Who We Are

Dr. Nancy Shedrack

Founder and Board Chairperson

Dr. Nancy Shedrack, founder of the Helena Institute, is a passionate environmental advocate who believes the future of Tanzania’s environment lays squarely in the hands of the country’s youth. Nancy’s work, both with the Tanzanian government and civil society, has put her at the forefront of the growing environmental movement in Tanzania.


Most recently Nancy worked for the Vice President’s Office (VPO) of Tanzania as a Senior Technical Advisor to the Minister of State-Union & Environment and as a Senior Environmental Management Officer with National Environment Management Council (NEMC). Beyond this, Nancy also serves as a board member for Saving Africa’s Nature in Tanzania, as a Senior Research Scientist for Earthwatch Institute Europe and as a volunteer with Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots.


An environmental scientist by trade, Nancy received her PhD from St. Cloud State University, where she focused on environmental science and leadership. Nancy also holds an MSc in Environmental Science and a BA in Geography and Natural Resource Management.

Ryan Winch

Board Secretary

Ryan Winch is an advocate for wildlife conservation globally and is particularly passionate about combatting the illegal wildlife trade.


With HIN, Ryan liaises with partner organizations, coordinates fundraising, develops environmental education curricula and maintains the organization’s online presence.


Currently, Ryan is working with UNODC in Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to this, Ryan lived in both Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo, Tanzania where he was the Capacity Development Coordinator for CIVICUS’ Data for Action programme, a role which led him to design and facilitate data related training and workshops for grassroots civil society organizations throughout Asia and Africa.


Ryan has an MA in Global Governance from the University of Waterloo and a BA in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Leandra Lyimo

Board Treasurer

Leandra Lyimo believes protecting Tanzania’s environment is essential for safeguarding the country’s future, both socially and economically. In line with this, Leandra has worked through both her professional career and as a volunteer to ensure Tanzania’s natural heritage is protected for future generations.


With HIN, Leandra often leads beach clean-ups on Sinda Island, as well as coordinating environmentally focused events with Tanzanian youth and conducting training sessions as a part of HIN’s corporate social responsibility initiative.


Leandra is the founder of Refixit, a start-up social enterprise that is combining modern design with a focus on sustainable resource use to create furniture and home decor. Refixit brings together older and younger generations to work side-by-side, a process which sparks creativity, fosters skill sharing and which protects traditional knowledge about sustainable resource use and craftsmanship.


Leandra has a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) from Ardhi University, Dar es Salaam.