Who We Are
Gillian Maggs-Kölling. Executive Director
As Executive Director, Gillian Maggs-Kölling defines the strategic vision for Gobabeb and leads all aspects of the institute’s operations.
This includes planning, resourcing, fund-raising, marketing and stakeholder outreach, as well as forging links with both existing and potential research partners.
Her most fulfilling role is enabling the development of young Namibian scientists.
Gillian has long experience in managing research systems in the public sector in Namibia.
Her vision for Gobabeb is to grow the Institute’s reach and impact as a strategic centre for desert research.
She is a passionate plant person, particularly for indigenous cucurbits like the !nara (Acanthosicyos horridus).
She is becoming increasingly fascinated by the dynamic and diverse research disciplines associated with Gobabeb.
Eugene Marais. Research Manager
Eugene Marais coordinates and manages Gobabeb's research programmes. He identifies and guides Gobabeb’s long-term research programmes with international research associates.
He also develops and supervises short-term research projects for students at all educational levels, fostering their professional growth.
Eugene trained and worked as a geologist and entomologist, specialising in evolutionary biology, insect biodiversity and palaeoenvironmental assessments.
He has been doing research throughout Namibia since 1986 and has extensive knowledge and experience of the diversity and ecology of the different terrestrial environments in the country.
Elna Irish. Office Manager
Elna Irish manages and administers the operations at Gobabeb.
These include general office management and administrative support for all aspects of Gobabeab’s operations.
This includes general procurement, Human Resources and daily financial matters.
She also oversees hospitality and tourism related responsibilities, to ensure tourists, visiting researchers, and student groups are well-accommodated while they are at Gobabeb.
Leena Kapulwa is Gobabeb's first point of contact for anyone wanting to visit or work at Gobabeb.
Leena first came to Gobabeb in December 2016 as an intern in managing hospitality and accommodation.
She’s now employed as Gobabeb's Receptionist.
She helps visitors arrange reservations for accommodation, and assists in coordinating schedules and accommodation for students, researchers and visitors.
She soon plans to study for a tourism diploma. She grew up in Oniipa, in the northern part of Namibia.
Petrus Smit. Facilities Manager
Petrus Smit is the Facilities Manager at Gobabeb.
He is responsible for all aspects of operations and maintenance at Gobabeb, including electrical power, water, grounds and buildings, the vehicle fleet, and supervising of Gobabeb technical staff.
He also provides technical assistance to student projects as needed.
Ileni Hiwilepo is the accountant for Gobabeb-Namib Research Institute.
She has been in this position since 2016.
Her duties include maintaining, analysing and recording financial transactions, preparing for Gobabeb's annual audit, and preparing Donor Reports.
She has more than 15 years of experience in accounting and enjoys the challenges that come along with this job.