Our Team in Lesotho

Photo of Amanda Khozi Mukwashi

Ms. Amanda Khozi Mukwashi

Resident Coordinator
Ms. Mukwashi has devoted more than 25 years to public service, working on poverty alleviation, tackling injustice and inequalities at the intergovernmental and non-governmental level while holding leadership positions at the United Nations and externally. Within the Organization, she served with the United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) in Germany as Chief, Volunteer Knowledge and Innovation, as well as Chief of Advisory Services. She has also worked on country support programme on gender, population, and development with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Zambia.

Dr. Jacqueline Olweya

Dr. Jacqueline Saline Olweya holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) in Economics and Planning of Education from Kenyatta University, Kenya, and a Master of Philosophy Degree in the same discipline from Moi University, Kenya. She has published several books and articles on a wide range of topics including Education, Governance, Security, Poverty Reduction, HIV&AIDS, and Strategic Planning from a gender perspective.
With over 20 years of experience in development practice, she provides high level policy, advisory, teambuilding support and capacity development initiatives for governments, United Nations, civil society organizations and academia.

Prior to being appointed as the UNDP Resident Representative in the Kingdom of Lesotho Jacquiy, as she is fondly known, served as the Deputy Resident Representative for Programmes in UNDP Somalia. Dr. Olweya also served as the Head of the Regional United Nations Sustainable Development Group for Eastern and Southern Africa (R-UNSDG ESA) covering 22 countries; Training Policy Specialist with the United Nations Development Operations Cooperation Office (UNDOCO); Assistant Resident Representative with UNDP Kenya in charge of Governance and Gender Programmes and National Gender Advisor to the Government of Kenya. She also worked as Programme Manager with Care International for an EU funded education project in Somaliland.

A Kenyan citizen, Jacquiy brings a strong track record of leadership and demonstrated exemplary performance in change management, research undertaken and contributions to policy debates in various subject areas.


Mr. Patrice Talla Takoukam

Dr Patrice Talla Takoukam, a national of Cameroon, has been FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa since September 2020. Prior to that Dr Talla was FAO Representative in Madagascar and covering Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles, under the multiple-accreditation scheme.

Dr. Talla joined FAO headquarters in 2001 as Legal Officer in the Law and Development Service of the Legal Office. In 2004, he transferred to the World Bank in Washington DC, United States, as Legal Officer/Counsel in the Environment and International Law Unit, Legal Department.

He returned to FAO headquarters in 2010, where he served as Legal Officer in the Development Law Service, Legal Office. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in International Environmental Law and Public Law from the University of Limoges in France.

Mr. Richard Banda

Dr Richard Banda has worked in the health sector for over twenty years facilitating health policy formulation, technical cooperation and policy dialogue both at national and international levels.
Before this appointment, Dr Banda was WHO technical advisor for HIV and viral hepatitis in Kenya for a period of two years responsible for scaling up antiretroviral therapy, contributing to an effective HIV and viral hepatitis response. He served in Tanzania as acting WHO Representative from 2016 to 2017 and as Medical Officer for HIV treatment and care from 2012 to 2016.

Prior to that, he worked at WHO Sub-Regional Office in Harare as a Technical Officer supporting countries in Africa on HIV drug resistance surveillance and monitoring from 2009 to 2011. He joined the World Health Organization fifteen years ago at the introduction of the 3 by 5 HIV treatment initiative. He served his native country, Malawi, as a District Health Officer from 1999 to 2004 before joining the World Health Organization.

Dr Banda graduated in medicine from University of Malawi and holds postgraduate qualifications in infectious disease control from University of London; health economics from University of Cape Town and tropical medicine from the Royal College of Physicians, UK. He is married to a nurse with three children. His professional goals for the next couple of years focus around becoming increasingly involved in efforts to attain universal health coverage by facilitating uptake of evidence-based health policies.

