C4 appoints 12 new interns

By 30 Jun, 2020 Jul 6th, 2020 Blog, News

Since 2017, C4 EcoSolutions has offered a unique internship programme to expand its dynamic team of experts to address the global climate crisis. The C4 internship annually seeks talented, motivated early-career professionals and graduates to join a programme designed to kickstart their career in the fields of C4’s four C’s – climate, community, conservation, and carbon. In 2020, C4 had over 500 internship applications, of which 12 were selected for the first stage of the programme, and we are happy to announce that all of them were successfully appointed to the full C4 internship.

The internship is intended to increase C4’s diversity of expertise, which currently includes climate science, ecology, soil science, and conservation, and in the last two years has expanded towards specialism in physical and human geography, public policy and administration, gender and economics. C4’s current projects have a strong focus on ecosystem-based adaptation, extending across over 20 countries in Africa, Central and South-East Asia, Eastern Europe, the South Pacific and the Caribbean, as well as regional projects in Southern Africa, the Greater Horn of Africa and Central America.

The C4 paid internship programme aims to equip participants with the skills necessary to actively contribute to innovative project design, development and implementation, with the hopes of them joining the C4 team long term as analysts or consultants. The programme is run in three stages, with the most promising individuals progressing to the next round at the end of each stage. This year, the programme was slightly adapted, as the C4 office turned to working remotely during Covid-19’s lockdown regulations.

Stage 1: Training (16 March–10 April 2020) – The 12 selected individuals underwent a one-month training course presented by the C4 team via online meeting platforms. The course introduced participants to the intricacies of climate change adaptation and climate finance access through global funds such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund (AF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The training drew on real life examples as well as theoretical exercises on further topics such as ecosystem-based adaptation, climate refugees, gender, governance and public policy, climate rationale, climate vulnerabilities, project development, climate consultancy, stakeholder consultation, and C4 writing quality and style. This year, interns collaborated on training outcomes – including developing a mock Concept Note – via Skype and Zoom.

Stage 2: Experiential Learning (13 April–15 May 2020) – Individuals who excelled during the initial training course were invited to join the team (albeit remotely) for a month of experiential learning. During this month, interns worked directly with C4’s team of professional climate change and environmental consultants on live projects, gaining direct exposure to the practical aspects of project design and management.

Stage 3: Full Internship (16 May 2020 –15 May 2021) – At the end of the experiential learning period, the C4 full internship commenced, still under lockdown and remote working conditions. This stage is ongoing and requires interns’ deep involvement in project development. Selection for this full internship was based on performance during the training and experiential learning stages and this year all 12 candidates for Stage 1 were all appointed to the full internship.

Time for us to get to know them:  

Andrew King


MSc Environmental Science; BSc (Honours) Environmental Science; BSc Environmental Science and Economics
If Andrew were president for a day in the Republic of South Africa, he would introduce mass tree-planting and beautification projects throughout the country’s previously disadvantaged communities. He explains that this would create employment opportunities, transform urban environments and positively influence climate change efforts.
Andrew says, “Since my early university days, I have planted hundreds of spekboom cuttings, spotted and identified over 250 bird species and propagated around 100 different species of succulents — which have enhanced my understanding of and connection with the natural world. My advice to passionate environmentalists looking to engage with nature would be to plant as much as you can as soon as you can — it is truly rewarding to see your efforts materialise, accomplish what was once only a vision and to contribute to ecological well-being in your corner of the world.”

Current Masunungure


MSc in Environmental Science; BSc (Honours) Forest Resources and Wildlife Management
Current is passionate about the need for developing climate refugee status, and therefore including displacement from climate change in asylum-seeking legislation. Current refers to refugees on the African continent fleeing their home countries because of several threats to their livelihoods and well-being, including violence, inequality or poor governance. Climate change and the resulting environmental disasters can exacerbate this displacement.
He calls for our an expansion of our understanding of what it means to be a refugee – and for the 173 countries that are party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ISSPR) to ensure their asylum standards and procedures are adapted to include the threats of climate change.

Dylan Beukes


MSc, Ecology; BSc (Honours) Ecology, Environment and Conservation Sciences; BSc, Biological Sciences
Dylan has always been passionate about science and nature, initially wanting to be a palaeontologist, then a veterinarian, and eventually finding his way to the wonders of ecology. His personal interests include contesting the stereotype of science being coldly separate from creativity and he tries to use every opportunity to show that they are linked in a beautiful cycle. He also wants to ensure science is welcoming, beneficial and fun for everyone, and that the work he does plays a critical role in benefiting society. Dylan tries to embrace the spirit of drag in his personal life by treating things as completely ridiculous but also absolutely serious at the same time. One of Dylan’s favourite quotes is from Jane Goodall, a well-known primatologist and anthropologist; “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Dylan Marks


MSc in Climate Change, Development and Policy; BEng in Chemical Engineering
Dylan’s background experience stems from conducting substantial research on how ecosystem-based adaptation can be applied to European cities, to working with an NGO providing educational and emotional support to orphaned students in Japan and Senegal applying to foreign universities. He looks forward to systemic changes in the tourism industry to transition to sustainable travel and recreation.

