YEP Duo: Mozambique
YEP Programmes meets the need of the water, agrofood and energy sectors for Young Experts with international experience. Through YEP Programmes, seconding organisations invest in young talent that can be deployed within their organisation, contribute to the growth of a pool of talented professionals, and ultimately, support the development of solutions to global challenges. Enough reasons to ensure that YEP Programmes is well embedded in these three sectors. Our YEP Alumni network plays a vital role in this, securing a sustainable future for YEP Programmes.
We have seen more than one example of a YEP alumnus creating a position for a new Young Expert. This is also the case of Katrien van Krieken, YEP Agrofood alumna of batch 15 (2018-2020). After finishing her YEP Programmes training at Resilience B.V. in Mozambique, she continued working for this organisation. Recently, she welcomed Young Expert Olga Mufanequisso of batch 25 (2022-2024) who is now working as a monitoring evaluation, reporting and learning (MERL) specialist.
Working for Resilience B.V. and her subsidiary Resiliência Moçambique Lda., they have both been involved with the APSAN-Vale and FASIMO projects. When asking Katrien about the project and the added value of a YEP position, she says, “In APSAN-Vale and FASIMO, Olga and I study and catalyse farmer-led irrigation development. We monitor, evaluate, report and communicate on the projects’ progress and impact through the impact pathway analysis. This methodology approaches monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment by predicting and evaluating how project outcomes can lead to social, economic and environmental change, whilst considering the agricultural development complexity and recognising the human and social response and decision about changes in practice. It is very helpful because through the impact pathway and monitoring plan, we can learn and actively adapt to improve the pathways to impact, and the likelihood of achieving the project’s outputs and outcome. The YEP position is also valuable for me as a supervisor, as I get to expand my network during the online supervisor sessions. For instance, during one of these sessions, we met the MERL officer of a large NGO in Mozambique and we shared experiences with the supervisors and Young Experts.”
Experiences on hiring a Young Expert through YEP Programmes have been positive at Resilience B.V. Olga’s position already existed through one project but, by creating a YEP position, they could expand Olga’s work opportunities in other projects. “For instance, she is now conducting research for Landac on resettlement for which we can cover extra fieldwork through YEP budget. This project also contributes to Olga’s professional skills. Her research and facilitation skills are growing immensely,” says Katrien.
Although Resilience B.V. already operates throughout Africa, and there are colleagues from seven different countries, the opportunities that YEP Programmes provides to interact with and learn from even more cultures, really is an added value for Katrien and her Mozambican colleagues who, before YEP Programmes, had not had the opportunity to collaborate on an international level. “I think that the planned trip to the Netherlands will be a valuable experience for Olga, because she’ll understand her Dutch colleagues better after seeing where we come from!” adds Katrien.
Working together as alumna Young Expert and a new Young Expert certainly has its benefits. “Katrien supported me on the YEP Programmes’ application process. She helped me preparing for the interview, which gave me extra confidence,” recalls Olga. “Moreover, we can reflect together on shared experiences which brings an additional layer of learning. Also, the fact that we know our MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) personality type helps in the office and during collaboration. Understanding each other avoids potential frustrations, because we are aware of each other’s needs and working preferences. In fact, we laugh about our differences and make use of each other’s strengths”, Olga adds.
“At Resilience,” continues Katrien, “we are always stimulated to learn. Knowing Olga’s personal development goals helps me to support her on her growth. For instance, I am aware that her goals are public speaking and presentations. Therefore, I can provide some extra attention to these topics and help her prepare for when she needs to do any of these activities. And cheer her on too, because she does it super well! The personal development trajectory is quite a unique way to grow, and Olga is taking intense English classes, thanks to the YEP development opportunities.”
“Now that I am going through this learning process and I am strengthening some of my professional skills,” says Olga, “I would recommend to future Young Experts that they make the most of their YEP journey and that they apply the learnings throughout their professional life.” Building on this, Katrien adds, “Whether you are a Young Expert or a YEP alumnus, don’t underestimate the network, nor feel shy to ask. I have received useful manuals and resources through the YEP network, by just asking via our online platform Basecamp and through the Community of Practice. I am certain that throughout our career, encountering fellow Young Experts will enhance our professional skills and network.”
Looking back at Katrien’s involvement in the development a new YEP position, she sees that there is an important role for fellow YEP alumni to embed YEP Programmes even more within the Dutch agrofood and other sectors. “By placing Young Experts abroad, knowledge and experiences can go back to the Netherlands. For example, observations on production of local crops may be brought to the Netherlands. In other words, locally embeddedness provides new eyes and experiences and, as such, business opportunities. This way the Dutch agrofood sector can adapt to the needs of emerging economies even better."