In 2013 you ended a 25-year career in business to go and work for a development organisation. Why?
“As SCA’s Director of Social Responsibility, I developed broader campaigns in Africa including hygiene-related projects focusing on the needs of girls and women in Niger and Southern Sudan. This experience inspired me to make the transition to Simavi. My goal was to devote my international business background to strengthening Simavi with a clear vision, mission and fundraising strategy.”
You have been Managing Director for two years now. What do you see as Simavi’s strength?
“We work together with over 90 local partners to realise structural improvement of the health conditions of people in marginalised communities in Africa and Asia. Our work is rooted in local communities. In the many years Simavi has been active, we’ve built up an extensive network of reliable and capable local partners and gathered a deep understanding of the religious, ethical and cultural sensitivities within every community we work with. This is crucial to reach sustainable change. As a medium-sized NGO, Simavi is flexible and able to rapidly adapt to changes in the field. In addition, we develop innovative solutions with entrepreneurship, social business models and e-health.”
What are you most proud of at Simavi?
“Every morning I’m filled with pride as soon as I enter the head office and greet my colleagues. Every single person has a great energy and commitment. It’s hugely encouraging to see everyone’s openness and can-do mentality regarding our mission to achieve a healthy life for all. Together we can and will do this! The results we have achieved so far reflect this and make me very proud.
It is important to network with local governments on different levels (district, regional and national), as well as water networks and health systems amongst others. We are establishing Simavi hubs with local representatives to link communities to local systems. This fits Simavi’s entrepreneurial spirit and local business models.”