Our Expert Panels and Biographies


Is the "Digital Divide" a Threat or an Opportunity? -12.15pm, 7th April

John Thöle


John Thöle is a founding member of Edunova in the UK and in South Africa. He is a qualified teacher and was Head of ICT at schools in South Africa and in the UK. John’s focus has been on the leadership and management of ICT and, in this respect, John works closely with Principals and Senior Strategic teams to ensure the professional implementation of ICT. He has also had key roles in the selection and procurement of ICT infrastructure and the project management of large scale ICT deployments. Using experience gained during the City Academies programme, John and his Edunova co-directors developed a strategy for Edunova to become a core delivery partner in the Building Schools for the Future programme in the UK.


Erik Charas


Having become one of the most respected young social activists in Mozambique, Erik Charas is the founder and CEO of Charas LDA, an investment company that invests in Mozambican entrepreneurs. He holds a degree in electro-mechanical engineering from the University of Cape Town. He attended a Course on Global Leadership and Public Policy in the 21st Century in 2008. He won the 2006 World Business Award, an ICC, IBLF and UNDP joint award, for his work in support of the Millennium Developments Goals. At the age of 28, he was one of the youngest ever Rotary Club presidents in the world. Erik was the youngest Director at the Foundation for Community Development (FDC), Mozambique's leading private non-profit institution that aims to promote solidarity, poverty reduction, good governance, respect of human rights and social justice. Erik is unconfirmed with the loss of dreaming capacity of the Mozambican people and with the lack of access to information.

Dan Otedo

I am a Kenyan citizen with a versatile familiarity in running education and community empowerment programs both at CBO and NGO level in rural and urban regions in Kenya. My experience gained out my work with the Ministry of Education –Kenya as a high school teacher, Non government Organizations like Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance as ICT in education consultant with Education beyond Borders.

Currently I am volunteering at the Kenya ICT Trust Fund, with a specific mandate of coalescing public private partnership around the Kenya eSchools program. This is geared towards adding value to government initiatives in ICT in education in public schools by helping such programs to ensure maximum virtual returns on investment.

Water and Sanitation for the Poor in Africa - 12.15pm, 7th April

Kemal Vaz

Since 1989 to Present, Kemal Vaz has been a lecturer as is a Faculty Member at University Eduardo Mondlane. Later in 1999, he became the Environmental Senior Consultant and founding partner of Verde-Azul Consult Lda, where he is currently the Area Director for the Environment. Kemal has been the Managing Director since November, 2006. Kemal has more than 20 years of professional experience in a diverse range of Institutions, such as in the field of environment - freshwater ecology, quality and management, natural resources and agriculture technology. He has excellent skills as a facilitator and organization and leading public hearings.



Peter Hawkins



Peter Hawkins
is a graduate of Chemical Engineering, Cambridge UK, in 1976. He worked for 6 years at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, mostly on on-site sanitation. For 2 years in Mozambique he worked with the urban planning department. He spent 8 years of performing  assorted consultancy mostly on rural water supply sector management and restructuring in Central America, West Africa and Sri Lanka. He spent an additional 5 years of assorted consultancy, mostly on urban sanitation, and mostly in Mozambique and Indonesia. Now he has acted for 4 years as team leader in Mozambique for the Water and Sanitation Program, administered by the World Bank to provide technical assistance to the water supply and sanitation sector, with emphasis on bringing sustainable services to the poor.


Carla Costa - (tentative)

Mitigation of Biodiversity and Eco systems Loss - 8.00am, 9th April

Alice Costa

Alice Costa Pires, is Marine Program coordinator working for WWF Mozambique. More than seven years experience in project management at WWF. I am responsible for designing and implementing the management plan for Quirimbas National Park and Bazaruto Archipelago National Park. My tasks included developing the WWF Mozambique Marine program, fund raising, researching the impact of Marine Protected Areas on natural resources and on communities living within and outside the national marine parks. I was also involved in the design and implementation of a number of projects related to coral reefs, marine turtles, dugongs and socio-economic issues affecting the local communities living in the coastal zones. At WWF Mozambique, I further developed project coordination skills, dealing with policy and decision makers within WWF Network, and local governmental and non-governmental institutions.


Rita Zacarias

Rita Zacarias is the Climate Change, DRR and Humanitarian emergencies advisor for the UK Department for International Development in Mozambique (DFID Mozambique). Rita completed her Master degree on Environmental Sciences at The University of Newcastle. She worked for the Government, at University as lecturer, for NGO, and private sector, giving her different development perspectives for Mozambique. She is also very confident in the environmental sector. Actually, Rita is leading DFID in delivering policies and strategies for appropriate response to the potential impacts of climate change in Mozambique, to humanitarian emergencies when they happen, and possible engagements on Disaster Risk Reduction in Mozambique. Rita produced a country climate change strategy for DFID in Mozambique, and this has been influential with the government other partners and civil society.

