Our team

Maggie Wairimu Ainley is a Pan African scholar-practitioner and the Executive Director of Unyoke Foundation.  She operates at the intersection of politics and culture, with a specific focus on nurturing ecosystems of care, learning, relationship building, and community. Prior to joining Unyoke Foundation, Maggie held both research and leadership positions at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Centre for Constitutional Research, the Institute for Security Studies and the Kenya Institute of Governance.  An ESRC scholar, she also holds a PhD in International Relations from the LSE.

Tumi Mpofu is a researcher and practitioner. She has over the past 15 years been involved in various spaces where she labours in thought and practice on building just and caring futures. She loves people, learning and hopes to semi-retire at 55 so she can read about the wonders of trees.

 Tumi currently fills the role of Programmes Director at Unyoke Foundation.

Stephan Fourie is a finance professional with a heart for positively impacting society at large. He has served in various finance and managerial position of both corporate and non-profit organisations. While working for Deloitte in South Sudan, he gained first-hand experience of the challenges facing multinational humanitarian organisations. He is a qualified chartered accountant and lives in Cape Town with his wife and 3 young children.

Stephan currently serves as the Foundation’s Finance Director.

Dianne Whiting has over 25 years’ experience as a Personal Assistant and Administrator. She has had previous exposure to the NGO environment, such as Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement. She worked closely with Inyathelo’s founding Executive Director, as well as fulfilling her portfolio as the Events Coordinator at the NGO.

Previous NGO work included a long tenure at LEAF College of Commerce and Engineering / National Access Consortium Western Cape for almost 10 years, where she served as PA to the Deputy CEO.

Dianne joined Unyoke Foundation as the Foundation’s Administrator and then moved into her current role as Programmes Coordinator.

Janice Winter has extensive experience in civil society engagement, research, and journalism, with a common focus in these diverse roles on conflict transformation and social healing. 

Prior to joining Unyoke, she worked with a community of peacebuilders in the Middle East, which afforded her invaluable insights into the personal, professional, and political challenges facing those working for peace in complex and dynamic contexts of intractable conflict and the importance of providing safe spaces for dialogue, reflection, connection, and healing. 

She has also been engaged in work centred on political violence and peacebuilding initiatives in Zimbabwe, elite networks and inequality in South Africa’s transition to democracy, and the persecution of journalists in Ethiopia and Somalia. Janice has an MSc in Political Science and an MPhil in International Development, both from the University of Oxford.

She has worked with organisations such as the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Omidyar Network, the Atkin Network for Arab-Israeli Dialogue, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. 

Janice recently joined the team at Unyoke Foundation and currently serves as our Community Associate.

Our Board

Nomfundo Walaza is a clinical psychologist, conflict transformation mediator and a human rights activist who co-founded the Unyoke Foundation with Chris Spies in November 2017. She is a dedicated and passionate peacebuilder and mental health specialist who has, in recent years, focused her work in accompanying the next generation of peacebuilders. She is passionate about ensuring that young women get the recognition they deserve in working for peace, and that they get equal representation when peace agreements are signed.   She believes that the unyoke process of intergenerational accompaniment will play a key role in empowering and connecting young local peacebuilders, as they seek lasting solutions to intractable conflicts in their communities. “Africa will transform conflicts, if we take the time to invest in the next generation of passionate and aspirant peacebuilders”.

Chris Spies, Founding Director of Dynamic Stability, and co-founder of Unyoke Foundation alongside Nomfundo Walaza, has decades of experience as a seasoned trainer; facilitator; dialogue practitioner; accompanier; and peacebuilder. Chris and  Nomfundo, have been co-facilitating intergenerational dialogues and Unyoke Retreats since 2012, fostering connections among local and international peacebuilders. With a focus on nurturing an inspiring network of peacebuilders, his passion lies in walking alongside the younger generation of peace leaders toward creating a sustainable foundation for peace, beginning in Africa and extending globally.

Akunna Onwu, a seasoned executive and leadership coach, organisational learning and development professional, admitted Advocate, and people transformation enthusiast, brings a unique blend of experiences in banking, compliance, academia, and human capital development to our board. With a passion for transforming lives, she is not just a change-maker but a catalyst for social impact. Drawing from her rich global experiences, Akunna inspires transformation through personalized coaching, compelling public speaking, and innovative program development. At the heart of her mission is a personal commitment to equipping individuals and businesses with tailored insights, empowering them to overcome challenges, build new competencies, and achieve their most meaningful aspirations

Joe Louis Washington is a human rights advocate, social critic, curator of stories, and peacebuilder. Joe’s professional background spans the areas of university-related teaching and training (including in various capacities as an international lecturer and trainer in human rights and conflict resolution); public policy development and analysis; philanthropy; and peacekeeping.

Joe has presented papers and/or published articles on topics related to conflict prevention, the right to self-determination, human security, the Gandhian approach to non-violence, the rights of indigenous peoples, and barriers to the effective implementation of human rights, specifically economic, social, and cultural rights.

