Michael O'Brien-Oneyka

Interview with Micheal O’Brien-Onyeka: Capacity Building – Thoughts from a Builder

Michael O’Brien-OnyekaWe are very pleased to have Michael O’Brien-Onyeka join our team at Nature For Justice.

Micheal comes with an impressive set of skills and significant experience. Along with having been the Senior Vice President – Africa Field Division at Conservation International, Michael has held senior positions at Greenpeace Africa, Oxfam, the National Democratic Institute, the African Child Policy Forum, and Amnesty International.

A Pan-Africanist and an authority on Pan-African issues, Michael has a track record of success in resource mobilization, developing strategic initiatives, fostering high-level partnerships, managing ground-breaking programs, and building strong, effective teams.

At Nature For Justice (N4J), Michael will focus on expanding the N4J global network, creating the organization’s Early Career Pipeline, and building a portfolio of projects, particularly carbon-based projects, that aim to help local communities around the world adapt to climate change.

We managed to find a little time to ask Michael two important questions:

Lisa Cloete: You have a reputation as being a builder. What are your aspirations for N4J?

Michael O’Brien-Onyeka: I would like to see N4J become a trusted adviser to organized civil society, the private sector, and governments. It is essential that in addressing the compelling challenges of runaway climate change that key sectors of society work closely together:

  • Civil society bringing in social credits and community-level engagements
  • The private sector providing innovation and capital, and
  • Governments creating policy environments that allow the above two to function fully and effectively.

Working with and through key stakeholders, N4J aims deliver much-needed solutions, quickly and at scale.

Lisa: Your title is Managing Director of Global Partnerships. You have an incredible network of organizations and associates you’ve worked with. What do you see as their most pressing needs, and what can N4J accomplish?

Michael: As a result of varied interactions with my diverse networks, particularly in the global South, one common need is ‘capacity’. This entails articulating key issues in a format that is easily understood and can then be supported by donors. We also would focus on areas such as technical capacity particularly to better carry out on-the-ground interventions in niche conservation areas such as Carbon, REDD+, among others programs.

With the leadership of N4J, I’ll be looking into ways that we can create a cohort of competent personnel across the global South in these important conservation subject-matters and challenges.

Lisa: We are pleased to welcome Micheal on board and excited for what’s to come. Watch this space for more on the exciting projects that Micheal will be involved in.


  • Lisa Cloete

    As the Creative Advisor and Lead Storyteller, Lisa comes to Nature for Justice passionate about restoring and protecting our natural world and with a wide range of experience in the creative world of storytelling. She has worked in the art industry, publishing, education and literary fields. She has also worked in Communications for an ocean-based NGO and run’s her own small social media campaign for beach clean ups in her city in South Africa.

    lcloete@nature4justice.org Cloete Lisa

More to explore


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *