top of page

Our Team



Malawi Representative

Wishart is a Malawian who has lived in the UK after retiring as Principal Nursing Officer at the Zomba Mental Hospital in Malawi. Prior to this, he taught at the Zomba Nursing School and currently works for the York NHS.

Wishart is the owner and manager of the Mwabi Girls Secondary School in Embangweni, a small town near Mzimba in Northern Malawi. The school is the centre for many small projects including a goat exchange and community water project. Mwabi is also helping to supply neighboring schools with books and to create nursery schools.

On a limited scale, Wishart offered scholarship to a few students to continue their education, including university courses. Several donors in York have donated equipment, books, and other items of use to the community in Malawi.

Benny Dembitzer


Founder & Director

Benny Dembitzer is an international development economist specializing in the economics and management of small-scale enterprises. He was taught by Amartya Sen, one of the outstanding economists of the present era, who identified access to enough food as the key issue in liberation of people from starvation.


He has worked for 51 years across 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and also in Pakistan and Indonesia. Most of his work has been for International agencies, including the UNDP, the World Bank, UNIDO, ILO, ITC and for international NGOs, including OXFAM, CARE International, War on Want, Skillshare Africa, VSO. He started Grassroots Africa in 2010, and has been involved with small-scale agricultural projects in Malawi ever since.




Research Associate

Iliriana Prevulka has been helping Grassroots Africa for the last three years. She researches agricultural activities and methods and is particularly interested in the role of women in agriculture.  

Iliriana graduated with a degree in International Politics in the Third World at Aberystwyth University. She worked previously as an administrative assistant at the International Headquarters of the Salvation Army in London.

She also worked as Partnerships Manager at Recycle Charity (Bikes for Africa) managing partnerships from the UK, Ghana, South Africa, the Gambia and Zambia. She did field work in Ghana and Zambia. and in 2017 she worked in a secondary school and local communities in Malawi.



Web Designer & Copy Editor

Vanessa King has been a writer and designer for over 20 years. In 2018 she worked as the creative director for an ad agency in Montreal while renewing her passion for multimedia with a visual arts degree at SUNY, then returned to freelancing. She has studied and lived in a dozen countries, witnessing the destructive imbalance of nature and humans. Her travels have inspired her to finally be part of the solution rather than seeing the world with passive eyes while she wanders...


After meeting Mr. Dembitzer, she was moved to help his mission and hopes to be of service to Grassroots Malawi by creating a welcoming platform for its message. Vanessa is based in NY and London and anywhere a backpack can be safely stowed.  



Partner Communications

Steve Braidwood is a former magazine journalist and management consultant, now enjoying retirement with voluntary work and travel. He has an anthropology degree from the LSE and is a Sloan Fellow of London Business School.


Steve is based in London and has three grown-up children and a six-months-old granddaughter. He has been a friend of Benny since the 1980s when he helped with communications on one of his projects.


In 2017 he spent a few months in Zambia as a volunteer and is keen to return to Sub-Saharan Africa after lockdown to help Grassroots Malawi get established.

Charlie Knight[25554].jpg


Partner Coordinator

Charlie Knight is an international development and renewable energy professional. He recently managed and worked on solar and stabilisation programmes in Nigeria and Somalia respectively.


Before that he spent five years managing environmental and education programmes in Northern Malawi, embracing three years living on its lakeshore, which included a fuel efficient cookstoves initiative that gained UNFCCC accreditation as a CDM scheme. He has an MSc in Climate Change and Development and a BEng in Civil Engineering.



IT Consultant

Tasa Onakpoma is a computer programmer with a BSc Hons from the Kingston University London. He has experience in non profits and start-ups and has developed client tailored mentorship programs for FTSE100 companies. He has worked with Grassroots Africa for over 5 years and created the Grassroots Africa website.

Tasa is proficient in various programming languages including Java, CSS, HTML, SQL, Python, and enthusiastic about UX design and user-centred design. He has a successful history of project supervision and leading diverse teams to perform at maximum capacity.     

bottom of page