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Gobabeb Research & Training Centre

Current Staff

Administration and Management

gillian

Gillian Maggs-Kölling

Executive Director

As Executive Director of Gobabeb, Gillian brings experience acquired over many years of managing research systems in the public sector, to the organisation. She is a passionate, plant person, with a keen interest in indigenous cucurbits, which makes Gobabeb and its proximity to the !nara fields an ideal location. Gobabeb has touched the lives of so many Namibian and international scientists and students over five decades, and her aspiration is to make a contribution to sustain this remarkable legacy.

 

Research

 

Angel Curtis

Angela Curtis

Senior Research Technician

For as long as she can remember, Angela has been consumed by an interest in animals and a need to know more. After extensive studies in Zoology and Chemistry followed by Computer Science, Psychology and Companion Animal Ethology, Angela spent many years working in the tourism industry and later working as an Animal Behaviour Consultant. Angela has come to Gobabeb to further her studies with research into the ecology of bats in arid environments as well as participating in various internal Gobabeb Research Projects. 

 

Martin H

Martin Handjaba

Senior Research Technician

Martin Handjaba is a young research scientist from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). A former Gobabeb Training and Research Internship programme (GTRIP) participant, he recently rejoined the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre as senior research technician. Martin completed his B.Sc. and B.Sc. (Hons) in Natural Resource Management at NUST and is currently pursuing his M.Sc. on diversity and behaviour of burrowing scorpions (Scorpiones) of the central Namib Desert. He is very passionate about drylands ecology and is motivated by making new discoveries about how scorpions and reptiles make use of arid environments as their home. 

Elbe

Elbe Becker

Research Technician

Stubbornly inseparable from the Namib, this native, though nomadic by nature, settled at Gobabeb with the intent to learn and grow. Elbe completed her Masters in Environmental Science at the North-West University at Potchefstroom, specialising on the ecology of the Culicoides-vectored diseases. After a short stint as an intern in Canada and a few years in the Kunene Region working with local communities in conservation, curiosity called her to the Oasis of Learning. As part of the Namib Ecological Restoration and Monitoring Unit (NERMU) at Gobabeb, she is cultivating her knowledge on the Namib’s delicate ecosystems, how humans affect it and how these impacts can be minimised.   

Ritha

Ritha-Meriam Kapitango

Research Technician

Ritha grew up in Tsumeb and resided in Windheok for five years where she completed a Bachelor’s (Honors) Degree in Environmental Biology and Geography at the University of Namibia (UNAM). She is passionate about the conservation and ecological restoration of our environment and therefore joined the Gobabeb Training and Research Internship Programme (GTRIP) where she did a project that looked at the effects of geo-location and anthropogenic disturbances on the abundance of tree scorpions (Uroplectes otjimbinguensis) in three ephemeral rivers. After completion of the five-month internship programme, Ritha joined the Gobabeb team as a Research Technician, with a hybrid function of coordinating and integrating research and training at the Centre. She sees Gobabeb as the perfect place to study and understand arid ecology and its effective management. She is therefore looking forward to acquiring new knowledge and skills at Gobabeb and further her studies one day to fulfill her burning desire to learn more and venture ahead in the field of conservation. 

francois

Francois Becker

Research Technician

Francois Becker, a barefoot local, is happier in the bush than indoors and can most often be found crouching over critters on the ground, camera in hand. After studying at the University of Cape Town for six years, Francois has returned to the arid lands of Namibia with his wife to uncover some of its natural secrets. With a Master’s degree in Statistical Ecology, Francois previously specialised in the population ecology of frogs, but throughout his university career has spent a lot of time on expeditions on chameleons, snakes and biodiversity surveys. He is excited about the fact that his work as a research technician now includes insects, geckos, and even the occasional bit of botany. Francois’ favourite part of the job is definitely the field work and as such he can often be found seeking elusive creatures late into the night.

