Maaike de Vette is programme officer at Aqua for All / Women for Water.
I work for Aqua for All and Women for Water. Aqua for All both acts as a connector between different stakeholders in the field of water and sanitation and, through a subsidy of the Dutch government, finances projects and programs of mainly Dutch development organizations operating in the South. I am responsible for the project desk of smaller private initiatives in the Dutch water sector and for matching expertise from the sector to relevant projects.
Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) is a worldwide strategic alliance of local, national and international women’s organisations and networks, active in the areas of sustainable development, water & sanitation, poverty and gender. As a policy / project officer I currently coordinate all partnership activities from the international secretariat.
I have a Bachelor degree in Hospitality Management and a minor in International Development. After working for a couple of years in (mainly) the commercial sector, I wanted to broaden my sociological knowledge in International Development and searched for a suitable Master programme in International Development.
Development and Rural Innovation attracted my attention for three reasons: firstly, it was one of the few two-year International Development programmes in the Netherlands. Secondly, it attracted many students with work experience in the field and with different scientific and cultural backgrounds, which provided much content in the programme and from which I were to learn a lot... Finally, Wageningen University is known for its applied research orientation and its expertise in local level research, which suited my career path and interest.
The programme fulfilled my expectations at all levels. Retrospectively, I regard the experience of conducting fieldwork for my thesis and the acquired knowledge and awareness on motivators in gaps between policy and practice in many development programs as most valuable. Both are useful in my current work where I monitor outcomes and impacts of projects on society. By looking at aspects like ownership, demand driven initiatives, empowerment and capacity building I can add to their sustainability. Also, working in a culturally diverse environment helped me to develop my intercultural communication skills, which I find another advantage in my current work. And now I also know how cultural differences can determine project outcomes. Finally, I value Development and Rural Innovation for the obtained writing and research skills.