Thembile Phute is a social scientist, civil society expert and Transitional Justice Fellow with more than 18 years of experience in strengthening the capacity of civil society to champion the democratic agenda in closed spaces characterized by poor governance and economic downturns. Thembile joined the women’s movement in the early 2000s and was involved in the sanitary wear campaign to reduce import tariffs on sanitary wear. She also took part in research on the gender dimensions of the AIDS Levy, which resulted in the publication of the book “Picture My Life." Thembile has mentored many young women and leaders in civil society. A former trustee and board member for Institute for Women in Development and Streets Ahead, her skills include program management, organizational development and gender and climate change programming. She holds an MBA, a master's degree in sociology and social anthropology and a bachelor's degree in sociology and industrial psychology.