently an AWARD research associate and is a member of the RESILIM O Reference Group.

He is the author or co-author of over 80 scientific publications and presentations, many interdisciplinary, and is active particularly as an agent of change in setting up new initiatives. His has deep interests in sustainability issues and their meaning for biodiversity, with a special focus on freshwater ecosystems and on systemic and adaptive thinking in conservation governance.

Prof Eureta Rosenberg

Prof Rosenberg is the Chair of Environment and Sustainability Education and Director of the Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University. Her PhD focussed on transformative research methodology and other scholarly interests include an evaluation that supports organisational learning; strategic planning; ethics of care; green work and learning and skills for sustainability. She has worked in these and other areas both as academic and as an independent consultant. In 2018 Eureta was awarded a research chair in Monitoring and Evaluation in a Sector Education and Training Authorities Environment.

Board Members

Matthew Prior
Board Member

Funder Relations and Health Policy Executive – CA(SA). After holding various positions in the UK and US, Matthew joined the Life Healthcare Group in 2002 in the information management division, where he was responsible for the development of the data warehouse, business intelligence and pricing models. He moved across to the funder division in 2007 and was recently appointed to his current position where he is responsible for funder relations and health policy. As part of these responsibilities he also serves on the board of Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA).

Lephai Maunatlala
Board Member


Dr Jai Clifford-Holmes
Board Member