Our Team in Eswatini

george wachira

George Wachira

UN Resident Coordinator in the Kingdom of Eswatini
Mr. George Wachira of Kenya brings more than 30 years of experience at the interface of development, governance, conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Since joining the UN in 2011, he served as the UN Peace and Development Advisor in Guyana, Lesotho and lately in Eritrea where he led UN conflict prevention, strategic political analysis, peacebuilding, electoral support, political dialogue, human rights, national reforms and capacity building programmes. He also served as Head of the Governance and Peacebuilding Unit of UNDP in Lesotho.

Prior to joining the UN System, he worked for 20 years in various capacities, including as executive director, for Nairobi Peace Initiative-Africa, a pioneering peacebuilding organisation from where he helped shape peacebuilding practice in eastern, central and western African countries.
Mr. Wachira obtained his master’s degree in international peace studies from the University of Notre Dame in the USA and a bachelor’s degree in government and anthropology from the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
Amina Mohammed

Amina Mohammed

Ms. Amina Mohammed has served as the Representative for the UNICEF Eswatini Country Office since August of 2021, prior to which, she served as the Deputy Representative to the UNICEF Zimbabwe Country Office, where she was responsible for the formulation, management and oversight of UNICEF’s programmes, humanitarian action, and partnerships with the Government, development partners and the private sector.
Ms. Mohammed has extensive experience in leadership and coordination as well as programme implementation. She has been with UNICEF for the past 24 years, since joining the agency as a Programme Specialist in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Since the departure of the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh for another mission within the United Nations at the end of October 2021, Ms. Amina Mohammed will serve as the Resident Coordinator Ad Interim for the month of November 2021.
Ms. Mohammed has a Master of Science Degree in Technology of Crop Protection from the University of Reading, in the United Kingdom, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania.
Deepak Shah

Deepak Shah

Country Director
Deepak first joined the UN over 30 years ago and has, over the years, worked with UNDP, ICAO and currently is with WFP. He brings with him significant experience in crisis and conflict management, having completed assignments in East Timor (1999 - 2001, Iraq (2003 - 2004), South Sudan (2012 - 2017)and most recently, in Sudan where he headed the Programme team for an Area Office and led initiatives in Beneficiary Management and Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, working closely with partners, UN Agencies and Government Counterparts.
His academic background is in Commerce and Economics while he also specializes in IT and Telecommunications, and has been the WFP Regional Chief of IT for the Eastern, Central and Southern Africa region.
He is a national of Nepal and takes keen interest in community work, having worked as a national staff creating rural community Infrastructure and developing community assets to enhance resilience.
Dr. Maxine Houinato

Dr Maxime Houinato

UN Women
Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Region
Dr Maxime Houinato is the Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Region with effect from 1st September 2021. Dr Houinato has been UN Women’s Country Representative in Uganda since 2018 where he contributed to a significant growth of programme through the successful implementation of a robust resource mobilization strategy. Before joining Uganda Country office, he served as UN Women's Deputy Regional Director of WCARO (6 years: 2008-2014 in Dakar) and Country Representative in Mali (4 years: 2014-2018 in Bamako). He has been an active member of the UN Regional Quality & Support Assurance (QSA) Team of the UNDG in West Africa, and a key contributor to UN’s "Deliver as One" (DaO) model. Dr Houinato has supported the design and implementation of a series of positive legislation, public policies, and large-scale programs to promote women’s leadership, the involvement of women in business and critical value-chains as well as ending violence against women and girls.

Prior to joining the UN, between 2000 and 2008, Dr. Maxime held the roles of Deputy Regional Director (West Africa), and Regional Director (Southern Africa) for Oxfam UK. He has also worked for other International NGOs including Catholic Relief Services, Africare, and the Academy for Educational Development – in various capacities and locations including Benin, Ghana, Senegal, Niger, the UK and Thailand.

Maxime holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Abomey-Calavi University in Benin, a Master of Arts (MA) in International Development from Brandeis University in the US and a Doctorate (PhD) in Applied Sociology from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal.
Dr. Patrice Talla

Dr Patrice Talla Takoukam

FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa, Representative to Eswatini and Zimbabwe
Dr Patrice Talla Takoukam, a national of Cameroon, has been FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa since September 2020. Prior to that Dr Talla was FAO Representative in Madagascar and covering Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles, under the multiple-accreditation scheme.
Dr Talla joined FAO headquarters in 2001 as Legal Officer in the Law and Development Service of the Legal Office. In 2004, he transferred to the World Bank in Washington DC, United States, as Legal Officer/Counsel in the Environment and International Law Unit, Legal Department.
He returned to FAO headquarters in 2010, where he served as Legal Officer in the Development Law Service, Legal Office. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in International Environmental Law and Public Law from the University of Limoges in France.
Dr. Hubert Gijzen

Dr. Hubert Gizen

Prof. Hubert Gijzen holds a PhD in Biotechnology and joined UNESCO in 2006 as the Director of the UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. In 2015, he was appointed as the Regional Director of the newly established UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe. In this capacity he also serves as the UNESCO Representative to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. He also is the UNESCO Representative to SADC, and he serves on the UN Regional Directors Team for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Jane Marie Ongolo

