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Jessica Ronaasen

Postdoctoral fellow, Stellenbosch University

Jessica Ronaasen is a social worker and researcher has recently completed her PhD at Stellenbosch University focussing on Essential Management Competencies of ECD Principals in South Africa. She is an experienced social worker, ECD trainer and supervisor and has demonstrated expertise in facilitation, programme development as well as monitoring and evaluation in the ECD sector. Jessica has a vast variety of skills and expertise linked to the field of education and development.

Jessica assisted in developing the training material for the UNICEF and Department of Health; Nutrition Guidelines for ECD Centres and a number of training programmes for the early education field linked to nutrition and child health.

Jessica launched Relate Your Research, a social work podcast and has a passion for communication of data in an approachable way. She is Mandela Rhodes Scholar and was awarded the National Development Agency ECD Awards: 1st Place Facilitator of the Year (2018) and the National Development Youth Agency Awards: Civil Society Category. Jessica is passionate about ECD, nutrition and promoting learning within organisations and schools.

Jessica has published several articles contributing towards South African knowledge both the ECD and social work fields. Her Masters explored Parent Education Programmes in South Africa,


  • –present
    National Programmes Lead, Stellenbosch University
  • 2019–2020
    Project Lead, UNICEF- SA & NMU
  • 2015–2018
    Parent Programme Manager & Facilitator , Early Inspiration


  • 2021 
    Stellenbosch University , Phd in Social Work
  • 2013 
    Stellenbosch University , Masters in Social Work


  • 2022
    Handwashing knowledge and practices among caregivers of pre-school children in underprivileged areas of Nelson Mandela Bay." , South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition 35, no. 1 (2022): 8-12.
  • 2021
  • 2021
    Sakha ESETHU: nurturing value-centered group work for a community-based parent support programme in the eastern Cape, South Africa, Social Work with Groups
  • 2019
    Water, sanitation and hygiene practices in early childhood development (ECD) centres in low socio-economic areas in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development
  • 2017
    ECD Indicators and Nutritional Status of Grade R Children: An Interest to Social Workers, Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    Ernst & Ethel Erikson
    Funding Source:
  • 2013
    Mandela Rhodes Foundation
    Funding Source:

Professional Memberships

  • South Africa Council for Social Service Professions
  • Board of Health Care Funders