The past two months have seen a host of changes in the Kusamala management team. Olli and Alex have moved on to new countries and new experiences – Olli is spending the summer in France while Alex has accepted a position with USAID in Cambodia.

While we are sad to say goodbye to them, we are happy to welcome Molly Cheatum, Marie Raboin, and Luwayo Biswick to the Centre.

Molly joins the team as our new Executive Director. Originally from Pennsylvania, Molly has spent the past five years in Washington DC, where she built upon her experience in conservation finance, specifically payment programs and market-based approaches that improve agro-biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water management, and ecosystem services. Molly is excited to join us here at Kusamala and will be leading us in a strategic planning process as well as sharing her wisdom with the rest of the staff. In this capacity she will be responsible for ensuring that we are able to maintain our organizational vision – to see resilient Malawian communities thriving with enough food, clean water, and energy to be self-sufficient.

Marie is Kusamala’s new Director of Agroecology. She comes to us with extensive experience as a consultant and researcher in conservation agriculture, livestock management and horticultural science, including a Master’s degree in Agroecology and Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin. In her new role at the Centre, is responsible for monitoring and evaluating agroecology techniques, including permaculture, and recommending uses to improve soil, water, and agro-biodiversity resources. In arriving at the Centre, Marie jumped right in and has been setting up new plots, troubleshooting in the market garden and woodlots, and planning for the 2012/13 staple planting season.

Luwayo Biswick (doing business as Biswick) is the Centre’s new Operations Manager. Biswick, a Malawian national, has been practicing permaculture in his home village of Chitedze. In addition to completing his Permaculture Design Certificate, Biswick has gained significant experience working at Never Ending Food, a leading Permaculture organization in Malawi focusing on household level implementation. Biswick has been a leader in his own community, inspiring his neighbors with the success of his household level application of permaculture practices. In addition to being experienced in permaculture design, Biswick is an incredibly passionate and inspiring public speaker, impressing his audience with his enthusiasm and knowledge. We feel extremely lucky to have this up and coming permaculture expert as a part of our team!