Young Experts

Thijs van der Zaan

Thijs van der Zaan

YEP period 2021 - 2023, batch 23

Young Expert at Justdiggit - Kenya

Yep Role

As a Young Expert, Thijs works for Justdiggit as the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning officer in Kenya. Justdiggit works together with local farming communities towards sustainable use of their land. In Tanzania, they work with smallholder farmers, while they aim at large rangelands and Masai communities in the south of Kenya. Thijs’ role at Justdiggit is to monitor the progress and evaluate the impact of their programs, and to make sure these findings are used to improve the implementation of their future programs. To carry out this work, he will be working in Nairobi for most of the time, where Justdiggit recently opened their Regional Office in East Africa.


Having studied in Wageningen, Thijs has a background in international land and water management with a particular specialization in sustainable land management. He is especially interested in the combination of the physical and the social-economic aspects of sustainable land management and landscape restoration as he is convinced that understanding the socio-economics of communities is crucial when promoting good practices. Thijs has fieldwork experience in different East African countries (Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda), which he can use well in his job at Justdiggit. He also has experience in data analysis, programming, and Geo-Information Systems.


Nationality: Dutch
Education: MSc International Land & Water Management (Soil Physics & Land Management specialization) at Wageningen University; BSc International Land & Water Management (minor in Concepts of Crop Production) at Wageningen University

Experience before YEP

  • Junior Project Officer at Justdiggit Foundation in The Netherlands
  • Internship at Ecosystem Kickstarter; product development and erosion control research in Uganda and The Netherlands
  • Thesis research on the implementation of FMNR in Tanzania with MetaMeta
  • Internship/Thesis research on soil erosion and sustainable land management in Ndiza, Rwanda
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Organisation: Justdiggit
Young Experts