About Us

The aims of the Sustainable Development Network are:

  • To help NGOs become more sustainable through networking, resource mobilisation strategies; training in fundraising and social
    enterprise development.
  • To provide useful research for NGO’s, government and the private sector which will promote and encourage sustainable development.
  • To provide education and training programmes (including assistance with creating accredited training programmes) for NGOs,
    government and the private sector.

Mission

To empower NGOs, government and the private sector through research, education, training and through encouraging networks and partnerships that will promote sustainable solutions.icons

Vision

To empower NGOs, government and the private sector to work together toward more sustainable economic, environmental and social solutions.icons

The SA Sustainable Development Network Board

Lisa Thompson-Smeddle

Lisa Thompson-Smeddle

SDN/ASA Founder/Director

Lisa Thompson-Smeddle has over 25 years experience working in the NGO sector in southern Africa. She is the Director of the USA and RSA registered non-profit organisation, Sustainable Development Network. She has acted as a sustainability consultant to Family Health International, an Umbrella Grants Mechanism managing a $93 million USAID/PEPFAR grant in South Africa. Her role was to build capacity in PEPFAR funded NGOs. This included the development of sustainability strategies, organisational policies, effective financial, monitoring evaluation and reporting systems and more. Lisa was also the Programme Coordinator for the Sustainability Institute and course designer/lecturer at Stellenbosch University. She has managed research and development projects for the UNDP, DANIDA, Cordaid, the City of Cape Town, the University of California Berkeley and other academic institutions and donor organisations and she has consulted to and provided services for WWF, Caritas, World Vision, She has a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development from Stellenbosch University and Honours degrees Sustainable Development and in Social Sciences.

Varkey George

Varkey George

SDN Non-Executive Board Member / Founder of MIGS (Multiple Income Generating Strategy)

Varkey has been recognised as one of the leading practitioners of Social Entrepreneurship in the social sector. He has had various experiences in rural and urban Africa, having set up various job creation and education projects and having transformed many non-profits from donor dependence to financial sustainability. In 2004, he was appointed as the CEO of SHAWCO (Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation), at the University of Cape town, where he was tasked to turn around an ailing organisation which is now trail blazing in the practice of social entrepreneurship. In 2012, he founded his own company called MIGS (Multiple Income Generating Strategy). He assists non-profits and other organisations to become social enterprises. He has also developed a series of lectures on social entrepreneurship, emotional intelligence, trust in the work place, learning how to fail, the first steps out of failure and scientific evidence on why we behave the way we do. He has been visiting lecturer at the University of Cape Town, Gordon Institute of Business Science, Pretoria, Euromed and Leseg School of Business in Paris and Lille.

Anton Buirski

Anton Buirski

SDN Board Secretary / Director of Lams

Anton is a corporate attorney of more than 50 years standing and is currently in practice in Cape Town. He is a graduate of both UCT and the London School of Economics. Anton is currently the chairperson of Action on Elder Abuse South Africa, an NGO and a national organisation which deals with problems of the aged. During a long professional career he has served on committees of many community projects as well as sporting bodies and brings a wealth of administrative experience to the organisation.

Johann Sym

Johann Sym

SDN Board Member / One Heart Ambassador

Johann has worked with children and child/youth counselling for over 20 years. He has Certificates in Pastoral Work and Biblical Studies from Bethel Bible School and has completed a Certificate Course in Teacher Training through the Test Learning Centre. Johann has also worked as a Train the Trainer for the Western Cape Department of Education, providing teacher training and support throughout the Western Cape. Furthermore, he managed the One Heart volunteer programme, he acts as a One Heart teacher and school liaison and assists with all One Heart events.

Zainab Karriem

Zainab Karriem

SDN Board Member / ASA Programme Manager

Zainab Karriem has a BA in Business Administration and also completed level 5 studies in Emergency Care. She has over fifteen years’ experience in curriculum and content development for the GET, FET and HET education landscapes. With a focus on Math, Science and Language she has developed content and implemented training programmes for corporates, NGO’s, the Department of Human Settlements, Department of Social Development and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
She was responsible for research and development, setting up quality management systems, managing business operations and implementation of capacity building training projects for various companies throughout South Africa and is on the national task team for the Further Education and Training sector.
She is a confident leader, she manages individuals and teams with a collaborative timeliness and accuracy and has excellent interpersonal and leadership skills.

The SDN is registered as a Non-Profit Company in South Africa, and as a 501c3 Company in the US.
Sustainable Development Network South Africa NPC: K2011/122880/08
Sustainable Development Network USA Non-Profit (501c3) Number: 3388896

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