Reflections on my time at Data4Development

In the fall of 2018, the same week when I had received my MSc in International Development, I had an interview with Maaike and Gyan in The Hague. The conversation was great and I remember talking about my interests in Open Data and Open access to knowledge; as I truly believe this is vital to create a fair and just world. A few hours later when I was heading back home, I received a call to ask me if I could start working on Monday. I was excited, but also a bit nervous as I started working straight away at the Hivos Global Office on my first day. I was being thrown into the deep-end, however, I quickly learned how to swim. Now almost two years later,  it is time for me to take a next step in my career and as a good-bye, I would like to reflect on my great time at Data4Development. 

Explaining things during one of the Data Literacy workshops at Save the Children NL.

Discovering a world of data

Working at Data4Development made me discover the importance of data drivenness within the nonprofit sector. I always shied away from quantitative data during my studies, as I believed that I just did not have the skills to work with it, not being good at maths and having chosen a study in the social realm. Now I know that everyone can work with data and use it to create impact in whatever field you wish to. I learned that data driven decision making should be at the heart of any operation, especially in the nonprofit sector where effectiveness and impact should always be measured and optimized. 

I had the opportunity to learn and develop skills in a broad range of data related subjects like: Open data and IATI, data management, data literacy, data analysis, data migration and so much more. As a consultant, I also had the chance to work in different project teams, with different (international) clients and have different (supporting) roles, while getting to know my own interests and working alongside inspiring colleagues. 

I discovered that I have a passion for training people by having had the opportunity to give a training at the Hivos office in Costa Rica, as well as designing and implementing  data literacy workshops. I also trained and supported my colleagues as knowledge keeper on a large data migration process. I even surprised myself by learning that I have the capacity to understand complex data models, and solving issues related to them. Logical and systematic thinking is now a developed skill.  

Maaike and Gyan were always open for ideas from the team, and there was a lot of opportunity to start or support internal projects. I worked on the website, wrote content, did outreach, organised events and so much more. There are not many jobs that offer you the possibility to develop yourself on so many different fronts and I am and will always be thoroughly grateful for the opportunity. Data4Development is a great company filled with motivated, inspiring and talented people, and I hope we will have a chance to work together again in the future. 

With colleagues from Hivos and Maaike after a weeklong international finance training in The Hague.

Next step

When I handed in my resignation for March, my original plans were to  travel and to try and find a job in Latin America. However, due to the situation surrounding Covid-19, this was not feasible. I am excited now to start a 2-month traineeship at Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth NL). I will mentor and train a group of volunteers in Rotterdam on how to start a movement to influence local politicians and raise public support for environmental policies in the run up to the 2020 elections.

After the traineeship I am ready for the next step in my career. I would like to make a move from the more operational side of the nonprofit sector to the project execution side, as this has been my goal since studying International Development. I am committed and passionate to work towards a more sustainable and fair world. I am therefore hoping to find a job in the field of research, as a Project Officer or Advocacy Officer at a CSO, NGO or nonprofit. 

I have extensive experience on project management and extended knowledge on a broad range of topics surrounding international development, including IATI and data. If you or anyone you know has any opportunity they would like to share with me, please reach out through my LinkedIn

With SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy at the Partos Innovation Festival 2018.