Jane Marie Ongolo

Representative of the Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSAF).
Ms. Jane Marie Ongolo (Kenya) newly appointed UNODC’s Representative of the Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSAF).
Jane Marie has over twenty-five years of relevant substantive and managerial experience in national and international positions of increasing responsibility, including work at the continental level with the African Union Commission.
During her career, she has served in various capacities including: Head of Social Welfare, Vulnerable Groups, Drug Control and Crime Prevention with the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia since 2018; Programme Manager, AU Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention with the African Union Commission (2010-2018); National Programme Officer (HIV/AIDS) and National Project Officer (Drug Abuse and HIV Prevention) with UNODC ROEA in Nairobi (2005-2010); Regional Governance Advisor, East and Central Africa with the British Council in Kenya (2003-2005); National Programme Manager with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Kenya (1999-2003);
Development Officer, DFID Civil Society Umbrella Project with the British Council in Kenya (1998-1999); Programme Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer with Sinaga Women and Child Labour Resource Centre (NGO) in Kenya (1995-1998); and Children´s Officer with the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Home Affairs and National Heritage, Department of Child (Government) in Kenya (1991-1995).
Jane Marie holds a doctorate in Business & Administration from the Bulacan State University and a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. She is fluent in English and has a basic knowledge of French.
Khanyisile Mabuza

Khanyisile Mabuza

FAO Assistant Representative
Ms Khanyisile Mabuza joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in 2002 as the Assistant Representative and Officer in Charge.
Khanyi holds a Master of Science Degree from the University of Guelph in Canada and a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from Kansas (USA).
Prior to joining FAO, Khanyi was a Food Technologist at the Malkerns Research Station where she pioneered the establishment of a food processing and preservation unit.

Leonard Zulu

Leonard Zulu

UNHCR Representative
Experienced United Nations Legal Expert with a demonstrated history of working in international affairs and humanitarian contexts. Professional skilled in protecting the human rights of refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless people. Established experience in Diplomacy, International Relations, Advocacy, Inter-Agency Coordination, Senior Leadership and Strategic Partnership Engagement and Alliance Building with Non-Governmental Organisations.
Margaret Thwala-Tembe

Margaret Thwala-Tembe

Head of Office
For over 15 years, Margaret Thwala -Tembe has been a leader of note in the sexual and reproductive health space, with a focus on maternal health. She is currently the Head of Office at UNFPA Eswatini country office, a role that she assumed in 2020. Many in Eswatini may know her from her time at the Southern Africa Nazarene University, where she served as a Senior Lecturer. Indeed, she exhibited her commitment to the profession through the high skilled crop of nurse-midwives produced at the time and the alignment of the midwifery curriculum with the current needs of Emaswati.

Ms. Thwala -Tembe believes a true leader never stops learning. One would have thought that she had learned enough when she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree with Community Nursing and Midwifery from University of Zambia. However, in 1994, Margaret surprised many when her life took another turn as she flew to the UK to pursue a Master of Science Degree in Nursing Education and Transcultural studies at the University of Wales in Cardiff.

Because, in her words, “midwives are people who care for others”, Margaret went even further in her learning and teaching journey upon taking over a counselling programme as the Head of the Eswatini Action Group Against Abuse. Her compassionate nature and natural empathy for others made her excel in that field of health, enabling SWAGAA’s counselling wing to grow from strength to strength.

Margaret went on to successfully pioneer an environment and health programme fin her Coordination role for the Natural Resources Management Programme at Yonge Nawe. Innovation and flexibility are some of the qualities and strengths that she demonstrated in her health and environment functions.
Meseret Teklemariam Zemedkun

Meseret Teklemariam Zemedkun

Head of UNEP South Africa office
Meseret Teklemariam Zemedkun (Ph.D) has over 25 years’ professional experience in Earth and natural science, Energy Management, Project management. She holds a Ph.D in Earth Science, Geothermics.Her career began in Ethiopia culminating in becoming Head of Department in GSE (Ministry of Mines and Energy) managing Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology, Geothermal Divisions. She is internationally recognized and acclaimed professional with experience in renewable Energy programme management including Geothermal Energy exploration and development in Africa. She was also Programme Manager for Africa Rift Geothermal Development Facility Programme (ARGeo).
Throughout her career at UNEP Africa Office, she has demonstrated professionalism in her work with Member States and she has exceptionally managed the implementation of major projects in several countries, including South Africa and other SADC countries. These include: ( i) Regional African Rift Geothermal Development Facility Project (ARGeo); (ii) Clean Captives installations for industrial clients in Sub Saharan Africa; (iii) Energy Access and Green Transition Programme; and (iv) Women Entrepreneurs and Sustainable Energy in Africa.
Jeremias Mendes

Mr. Jeremias Mendes

Head of Office
Mr Mendes joined the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in the Kingdom of Eswatini in April 2019 as the Head of Office. He also serves as Head of Office for Angola and Namibia. Mr. Mendes started his career with the agency in IOM Mozambique in 2013. He has extensive experience in project development and management in the areas of migration health, humanitarian resettlement, movement management, facilitated migration, counter-trafficking and diaspora engagement. Prior to his appointment to the Kingdom of Eswatini, Mr. Mendes served in Angola, Namibia, Federated Republic of Micronesia and Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI).
Rose Craigue

Rose Craigue

Country director
Rose is the Country Director and Representative at the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). She has a strong background in international development with over 20 years of experience in progressively senior management positions at the United Nations and with renowned international civil society organizations, mostly at the Director/Senior Adviser level. Prior to her role as Country Director in Eswatini, Rose served as a Senior Adviser for the WFP regional office in South Africa and held various positions at World Vision in Washington DC, Ethiopia, DRC, South Sudan and Kenya. She has a Master of Arts degree in International Development from the Fletcher School of International Relations at Tufts University, Boston.
Rose S

Rose Ssebatindira

Resident Representative
Rose Ssebatindira (Uganda) has worked with UNDP for more than 17 years, most recently as UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Eritrea, where she served for the past 5 years before her re-assignment as UNDP Resident Representative to the kingdom Eswatini. Before that, Rose worked with the World Bank in Ethiopia and UNDP in Uganda. She has a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University and a Master of Science degree in Environment and Natural Resource Management from Makerere University.