Meet the Team


Saliem

Saliem Fakir

Executive Director


Saliem holds a Masters’ Degree in Environmental Science and Management, Wye College London and has expertise in the fields of environment, climate, finance economics and a range of development issues. Prior to founding The ACF he served as the Head of the Policy & Futures Unit of WWF South Africa and was an Associate Director for the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy at Stellenbosch University. Saliem has served on several boards and is a prolific writer who regularly contributes to leading publications.

Francis

Francis Fick

Executive Assistant


Francis holds a BSc degree in Environmental and Geographical Science from her studies at the University of Cape Town and a PG Dip in Sustainable Development. Francis is a talented writer with an aptitude for problem-solving and out of the box thinking. She wants to continue applying herself to address social and environmental challenges.

Allan

Alan Wallis

Strategic Advisor


Allan is a human rights lawyer who provides support to civil society organisations, government institutions and judiciaries in the global south. Most recently Alan was the director for legal affairs at the Judiciary of Seychelles. He gained experience in philanthropy and grant making at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa. He holds a PG Dip in Environmental Law and an LLM in International Human Rights from the University of Michigan, where he was the Ismail Mohammad Human Rights Fellow and Grotius Scholar.

Charlene

Charlene Nel

Senior Partnerships and Grants Manager


Charlene has 20 years’ experience in the development sector. She is passionate about developing people’s capacity, advocating for the rights of the most vulnerable in society. She has extensive experience in grants management, project management and systems improvement. Previously, Charlene was the grants manager at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa. She holds an Honour’s degree in Psychology from the University of the Western Cape.

Ellen Davies

Senior Research Advisor


Ellen leads The ACF’s research work. Prior to this, she oversaw the extractives and nuclear energy portfolios at WWF South Africa. Ellen has been working on questions of sustainable economic development for the past ten years and has a keen interest in geopolitics, political economy and gender. She holds a BSocSci from the University of Cape Town, an LLB from UNISA, a BCom Hons and an MCom from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Este

Este Buchholz

HR & OD Advisor


Este has more than 25 years’ experience working across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. She loves developing organisations in which employees can thrive and contribute. Following a successful career as an executive search consultant, she joined Nal’ibali in 2016 as Head of Operations. Este has a BA degree in Industrial Psychology from the University of Stellenbosch and is currently reading for an MPhil in Inclusive Innovation from the GSB at the University of Cape Town.

Evert

Evert de Plessis

Finance Consultant


Evert is an AGA(SA) with 25 years’ experience in auditing, commerce, business management and non-profit sectors. He has owned a national franchise business but set his focus on business consulting over the last few years. In recent years Evert has been consulting at various non-profit organisations and focuses on business efficiency and systems development.

Kelly

Kelly Easton

Communications Coordinator


Kelly gained a deep understanding of emerging markets within Africa from working as a Conference Director in the events industry, where she developed high-level agendas for C-levels within the finance, power and energy, and transport sectors. Before this, Kelly worked for a non-profit on the Galapagos Islands as a conservation officer. She holds a BA degree in Communication Science from UNISA and Diploma in Journalism.

Malik

Malik Dasoo

Junior Researcher


Malik has a keen interest in the issues surrounding climate and ecological justice, especially as it is taken up among community groups in South Africa. He worked as a research assistant at the South African National Biodiversity Institute where he gained insight into the country’s ecological infrastructure and Natural Capital Accounting. Malik will be completing his MSc in International Land and Water Management from Wageningen University and Research, specialising in Sustainable Land Management in July 2021.

Maria

Maria Nkhonjera

Energy Researcher


Maria has supported the research, analysis, and market intelligence agenda of various think tanks. She has more than six years research experience gained as an economist at the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development and more recently as senior research manager and analyst at the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance. Maria has an interest in development finance and sustainable growth. She holds an MCom from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Nkateko Chauke

Senior Project Manager: Advocacy and Outreach


Nkateko is a human rights and social justice activist with extensive experience in the social justice sector. She was a research and advocacy programme manager at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa prior to joining The ACF. At the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, Nkateko focused on social protection and extractives as potential catalysts for sustainable development. She holds a BA Hons in Political and International Studies from Rhodes University and is currently pursuing her Masters.

Stephanie

Stephanie Terwin

Urban Landscapes Researcher


Stephanie is an architect and urban designer with experience in local to regional urban development frameworks. She recently completed a diploma in Infrastructure and Green Cities at the Institute for Housing and Development Studies at Erasmus University. She is particularly interested in infrastructure, public transport and land use planning, and the issue of safe public spaces in the South African context. She holds a Masters in Architecture from the University of Cape Town.

Board & Consultants


Our work is supported by an experienced board and a number of freelance consultants with expertise in Sustainable Economic Development, Policy Research, Human Resources and Organisational Design.