Marlene focusses on strategic collaboration and partnership building approaches with leaders and decision makers in cross and multi-sectoral initiatives towards systems change and impactful policy implementation. Her expertise is in designing and implementing strategic convenings towards building trust, partnership and collaboration amongst bridging leaders in business, communities, government, civil society and institutions.

At Synergos Institute Marlene supports various programme initiatives for collaboration towards addressing complex and wicked multi-dimensional problems of poverty. She uses the Synergos Approach of personal reflection and transformation for social change, bridging leadership towards building trust, systems thinking to address complex problems and collaboration towards implementation. The Synergos Approach is being implemented in Middle East and North African Region, focused on social entrepreneurship, Nigeria and Ethiopia, focused agriculture and food security, Namibia and India has worked on child maternal health and nutrition respectively, education in Brazil and children and youth in South Africa.

Using Theory U, Marlene designs various innovative convening methodologies, towards addressing systemic challenges, and compliments it with facilitation methodologies such as Open Space Technology and Appreciative Inquiry. Her work spans designing and implementing of policy issues in programme and practice. These include contributing to policies and national capacity building strategies for National Youth Service and Youth Professionalisation. The SADC Regional Youth Entrepreneurship and Mentorship Initiatives saw her supporting business network organisations across the region.

The Social Connectedness Programme she manages focusses on well-being and towards building agency and resilience across communities, with a central focus on children and youth protection. This includes Indigenous Knowledge Research, Systems and Practice to enhance communities socially and economically. The work builds on the notion that poverty is multi-dimensional and need stakeholders to approach inclusive interventions with community voice, agency and resilience at the centre.

A number of Social Connectedness Programme multiplier and academic partners she collaborates with and contributes to include Oxford’s Poverty and Human Development Initiative, lecturing at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development and manages a programme partnership with the University of Pretoria’s Centre for the Study of Resilience.

Marlene has keen interest in technology for development with a focus on education and interventions that enhance marginalized and indigenous communities and organisations.

Nthonyana Kitsa
+27 (0) 11 560 9300 ​
Gillian Mupotsa
+27 (0) 11 447 1758 ​
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