Niels van den Berge
History: Young Expert at Max Foundation - Bangladesh
YEP period 2014 - 2016, batch 2
Position after YEP
Co-founder at NextBlue, the Netherlands
I was employed as Manager Monitoring & Evaluation. Together with our Max Foundation colleagues and Bangladeshi partner organizations, I worked on developing innovative tools and methods for project monitoring. Our aim was to move from traditional output monitoring (for example: number of latrines built) to innovative results monitoring (for example: reduction of water borne diseases). This was a challenging, interesting and exciting task.
Our overall objective was to reduce child mortality through an integrated WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) approach. Max-WASH inter alia includes promotion of hygienic sanitation, safe water options, hand washing, healthy diets and sexual and reproductive health rights.
- I am creative. Give me a difficult dilemma and I will come up with an innovative idea
- I like challenges. Unexpected, unusual and tough tasks motivate and inspire me. No business as usual for me
- I am committed. I work hard to achieve results and I never give up
- Communication is my passion. I like meeting new people, learning new languages and visiting new places
- I am flexible. I believe in continuous reflection, learning and adjustment of plans
- Pitfall: Being a creative and flexible ‘challenges-hunter’ has many advantages. However, I should avoid losing track of long term goals and targets
Education: BSc in Forest and Nature Conservation. @Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Graduation year: 2011. Certificate (Postgraduate, 30 ECTS) in International Development Practice. @Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom. Graduation year: 2014.
Experience before YEP
“The best way to find yourself is to put yourself at the service of others”, Mahatma Ghandi.
That is what I did before YEP. I worked with VSO, local farmers and rural communities on solutions for water scarcity in Bangladesh. We inter alia built community-based rainwater harvesting plants, replaced water-intensive rice cultivation by fruit nursery and replaced Eucalyptus trees by more water efficient local tree species. Last year I probably learned more than in the previous 28 years of my life. After one year I was far from ready to leave Bangladesh. I am thankful to YEP and Max Foundation for giving me the chance to continue contributing to both the development of Bangladesh as well as to my own development.
Before coming to Bangladesh I used to be a politician for the Dutch Green Party (GroenLinks). I inter alia worked as a policy advisor in the European and Dutch Parliament and had the honor to serve as a Member of Parliament in the Netherlands. As a policy maker I worked on different issues, including legislation on water, agriculture and environment. In 2012 I decided to change my path of life after more than a decade of politics.
- Offering shelter and juridical support to refugees in the Netherlands
- Teaching English and organizing cultural activities in a Palestinian refugee camp
- Bee keeping & farming
- Writing opinion articles for newspapers
- Organizing conferences, peaceful demonstrations and other advocacy activities