"I constantly need to keep the intercultural perspective in mind"
|Marieke Veeger, aged 29
Graduated in 2005
Junior advisor in organisation development for the Bolivian NGO AIPE in La Paz
Marieke Veeger lives and works in Bolivia. She is an advisor for AIPE, a Bolivian non-governamental organization (NGO), for the development of the head office’s organization in La Paz, Bolivia’s capital. Marieke works to strengthen the network that AIPE represents. The NGO is engaged in food security and rural economic development in Bolivia, by lobbying for better policy. For instance, last year they lobbied for the right for adequate food to be included in the country’s new constitution.
“Advising and guiding AIPE’s management is very instructive,” says Marieke. “Organization development sometimes is a sensitive topic and the word ‘change’ itself can be taboo. I need to adjust my style of working to that. It is important to breed trust and have patience; a lot of patience.”
The job fully relates to Marieke’s study programme in Culture, Organization and Management. Marieke analyzes the organization, scrutinizes changes and structures, and gives advice on how things could be better run. The intercultural perspective, which is dealt with in various courses on the programme, is something she continuously needs to keep in mind.
“Working here teaches me a lot. I was extremely lucky to get this job, because it’s very difficult to find a paid job in development cooperation in a developing country when you have only a bit of experience.” She has been posted to Bolivia by ICCO, a Dutch co-financing organization for development cooperation. When she saw the vacancy for junior advisor she lived in Costa Rica, and her job interview had to take place from a phone booth in Arequipa, Peru, where she was on holiday. After a second interview in The Netherlands she was hired and within two months she was in Bolivia.
According to Marieke organization development will increasingly become an important topic for organizations, profit or non-profit. The ever-changing environment of the organization demands it. “An organization that doesn’t want to develop will eventually come to grief,” says Marieke. “And development cooperation is a sector where experts in organization development can play a meaningful role.”
ICCO supports organizations in fifty countries in Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, and also conducts campaigns in The Netherlands. Moreover, it tries to get young people involved in development cooperation.