Ella Hall


PGDip (Sustainable Development); BA Development and Environment
Ella has always loved ‘the great outdoors’ and grew up in regular contact with the natural world, from beach days to hikes to camping trips with her family. She was first confronted with the degradation inflicted by human systems on the earth in her high school geography classes, and she knew then that she wanted to be a part of the transition to a sustainable society. She says, “to achieve a 1.5°C world, it often appears that “all we need to change is everything”. The magnitude of this global task can be overwhelming, but when working with those who share my passion, I am reminded that humans have consistently achieved the (seemingly) impossible”.

Erin Hill


MPhil in Environment, Society and Sustainability; PGCE; BFA Fine Art and Psychology
Erin explains that all life on earth is interconnected. Plants, humans, and other animals all co-exist. She says, “We are essentially made of the same stuff and we all share a common history, but somewhere along the line, this connection came undone. Certain aspects of human progress have resulted in the estrangement of different life forms and our human detachment from our environment. My goal is to advocate for the harmonious common future, balance and wellbeing of all life forms in development, conservation and climate change adaptation.”

Kervin Prayag


MSc Biological Sciences; BSc (Honours) Biological Sciences; BSc Applied Biology, Ecology & Evolution, and Marine Biology
Kervin’s passion for the 4 C’s was sparked during his MSc studies that investigated the effects of climate change on cultivated and natural ecosystems, which became the inspiration for his current career path. He believes it is important to keep a holistic perspective on these topics — for example understanding the reason behind actions that exacerbate climate change — so that the cause, and not merely the symptoms, may be addressed to ensure sustainable change. His passion further extends to politics, leading Kervin to enjoy listening to philosophical debates between French politicians, polemists and writers. In another life, Kervin might have been a pilot, not simply due to his love of flying, but also because of his fascination with aerospace engineering, ATC communications and all the intricate procedures that take place in the cockpit.

Makhotso Gaseitsiwe


BA in Environmental Science and English
Having been a professional afro-contemporary dancer for seven years, and now working in an environmental consultancy firm, Makhotso has been exposed to the true polarity of science and art careers. However, she aspires to use participatory art forms to creatively communicate environmental matters to and with the youth. She says, “I think I might just start by choreographing a piece about climate change and getting the C4 team to perform it.”

Miren Schleicher


MSc in Conservation Medicine; BS in Environmental Science
Miren spent most of 2019 rearing African penguin chicks for release back into the wild. This involved hand raising chicks that had been abandoned by their parents, or often even hatching chicks from eggs that were either abandoned or laid in unsafe locations. This relates to the conservation C of C4, because African penguins are a critically endangered species, with less than 2% of their original population left. She says, “every chick released back into the wild counts! They’re also an ecologically important species, fulfilling the role of ocean sentinels, which means that their declining population is an indication of impacts on other species that hasn’t been observed yet”.

Paul Fourie


PGDip (Sustainable Development); BA Environmental Management
During his undergraduate studies, Paul became acutely aware of the multiple social and environmental crises that the world is currently faced with. He spent a year getting dirty on organic farms in South Africa to see what real sustainability looks like on the ground, working mainly in intensive vegetable, small-scale livestock and fruit production systems. He also spent time working with the Goedgedacht Trust in implementing social change in rural communities in the Western Cape. After finishing his postgrad studies in sustainable development, he co-founded and managed an agri-tourism business startup in the Western Cape. Ultimately, this did not satisfy the need he still felt to contribute to global change, which he hopes to do during his career at C4, particularly by helping develop climate change and land restoration projects.

Rosie McLean


MA in Environment, Development and Policy; BA in Environmental Science and Anthropology
Rosie is interested in finding creative ways to share ideas and stories that inspire and (re)connect. Creative writing and videography – particularly postproduction processes – are amongst her passions. She has edited footage for conservation organisations, as well as live music performers and sports professionals. Her preference for an interdisciplinary approach is further enabled by her studies in Sound Technology, Film and Media and recent exploration of drone videography.
“Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou

Tim Kirsten


BSc (Honours) in Biological Sciences; BSc in Applied Biology and Environmental & Geographical Sciences
In 2019, Tim was a part of a project with the Organization for Tropical Studies in the Kruger National Park that added another angle of incentive for the conservation of rhinos. In particular, the project focused on the role of rhino middens in creating and sustaining biodiversity hotspots in savanna ecosystems.
Tim also has a strong passion for the social sciences and arts, and enjoys following the creative ways younger generations are expressing their feelings on climate change, environmental degradation and other social issues through music, meme culture, videos and novel forms of activism.