“I am so excited to see what architects put together to see the linkage between nature and the proposed development in Matopos, a unique area of Zimbabwe. What a great project which I am privileged to be part of.”

A highly respected, experienced environmental conservationist, who has dedicated the past 28 years to her country, Zimbabwe, to improving and uplifting communities lives through her strong belief in developing self sustainability and to the protection and conservation of the environment. Her early experiences of growing up on a farm in Zimbabwe instilled a deep love of nature and out of this was born her passion for the environment. Whilst out on a walk in the bush some 30 years ago, she came across the carcass of a poached rhino and it was this traumatic experience that started her on the path to where she is today. She decided something needed to be done to raise awareness and to raise funds for rhino conservation in Zimbabwe.

In 1986, together with a friend, Julie Edwards, she completed a 22,000km bicycle ride, which took them from the UK across Europe and Africa back to Zimbabwe. This journey was recorded and published in a book ‘Extinction is Forever’ and Charlene is still affectionately known and recognised today, as ‘The Rhino Girl’.

In 1990 Charlene co-founded Environment 2000, later rebranded Environment Africa and has grown the organisation to one that works with all sectors of society in Zimbabwe, and neighbouring Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. As CEO of Environment Africa she is responsible for Policy, Planning and Executive Management, and has led and motivated the organisation through challenging economic, political and social challenges. The organisation facilitates projects, which encompass raising environmental awareness, the protection, conservation and management of natural resources and promoting sustainable development through self-empowerment.