Dr Gavin Andersson

Director of the Seriti Institute

Gavin holds a PhD in Development Studies from The Open University in the United Kingdom but started working life as a diamond prospector for De Beers, was a guitar teacher and quantity surveyor’s clerk while studying for a BSc, then became involved in re-starting the black South African trade union movement before being banned by the Apartheid Government in 1976. He was founder and co-ordinator of CORDE, which worked with cooperatives and community enterprises throughout Botswana and later led a management consultancy, working across southern Africa and in the Caribbean.  On return to South Africa with the inception of democracy he led a development advocacy organization and then formed a leadership network across 8 countries of southern Africa.

He was one of the pioneers of the Community Work Programme, which now provides regular and predictable employment to many thousands of people across South Africa.  Midway through 2009 he co-founded the Seriti Institute, which strengthens community organization for social health and local economic development. Seriti Institute uses large-scale participatory methods, and in its systemic interventions forges partnerships involving all actors within an activity system.

Gavin worked in the field of Business Social Responsibility for a number of years. He was a founder and member of Council of AccountAbility and helped found the African Institute for Corporate Citizenship. He designed executive programmes in Unisa’s Centre for Corporate Citizenship for a year, and authored the course offered to third year BComm students on corporate citizenship. Gavin led the Social Impact Assessments on BP operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and was peer assessor for the Tanzanian SIA exercise. He is a member of the Integrated Reporting Committee chaired by Judge Mervyn King.

Gavin has played a prominent role in strengthening civil society across southern Africa.  He was instrumental in the formation of many NGOs, chaired three regional civil society networks and has served on the council of both the Botswana and the South African NGO Coalitions.  He also served on the Board of ICNL for 6 years and is currently a member of its Council. He was editor of a regional magazine for five years, and a founder and chairman of the board of the Mmegi Publishing Trust, which started what has become Botswana’s largest newspaper. He has worked in the field of leadership development for over twenty years, has served as a member of faculty of the United Nations University Leadership Academy and is a member of Synergos’ panel on Bridging Leadership. He is a distinguished fellow of the SARChI Chair in Development Education housed at UNISA and a senior visiting fellow of the Chair for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg.