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Our Team

Aaniyah Omardien - The Beach Co-op

Aaniyah Martin

Founder and Director

Aaniyah focuses on work that connects people and nature. She worked for WWF SA from 2001 to 2010, where she helped start and eventually managed WWF’s Marine Programme. Alongside her Beach Co-op work, she consulted to WWF SA, where her task was to deliver research work related to consumer and restaurant engagement with single-use plastics.
Stefanie Swanepoel - The Beach Co-op

Stefanie Swanepoel

Director: Strategy and Planning

For the last two decades Stefanie has focused her work as an editor and researcher on food, waste and social systems. Her clients include the United Nations, CRIDF, South African government departments, the World Bank and GIZ. She wrote the climate change communication chapter for South Africa’s National Adaptation Strategy (forthcoming), and lectures on food systems and creative expression for entrepreneurship at the Sustainability Institute.

Maria Honig

Director: Business Development

As an avid and passionate marine biologist, Maria believes in our capacity for real social change to protect and preserve our marine world. She has 10 years of environmental and social development experience in commercial fishing, ecotourism and rural cattle farming communities. She has extensive theoretical knowledge on how institutions can play a major role in implementing innovative and effective solutions for positive environmental and social change. She has managed several environmental and social sustainability projects and education programmes and delivered training to the most and least educated in our society.
Megan-Rose Francis

Megan-Rose Francis

Operations Manager

Megan-Rose Francis is a conservationist with a keen interest in and love for the marine environment. This passion has led her to volunteer at a range of organisations such as the Two Oceans Aquarium, I Am Water Ocean Conservation and The Beach Co-op that work to raise awareness in coastal communities of the beauty of our marine world, and the importance of protecting it. Megan-Rose’s experience working for these types of organisations has made her an invaluable member of our team, and a resourceful and informed advocate for protecting our oceans. She loves sharing her knowledge and experience with others.

Scientific Advisor

Peter Ryan
As Director of the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, Peter has, in collaboration with others, conducted seminal work relating to beach litter along South Africa’s coastline. A respected international expert in this regard, he is a member of the UN Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), focusing on microplastics in marine environments.

Our Board

Our Board members are all leaders in waste reduction, either as the heads of innovative companies working to reduce waste by minimising, repurposing and recycling materials into popular brands, or as expert academic researchers in this field. Their practical experience and insights have helped shape the Beach Co-op’s vision and mission, and continue to ensure that it stays focused and relevant in a fast-changing landscape.

Mike Schlebach
Sealand Gear
Mike is recognised for his contribution to waste fabric upcycling in South Africa. His experience in bringing innovative products to market will benefit us in the short- and long-term.

Jasper Eales
Sealand Gear
Jasper is the creative force behind Sealand and offers The Beach Co-op his seasoned insights into building a brand in this sector.

Alex Glenday
Brew Kombucha
Alex is the founder and director of Brew Kombucha. She offers innovation and practical on-the-ground insight for sustainable business.

Philippa Notten
The Green House
Pippa is Director of The Green House sustainability consultancy and an adjunct associate professor at UCT, focusing on the life cycle assessment of products and technologies. She is currently involved in researching systemic approaches to addressing marine plastic.

Nicola Jenkin
Nicola has 25 years of experience working in the sustainability field with a particular focus on adding value to supply chains, sustainable food systems, food waste, alien vegetation and forestry, ocean plastic, packaging and green skills.

Our Partners