South African Hub

We are women leading planetary health solutions at the frontlines of development in the Global South.

Our mission

Our mission is to bridge the gaps between environment and health policies through gender-transformative solutions.

We work to showcase the benefits of gender equality for sound environmental and public health policies, especially in low-and-middle-income countries. We are convinced that more inclusive and diverse decision-making processes can foster a cleaner environment, healthier lives and greater peace.

Our goals

By pioneering research, advocacy and training in a rapidly-expanding field, we are committed to providing innovative planetary health information for the South African context As part of a global movement, we are proud to promote Planetary Health and gender-transformative solutions in South Africa with the help of visionary social eco-entrepreneurs.

We drive impact through collaborative, ethical and impactful research. With a vibrant team, we strengthen and inform the advocacy efforts of the global WLPH movement, equipping members to bring practical and evidence-based change to their communities. This will be done by distilling research into accessible formats that can be shared and distributed widely.

Our Activities

  • We provide training on Planetary Health research and Gender-transformative solutions to local networks in South Africa that are based upon well-researched, scalable, easily adaptable, and locally relevant course material.
  • We build and disseminate online courses on the emerging field of Planetary Health, emphasizing how to mainstream gender equality for maximum impact.

Our Team

Dr Cyan Brown

Founder: WLPH SA Hub
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Dr Chanelle Mulopo

Program associate WLPH SA HUB
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Dr Mumta Hargovan

Program associate WLPH SA HUB
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Dr Anneke Lincoln Schoeman

Program associate WLPH SA HUB
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Our Projects


Assessing the state of knowledge and relationships between Planetary Health and Gender Studies in LMICs

Women, especially those living in low-to-middle income countries (LMICs), are among the groups that are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, disease outbreaks, food scarcity, and environmental degradation. More than victims, women are also leading transformative policies and solutions that are essential for the well-being of their communities. Therefore, the increased representation of women in governance and decision-making is hugely beneficial for a healthier and more sustainable planet.

Despite being fundamental to successfully implementing planetary health solutions, gender equality is often overlooked by decision-makers and researchers. In this project, we explicitly connect the dots between the various aspects of Planetary Health and Gender to provide a baseline for practitioners, decision-makers, educators and researchers in the field.

Our starting point is a systematic review of the literature that will:

  • Provide a summary of the state of knowledge of Planetary Health and Gender Studies, especially in the context of the Global South.
  • Identify gaps to inform the development of further research projects on this topic by the South African Hub and beyond.
  • Provide evidence-based and exhaustive information on the linkage between Planetary Health and Gender to permeate and enrich the course material developed by the Hub.
  • Inform the advocacy activities of WLPH, locally and globally, through translating research findings into visual infographics.
  • Deliver a solid factual foundation for the development of gray literature on the topic, such as infographics, ebooks and information brochures, to raise awareness both locally and globally.

The systematic review will use rigorous and widely acceptable literature review methodology to answer the question: “How is Gender currently incorporated in primary research on the various aspects of Planetary Health, as it is currently defined?” The output of this review will be published in an academic journal, incorporated into the newly developed course material of the WLPH, and distributed to lay audiences in the form of an ebook with powerful visual elements.

As a next step, we will use the gaps identified by this review to design and execute locally relevant and impactful research projects under the banner of the South African Hub of the WLPH

Training and Advocacy

Developing a scalable, locally relevant and accessible course on Planetary Health and Gender in South Africa

Education is the catalyst of systemic change. We believe that anyone, no matter their area of expertise or work, can benefit from exposure to the Planetary Health framework, especially concerning the intersectional challenges faced by women and other vulnerable communities in low and middle income countries.

In this project, we plan to develop course material exploring the topic of Planetary Health and Gender in South Africa. 

The course will be designed with the following in mind:

  • High-quality, cohesive presentations and material.
  • Applicability to a broad set of audiences, both in the context of tertiary academic institutions and for the personal development of professionals.
  • A scalable, modular approach to adapting courses for different audiences and outcomes.
  • Strong focus on local relevance, previously untold perspectives and practical application.
  • Solution-oriented and action-catalyzing.
  • Grounded in the principles of the global Planetary Health movement, with an evidence-based approach.

The course content will play on the expert knowledge, experiences and interests of the current team at the South African Hub but will be designed so that content can easily be added, updated and rearranged. Our content will be adapted for use by the global and other regional teams of WLPH.

 Aspects of the course will be piloted using the group’s networks as soon as the first lecture is available, building momentum from there. Eventually, we hope to develop a course that can open up the Planetary Health and Gender discussion among South Africans whilst providing a sustainable source of income for the activities of the South African Hub and the global WLPH movement.

Dr Cyan Brown

Dr Cyan Brown is a medical doctor passionate about helping build healthier, more inclusive and sustainable healthcare systems and communities. She completed her medical training at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and her Master’s in public health with a global health specialization through King’s College London. Currently, Cyan is a Biodesign fellow at Stanford University, where she hopes to further her passion for climate-smart health innovations to serve under-resourced health settings. She is a Senior Atlantic Fellow at Tekano health equity, where her work focuses on the intersection of climate change, public health and gender equality. She also serves on the Atlantic Institute Global Governing Board and is the founder of Women Leaders Planetary Health in South Africa. Cyan was a member of the WLPH global inaugural cohort in 2019 and was inspired to take action locally in the planetary health field after that. Central to all of her work is the empowerment of women, and nine years ago, Cyan founded the TuksRes Women in Leadership Academy.

Dr Chanelle Mulopo

Dr Chanelle Mulopo is a Social Scientist working in public health. She holds a PhD in Public Health, a Master of Social Science in Health Promotion and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Dr Mulopo has worked on several multi-disciplinary research projects in low-income communities and has led the projects’ behavioural change, health promotion and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene components. Dr Mulopo’s current projects investigate climate change and knowledge translation to promote evidence-informed decision-making for climate change adaptation in South Africa. Chanelle was a member of the WLPH global academy in 2021.

Dr Mumta Hargovan

Dr Mumta Hargovan is a medical doctor advocating for health equity and women’s rights. While working in rural communities, she realized that addressing the multifactorial determinants of health is often beyond the reach of clinical practice. This inspired her to pursue a Master’s in Public Health at the University of Cape Town. Her research interests include the influence of politics and commercial power on health policy, and systems thinking for health, social justice and sustainability. She has gained experience in clinical research, focusing on HIV and mental health, and in interdisciplinary projects to support HIV treatment adherence in young people.

Dr Anneke Lincoln Schoeman

Dr Anneke Lincoln Schoeman is an environmental scientist and science communicator – the interplay between nature and society fascinates her. Dung beetles, cheetahs, frogs and worms, no creature is too obscure to study on a planet in crisis. Her PhD research at the North-West University has received global recognition through publications, conference presentations and awards. In addition to her scientific activities, she has broad experience in science communication, women’s leadership and community engagement. In her day job as a climate change and environment consultant, she provides solutions and advice to intergovernmental organizations, private firms and governments for adapting to a changing planet and conserving biodiversity. Dr Schoeman’s involvement in WLPH, which started as a participant in the Digital Academy in 2021, stems from her belief that true solutions for a healthy planet leave no one behind.