 

Doris Kinyaga

Doris Kinyaga

IT Support

Originally from the coastal region of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam,  Doris ended up in the Namib Desert after her four month internship job at Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN). Driven by her passion in computers, she is studying towards a BSc. in inforamation Technology. She will put all the work that she learns through her understudies employment at Gobabeb RTC into her studies. Doris is a positive person, always looking on the bright side of things. 

 

Training

tess

Tessa Becker

Training Coordinator

Despite a love and passion for science and nature, Tessa’s BSc degree is actually in Occupational Therapy, which makes her overall a people-person. Moving to Gobabeb has been the adventure of a lifetime and she has joined the team as the Training Co-ordinator. Tessa was born in Zimbabwe, which she travels to often, to visit her parents and younger brother but has chosen to make Namibia home after marrying a Namibian, Francois Becker. Tess hopes to develop new skills in training here in the desert as well as pursuing her hobbies of wildlife photography, reading and crochet. Her favourite part of working at Gobabeb is still sundowners on the dunes any chance she gets.

 

Meg Schmitt

Meg Schmitt

 FLC Project Coordinator

Meg Schmitt comes to Gobabeb with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Grinnell College, where she developed interests in environmental education, scientific journalism, and conservation policy. She cultivated a range of interests across the environmental studies disciplines and the country through a variety of experiences, from a land stewardship fellowship restoring Iowa’s prairies and savannas, to exploring competitive behaviors of Blue and Stone crabs in the salt marshes of coastal North Carolina. While at Gobabeb, she hopes to develop her gardening skills and dune-climbing abilities, as she indulges her love of writing, bird-watching and nature photography - and reads her way through the Gobabeb library. Once she has achieved her primary goal of successfully capturing and studying a Namib Golden Mole, she will consider leaving Gobabeb. Thereafter, Meg looks forward to further exploring her conservation-oriented interests elsewhere in Southern Africa, likely in either wildlife ecology or conservation management.

 

Housekeeping Team

Linda Bees

Linda Bees

Housekeeper

Linda is from Walvis Bay Rural (Kuiseb-Soutrivier). She has been working as a Houskeeper at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre since 2003. She enjoys washing, ironing, reading and watching movies.

Rita Swartbooi

Rita Swartbooi

Housekeeper

Rita is from Walvis Bay Rural (Kuiseb-Natab 1). She has been working as a Housekeeper at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre since 2002. She enjoys sewing and swimming.

Selma Swartbooi

Selma Swartbooi

Housekeeper

Selma is from Walvis Bay Rural (Kuiseb-Natab 1). She has been working as a Housekeeper at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre since 2009. She enjoys swimming and watching television.

Technical Team

Josef Gariseb

Josef Gariseb

Site Maintenance Assistant

Originally from the Hardap Region, Josef has been working as the Site Maintenance Assistant at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre since 2009. He enjoys carpentry and joinery work as well as maintenance. 

Jeffrey /Khurisab

Jeffrey /Khurisab

General Worker

Jeffrey is from Walvis Bay Rural (Kuiseb-Natab 1). He and has been working as a General Worker at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre since 2003. Jeffrey enjoys playing soccer and loves eating !Nara fruits. 

Richardt Swartbooi

Richardt Swartbooi

General Worker

Richardt is from Walvis Bay Rural (Kuiseb-Natab 1). He is has been working as a General Worker at  the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre since 2010. He enjoys playing and watching soccer.

 

sameul

Sameül //Gowaseb

General Worker

Sameül is from Uis (Brandberg mountain area). He has been working at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre since 2010 as a General Worker. He enjoys playing soccer and making his own designs.

 

Our Projects are Supported By:

Namibia Geological Survey
Cooperation
BGR
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Swkop Uranium
Langer Heinrich
NAMDEB
Indongo Toyota
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Finnish Embassy
Museums Association
Go Green
Wildlife Conservation Physiology
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ITPGRFA
KIT University
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