Joe currently serves as Managing Director of The Nia Foundation (TNF)/Stichting Nia, an organization dedicated to finding ways and means to share the accumulated knowledge, skills, and wisdom found in the various ‘human libraries’ of those associated with TNF for generations to come.

Peggy Jean-Louis is a visionary leader with over 17 years of global expertise in fostering connections and igniting impactful change. As a trailblazer in strategic partnerships and philanthropy across higher education, the NGO realm, and the creative industries, Peggy has consistently delivered collective impact by uniting people and ideas.

Having successfully secured six to seven figures in philanthropic funding from corporate giants for The London School of Economics and Political Science, Peggy stands as a true architect of positive transformation. The passion for education fuels her mission, currently co-establishing I-LEAD, a ground-breaking pedagogy research centre for the future of business education at King’s College London.

In an exciting endeavour to shape the future, Peggy is on the verge of launching a ground-breaking business focused on providing career education for African teens. This innovative venture reflects Peggy’s unwavering commitment to empowering the next generation with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive.

Priscilla Sigila holds a B. Com Hons (Acc) degree and Internal Auditing National Diploma. She is currently employed as an Accountant at a financial services entity. She has years of experience in accounting, finance, internal controls, and auditing. She has significant exposure to a variety of entities from unlisted to listed organisations. She has been a member of the board committee, audit committee, chair of the board and finance committee of a public sector entity and chair of board of trustees committee for a non-profit organization where she provided valuable insights and perspectives on governance, knowledge of operational and financial control issues.

Preeti Thapa is The Asia Foundation’s deputy country representative in Nepal. She is a peacebuilder, lawyer, mediator, and certified master trainer in mediation and dialogue with more than 25 years of experience in law, human rights, gender, peacebuilding, and governance. Preeti provides support in managing the Foundation’s work in Nepal including program development, implementation, grant management, administration, financial management, and office security.

 Preeti has worked for The Asia Foundation for over twenty years in various capacities, most recently as director of Justice and Governance in Nepal. During her tenure with the Foundation, she has developed expertise in access to justice and strategic peacebuilding through community mediation and multi-stakeholder dialogue; mentored staff members on project management, oversight, and capacity building of local partners; served as liaison with the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers’ Gender Empowerment and Coordination Unit, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, the Office of the Attorney General, and the National Human Rights Commission; and played an instrumental role in building strong relationships with government officials, members of the judiciary, civil society, and donors. 

 Thapa worked with Nepal’s Ministry of Law and Justice on mediation policies and, in particular, contributed to the passage of the Mediation Act and Regulation. Most recently, she played an integral role in supporting Nepal’s continued peacebuilding through the transition to a federation of provinces. Thapa is a member of the Nepal Bar Association and of the Community Mediators’ Society Nepal. She is a visiting faculty member at Kathmandu University, the Army Command and Staff College, Shivapuri Nepal, and a resource person at the Folke Bernadotte Academy, Sweden on Mediation and Dialogue.


There are fourteen associates — all experienced peacebuilders and accompaniers:

Alfred Kibunja Kenya
Ayanda Nyoka South Africa
Clever Nyathi Zimbabwe
Deon Snyman South Africa
Derrick Marco South Africa
Elizabeth Solomon Trinidad
Emmanuel Bombande Ghana
James Taylor South Africa
Lynn-Joy Isaacs South Africa
Maria Selde USA
Nyambura Mpaayei Kenya
Paska Nyaboth South Sudan
Philip Visser South Africa
Wilhelm Verwoerd South Africa

Current focus areas

Generic Unyoke Reflective Practice Retreats in South Africa for national and international peacebuilders. UF is also responding to requests for retreats in other parts of the world and has held retreats in Denmark and Finland.

South Sudan: Chris Spies and Nomfundo Walaza facilitate Unyoke processes with two South Sudanese cohorts of young people. This initiative is a collaborative effort between UF and Humanity United. 

Uganda: UF associates, in collaboration with Oxfam, facilitate Unyoke processes for young South Sudanese peace leaders living in refugee settlements in Uganda.

Growing African Peace Leaders: a sustained initiative to accompany and mentor younger peace leaders, especially women, first in Africa and then globally.

Unyoke facilitators: The first session to increase the pool of Unyoke process faciltators was held in June 2019.

Lionel, Nomfundo, Clever Nyathi and Chris Spies at the awarding of the Waging Peace Award to Clever. 

Nomfundo Walaza, Bishop Paride Taban of Kuron Peace Village in South Sudan and Chris Spies


Unyoke Foundation is a (RF) Non-Profit Company (Number 2017/527862/08) registered in South Africa as a Non-Profit Organisation (Number 202-923 NPO) and Public Benefit Organisation (PBO number 930063074). Unyoke Foundation

The Unyoke Foundation’s Equivalency Determination certification is valid through February 28, 2021