We are guided by our professional Board of Directors, which includes some previous programme participants and volunteers and ensures good governance and wise spending. The board is made up of a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary and eight general members.
The board approves the budget and sets various goals and targets for the organisation every year. These targets are evaluated annually, sometimes internally and sometimes by external parties.

Dr Gemma Oberth
Dr Gemma OberthChairperson
Gemma holds a PhD in Political Studies from the University of Cape Town (2013), for a thesis which developed a new way of measuring HIV/AIDS governance in Southern Africa. She is currently an independent consultant, working with large international organizations such as UNAIDS and The International HIV/AIDS Alliance. She was a volunteer at SAEP for 9 months in 2009-2010, working on fundraising and institutional development. Gemma is currently a volunteer mentor in SAEP’s Tertiary Support Programme, and is actively involved in many other SAEP activities. Gemma is passionate about health, human rights and education, and is committed to working towards a brighter future for all young South Africans.
Shiela Yabo
Shiela YaboVice Chairperson
Shiela has been a Member of the SAEP Board of Directors since 2011. She graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT) with a Bachelor of Social Science. Shiela joined SAEP as a Bridging Year Intern in 2006 and, after improving her matric results, enrolled at UCT in 2007. She currently works as an Admissions Officer at the Graduate School of Business, UCT and has recently completed the Associate in Management Programme at the GSB.
Leanne Allison
Leanne AllisonMember
Leanne graduated with a Bachelor of Business Science (with Honours in Economics) from the University of Cape Town. She has 12 years’ experience working in finance, and spent the majority of this time working in the City of London. Leanne became involved in charitable work whilst working part-time in Corporate Relocation and joined the SAEP Board in 2011. Leanne is a member of the Fundraising actions team and actively assists SAEP in their fundraising activities. Leanne is passionate about Equality.
Gina Leinberger
Gina LeinbergerSecretary
Gina voluntarily serves as the Secretary for the SAEP Board of Directors and also assists in various SAEP fundraising efforts. Gina graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cape Town and continues to work as an architect in Cape Town. After collecting and delivering donations to one of SAEP’s Educares in 2007, she realised the overwhelming need for valuable education in the Philippi community and started assisting SAEP wherever she could, becoming a member of the board in 2013. Gina’s degree also allowed her to draw up building plans for a number of Early Childhood Development Centres associated with SAEP.
Nosisa Mhlathi
Nosisa MhlathiMember
Nosisa was involved in the SAEP programmes while in high school, in 2004 she worked as an intern at SAEP. She currently works for SCOUTS South Africa as a Project and Fundraising Manager. In the past 9 years of her working career, Nosisa has had an opportunity to work for Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and the TB Centre. She has gained experience in advocating for life-saving HIV/AIDS and TB treatment across South Africa. She has passion for writing, several of her articles were published in some of the well-known media platforms. In 2011, she was invited to present her research about HIV youth linkage study, at two major AIDS conferences in Durban, South Africa and in Rome, Italy.
Isabel Essen
Isabel EssenMember
Isabel grew up in Germany and completed her Master’s in Education, Business Economics and German Literature / Linguistics at the University of Stuttgart. Through her studies, Isabel developed a great interest in the African continent and development work and was ultimately drawn to South Africa. From July 2007 to March 2011, Isabel worked at SAEP as the Early Childhood Development Manager and has been on SAEP’s Board of Directors ever since. After gaining further work experience in non-profit and organisational management, fundraising, database development and more, she now runs her own business, working as independent Development Consultant with non-profit organisations and small business alike as well as following her other passion as Yoga & Acrobatics Instructor in Cape Town.
Danielle Becker
Danielle BeckerMember
Danielle completed her undergraduate studies at UCT in Fine Art. In 2008 and 2009 she worked for SAEP as the Arts Programme Coordinator and became involved in various High School programmes. Danielle completed a Masters in Art History at the University of Manchester and is currently engaged in research towards a PhD at UCT. Since working for SAEP Danielle has lectured Art History and Visual Studies at Stellenbosch Academy, UCT and the University of Stellenbosch.
Zandile Mahlasela
Zandile MahlaselaMember
Zandile Mahlasela grew up in a small town called Matatiele. She came to Cape Town for greener pastures back in 2000. She has worked in various non-government organizations before joining SAEP in 2007 as an administrative officer and soon promoted to coordinate the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme. She holds a Baccalaureus of Technology- Public Management from Cape Peninsula University of Technology and is currently busy with Honours in Human Resource Management with Management College of South Africa (MANCOSA). She is currently working for the City of Cape Town.
Jane Keen
Jane KeenDirector
Jane began working as a volunteer for SAEP in 2003 and has remained a dedicated supporter ever since. She is a graduate of the University of Cape Town and a social worker with 30 years’ experience working with street children, farm workers’ children, and the victims of domestic violence. She helped to establish and run some of the first shelters for street children in Cape Town while working at the Child Welfare Society, including: The Homestead, Ons Plek, Margaret’s House, Patrick’s House and others. She then co-founded the NICRO Women’s Support Centre in downtown Cape Town, and managed the domestic violence programme for 7 years. She has served on the Management Committee of St. Anne’s Homes for a number of years, and provides supervision to a number of social workers and lay counsellors through Catholic Welfare and Development and other organisations.

SAEP and the Independent Code of Governance

SAEP’s npocodelogobigBoard of Directors and staff have signed the Independent Code of Governance for Non-Profits in South Africa. The Code lays out a set of principles, values and responsibilities to guide and inform the way in which non-profit organisations are managed and conduct their affairs. In 2014 we renewed our ongoing commitment to sound and ethical governance and management.

To find out more about the code, please visit http://www.governance.org.za/the-independent-code/