Alumniverhaal

YEP Water trainee

“My name is Jelmer van Veen and I graduated from the MSc International Land and Water Management. My girlfriend and I both work in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a YEP Water trainee (YEP stands for Young Expert Programme). I work as a site manager supervising the construction of 18 kms of sewage pipes through Addis. It is cool to get the chance to contribute to improved sanitation in this city.”

When the project is finished, about 65% of the population in Addis Ababa will be connected to the sewage network

“The YEP Programme was initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Netherlands Water Partnership. Through this programme, YEP offers young Dutch water professionals an opportunity to acquire professional experience abroad, and offers young local professionals an opportunity to take their first steps in an international work environment via Dutch organisations.
I work for a Belgian contractor, Denys, who is charged with constructing 18 kilometres of sewage piping through Addis Ababa for the Kaliti Sanitary Sewer Trunk Mains Rehabilitation and Expansion Project. When the project is finished about 65% of the current population in Addis Ababa will be connected to the sewage network, which currently only has 10% coverage. The waste water treatment plant in Kaliti is operating far beyond its design capacity of 7500 m3/day. As a result, untreated sewage water overflows onto the streets and into the water courses, negatively affecting public health.”

The job
"As a site manager, I'm responsible for the day-to-day on-site construction work. Several teams are active; some lay pipes, others work on tunnelling works under the existing ring road, and another team reconstructs civil works that were demolished during excavation. My work includes safety and quality control of the works and the management of problems encountered on-site during the construction. Another aspect of my job is facilitating communication between all the parties involved in the on-site project development. The work atmosphere is becoming increasingly professionalised, thanks to the extensive training and experience our workers acquire. It is cool to contribute to their development and training, besides being able to contribute to improved sanitation in Addis Ababa!”

Well prepared
“Even though my study programme International Land and Water Management didn’t provide me with a very technical background, I have no problem overseeing the technical aspects required for the proper execution of my job. In my professional life, I have realised more and more that the real difficulties lie with bringing stakeholders together and making sound plans that fit everyone’s needs and capabilities. This is something for which International Land and Water Management has prepared me thoroughly and I use these skills daily, both in my work and in my private life!"