Our team provides a unique blend of technical knowledge in conservation and an understanding of what it takes for organizations to succeed.

We have founded, supported, and worked within local African organizations, so we know firsthand the challenges they face and the practical solutions they need. We’re big on diagnostics – getting to the heart of organizational problems – we encourage prioritization, and we strive to keep things simple.


Fred Nelson, Executive Director

Fred has been working for 20 years in African conservation to develop effective strategies and lasting solutions, support innovative local organizations, and build diverse partnerships. He’s lived and worked in the field with Maasai communities in Tanzania, designed and led research on the politics of conservation in Africa, and played a leading role in global networks and collaborations that span land rights, wildlife conservation, and ecotourism. He gravitates towards creating new organizations and ventures as a self-identifying ‘conservation entrepreneur’, which led him to found Maliasili in 2010 to fill a key gap in African conservation: to champion leading local organizations and help them build the organizations and networks they need to deliver on their mission and achieve their goals. He’s been a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow and Henry Arnhold Conservation Fellow and has degrees from Cornell University and the University of Michigan. He lives in Vermont with his wife and two daughters.

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Elizabeth Singleton, Chief Operations Officer

Striking a balance between strategic vision to execution and operations, Elizabeth draws on her experiences working in conservation and sustainability in the philanthropy, corporate and nonprofit sectors to lead Maliasili’s day-to-day operations.  Early in her career, Elizabeth co-founded and led the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum, and from there went on to manage The Dow Chemical Company's effort to leverage their products and technology to address major global issues such as clean drinking water and energy efficiency.  Elizabeth has an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University.


Jessie Davie, Portfolio Director

From the bush to the boardroom, Jessie’s decade-long career in African conservation has focused on supporting and strengthening local organizations, such as in past roles with the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum and the Pastoral Women’s Council. Jessie is specialized in communications and likes to apply the same concepts around simple and strategic thinking and clear messaging across all aspects of Maliasili’s organizational work. Jessie leads our team in East and Southern Africa and is responsible for ensuring that the team delivers work that responds to the needs of our partners and helps them become more effective at what they do.


Cara Scott, Portfolio Manager

As a Portfolio Manager, Cara provides support to Maliasili’s portfolio of NGO partners working in the rangelands of northern Tanzania. Originally from London, Cara has more than 15 years of experience working with nonprofits. She has lived in Tanzania for over 8 years and, prior to joining Maliasili, served consecutively as Programme Manager for two of Maliasili’s Tanzanian partners, the Pastoral Women’s Council and the Ujamaa Community Resource Team. Previously, she has worked as a Refugee Services Coordinator for the British Red Cross in London. She also has experience working in rural education in South Africa and in the health field in the UK supporting parents and health professionals.


Joy Juma, Portfolio Manager

Joy’s passion for the environment and the people who depended on it fueled her desire to complete her undergraduate studies and the move to volunteer at a local conservation charity. She spent a year working on the restoration of a transboundary lake straddling the border of Tanzania and Kenya. She later joined another conservation organization and worked on several conservation projects within East Africa ranging from endangered species protection to the establishment of innovative marine conservation models. The role ensured that communities were empowered in the management of their natural resources. Joy, later established a green business incubator under a state corporation in Kenya, that continues to equip local entrepreneurs. She has degrees from Kenyatta University and the University of Cambridge.

Joy is currently a Portfolio Manager in Kenya and is tasked with managing and building relationships with in-country partners with the aim of developing strong local conservation institutions.


Sam Weru, Portfolio Manager

Sam Weru is a wildlife and natural resource management and conservation veteran with over 27 years practical and leadership experience in East Africa. He holds a Bachelors degree in Wildlife Management, Master of Science degree in Biology of Conservation and is currently pursuing PhD studies in environmental policy at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy, University of Nairobi. Sam is particularly interested in working with others to find lasting solutions to the three key development challenges for Africa, namely climate change, biodiversity conservation (especially securing space for wild animals), and, sustainable access to water.


Hugh Doulton, Technical Specialist

Hugh spent the first part of his career in the Comoro Islands leading the development of the local NGO Dahari <for always>, which works to tackle the deforestation crisis in the islands. Dahari's landscape approach integrates agricultural development, agroforestry, biodiversity conservation and marine management interventions. Hugh now uses his experience in particular with securing a wide range of partners and funders for Dahari to support Maliasili's portfolio.


Anna Davis, Programme Specialist

Anna’s specific areas of expertise includes the design and facilitation of processes that take individuals and organisations to new and different levels of engagement. With 25 years’ experience in Namibia and southern Africa, Anna is specialised in leading organisational and personal development and facilitating organisational learning, having built her expertise working with a range of community-based, government, non-government and private sector organisations. After many years working with leading NGOs in the environment, health and education sectors, Anna also brings a wealth of experience in programme design, management and evaluation.


Karine Nuulimba, Leadership Specialist

Karine Nuulimba has a master degree in Social Anthropology (University of Cape Town). In her early years she worked for leading community-based conservation organization IRDNC (Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation) in Namibia’s north-east. She then led the Kuru Family of Organizations’ Trust for Okavango Cultural and Development Initiatives and was Programme Director for Letloa Trust, both in Botswana, whereupon she returned to Namibia to take on the role of IRDNC’s Programme Director. She now applies her 21 years of management experience in conservation non-profits to supporting organizational development and leadership development.


Nikita L. Pakhare, Visual Strategist and Communications Specialist

From her work with international NGOs, such as The Nature Conservancy, as well as local organizations, such as Carbon Tanzania, Nikita has developed a unique expertise in conservation-specific design and communications. Her innovative style and creativity allows her to transform content into effective communications tools - she loves taking words and concepts and making them visual. With over 9 years of experience in content strategy, graphic design and branding, Nikita leads Maliasili's branding and design support in-house and also with our partners.