Mr.Deepak Bhaskaran

Deepak Bhaskaran was appointed as the Representative for the Lesotho Country Office in January 2022. He assumed his role on June 27th, 2022.

Mr. Bhaskaran brings over twenty-one years of experience in strategic digital innovation and development, ICT, technology partnerships, and emergency and operations management in Africa, Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Before this assignment, Mr. Bhaskaran served as UNICEF Deputy Regional Director Eastern and Southern Africa Region a.i, responsible for management and operations oversight for 21 countries. He also served as Chief of ICT UNICEF HQ Geneva, where he managed the private sector fundraising Business systems and ICT for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Between 2005 and 2009, Mr. Bhaskaran served as the Specialist Emergency Response Operations and ICT for UNICEF, where he led the rapid deployment of emergency kits for UNICEF operations and global capacity building. In addition, from 2001-2005, he served as an ICT and Emergency specialist at UNICEF Middle East and North Africa, where he was responsible for ICT and emergency response support for 14 Middle East and North Africa countries. Mr. Bhaskaran, a national of India, joined UNICEF in April 2000 and has held several senior positions.

Mr. Bhaskaran holds a Master’s in Business Administration (Strategic Management) from the University of Wales.
Aurore Rusiga

Ms. Aurore Rusiga

Country Director
Ms. Aurore has over 26 years with the UN World Food Programme with 9 years of national professional experience and 17 years of international professional experience. Over a career spanning 25 years with WFP, Ms. Rusiga has served in a variety of progressive assignments in Zambia(2012-2016) as Programme and Policy Officer, Purchase for Progress (P4P) Coordinator, Senegal(2008-2012) as regional Logistics Officer for West and Central Africa, Malawi Logistics Officer (Pipeline/ Reports) in 2003- 2004 and as Deputy Head of Logistics and Supply Unit in 2005-2008. She also served in her home country Burundi (1994-2003) as Logistics Assistant.

Ms. Aurore holds a University degree in Tax Systems from University of Burundi, Institute of Commerce, Bujumbura with major subjects including management, Public and Corporate Law, General Accounting, Public and Corporate accounting, Corporate Audit.

Ms. Pepukai S. Chikukwa

Country Director
Ms Pepukai Chikukwa joined the UN in Lesotho in July 2022, serving as the UNAIDS Country Director. Overall, she has over 28 years progressive experience in HIV, and health and development in general, holding senior positions in government, civil society organizations and the United Nations.

Prior to per appointment in Lesotho, she served in the same capacity in Liberia since September 2020. Before her assignment as Country Director, Ms Chikukwa worked as Strategic Information Adviser for UNAIDS in Lesotho, Eswatini and Malawi since 2009.

Prior to working with UNAIDS, she worked for 6 years for an international NGO i.e., Frontline AIDS (formerly International HIV/AIDS Alliance) at its Headquarters in the UK departing as M&E Manager. She has also worked in South Africa for a national NGO and in Zimbabwe for UNICEF and the Ministry of Health, where her professional career began in 1992. She has also worked for a university research institute in her native Zimbabwe.
Her work has seen her support in strengthening government leadership and coordination of HIV responses, defining and refining national HIV priorities, with development and review of strategic plans as well as for the health sector, helping position and strengthen countries for funding opportunities including for Global Fund and oversight of the grants, capacity building and technical guidance in different HIV technical areas and strategic information including health information systems, development and management of corporate accountability systems. Her work with civil society has helped develop and strengthen nascent organizations into national organizations managing significant Global Fund grants for example. She has experience leading interagency and multidisciplinary teams for defined national and/or UN priorities.

In addition to the 6 countries she has lived and worked in, Ms Chikukwa has provided direct technical assistance to national and sub-national civil society organizations in over 20 countries across the globe. Ms Chikukwa’s qualifications include an MPH (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) from the University of Pretoria, an MSc in Development Management from the Open University – UK, and a BSc in Statistics and Computer Science from the University of Zimbabwe. She is a native of Zimbabwe with one daughter.