International Labour and Migration Rules
- 8.00am, 9th April


Samuel Levy




Abubacar Selemangy


Abubacar Selemangy worked as an investigative journalist for more than ten years. In the last seven years, he has been involved in development and supporting implementation of communication strategies focusing on social change in several areas, including a communication framework to prevent child trafficking and safer migration in light of the South Africa World Cup. He is currently working with Save the Children in Mozambique as Child Protection Coordinator.

David Van Dam

David Van Dam leads an organization in the United States that creates awareness on the issue of human trafficking while serving former victims of human trafficking in Maputo, Mozambique. Using a unique model of asset based community development, his organization seeks to empower and employ rescued women alongside those responsible for their rehabilitation. For 12 years David served and led various NGOs in the United States focusing on community and human development before moving to Maputo last year to use the same model with trafficking victims.

Diseases and the challenges they pose to emerging economies - 10.45am, 9th April

Alexandre Boon

Alexandre Boon (MD, DTM, MSc) has been working in Africa as medical doctor, for the past 13 years at district, provincial, and national levels. For the first six years in Zimbabwe, he worked for Medicus Mundi as District Medical Officer and Medical Officer for Health. Later on, with MSF, along with the Zimbabwean government, he helped launch the first big scale clinic for access to anti-retroviral drugs. Since being in Mozambique, he has worked for Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foudation, first as Senior Technical Advisor, and now as Associate Technical Director. EGPAF is an American organization that aims at improving life conditions (both social and health-related) of people living with HIV, in both general and pediatric sectors.

Emanuele Capobianco

Emanuele Capobianco is a medical doctor from Italy, specialized in public health in developing countries. He has worked with the World Health Organization, the World Bank and UNICEF in Africa (Somalia, South Sudan, Eritrea), in South Asia (Afghanistan, India) and in the Middle East (Yemen, Egypt). His main areas of expertise are health systems in fragile states, and communicable diseases. Currently he is the Chief of Health and Nutrition in UNICEF Mozambique and the happy father of two little girls.


Lisa Nelson

Dr. Lisa Nelson, MD, MPH, MSc is currently the Country Director for the Global AIDS Program (GAP),Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Mozambique. She served as primary Division of Tuberculosis Elimination liaison for TB/HIV grant to the World Health Organization (WHO) from OGAC (in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya). Provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health TB and HIV Programs. Conducted targeted evaluations to improve TB and TB/HIV control efforts worldwide. Lisa also coordinated international childhood TB activities for branch and DTBE.She has designed and performed Tuberculosis drug resistance survey in Botswana, which included novel approached to HIV surveillance using unlined anonymous testing of sputum specimens for HIV. Designed and conducted TB prevalence survey in Botswana prison, refugee settlement and for HIV-infected children.

How can we bring Education to all? - 10.45am, Sat 9th April


Emilia Afonso

Emilia Z. de F. Afonso is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Center of Mozambican Studies and Ethnoscience at Pedagogical University in Maputo, Mozambique. She teaches chemistry and research methods at this University. Emilia holds a PhD in science education from Curtin University of Technology, Australia. Her main research interests are contextualizing science education and the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge System in school curriculum. She also collaborates as examiner for postgraduate thesis for the University of Botswana, the University of Pretoria and Curtin University of Technology Australia. Emilia a Mozambican who was born in the Northern Province of Nampula, Mozambique, is a mother of two boys – Mica, 22 and Zuva, 15 and, a wife to Vicente Donduro.

Jim Dobson

Jim Dobson serves as Education Officer for USAID/Mozambique. Jim graduated from the University of Kansas in 1978, and earned a PhD in Education from the University of Minnesota in 1993. Much of Jim’s career has been spent in education, training, and international development. He taught for four years at the junior high school level in Africa, and another seven years as an instructor in student-teacher programs at the Universities of Minnesota and Georgia.
Outside of the USA, Jim has lived in Gabon, Cameroon, Niger, Mali, Iraq, and now Mozambique. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher in Gabon from 1978 to 1980, and Peace Corps Country Director in Cameroon from 1999 to 2002. Jim resides in Maputo with his wife, Veronique, and daughter, Afi, who attends 4th grade at AISM.

Lesley Holst

Lesley Holst is a social anthropologist, who has been working in the field of development for 20 years, with a particular focus on community development, education and HIV and AIDS. Originally from Denmark, Lesley has worked in New Zealand and Malawi and moved to Mozambique in 2008. She works for Save the Children, where she is responsible for programs that provide basic services such as education, health, livelihoods, protection and shelter to vulnerable children and their families, particularly those affected by HIV and AIDS.