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'Belief in the power of collaboration makes Trias special'
The 23-year-old Hanne Vandersteegen has just started working at Trias' national office in Uganda. 'I'm amazed by the know-how and experience of my colleagues', she says.
Every year, the Belgian development agency Enabel gives a few dozen young professionals the chance to build up one or two years of practical experience at development organisations such as Trias. After going through a strict selection procedure, Hanne Vandersteegen from Bree landed a position at Trias Uganda.
What interested you, as a young woman, in moving to east Africa for such a long period?
Hanne: 'After I did a bachelor's in business management I took a master's in International Relations. For my thesis I studied the potential of saving groups. The subject was so interesting that it was very easy for my supervisor to persuade me to take another master's in development cooperation at the Institute of Development Policy in Antwerp. For my second thesis I interviewed members of savings groups in Uganda. As a result, I have a little bit of experience in the field.'
With our team in Uganda you are going to work on communication and digitisation. What are your expectations?
Hanne: 'I want to keep developing myself by giving free rein to my creativity. By doing this I hope to support my colleagues in the best possible way. The team I'm now in is not so big, but my Ugandan colleagues do their work with passion and they have a great depth of experience. Their knowledge of our intervention zones, the partners and the programmes is impressive. I'm going to learn a lot here!'
What are your first impressions of Uganda?
Hanne: 'I'm open to all new experiences, and I encounter new things on a daily basis. For example, last week two colleagues and I drove to the city of Arua, where we delivered training for educators from farmers' and entrepreneurs' associations. Through such experiences I get to know our partners, and they get to know me.'
What attracted you to Trias?
Hanne: 'From the office in Brussels to the one in Kampala: everywhere you see that colleagues advocate the same crucial values, such as the importance of connection between entrepreneurs. We are fully convinced that, through the power of collaboration, it is possible to generate a bit of wealth.'