27 sep “People experienced for the first time that ‘free cheese’ does not necessarily has to lead to a mouse trap”

“People experienced for the first time that ‘free cheese’ does not necessarily has to lead to a mouse trap”. This is just one of the gems my colleague Alma Masic and I encountered during our monitoring mission in June, interviewing all participant municipalities on their actual experiences during the project with citizen participation and cooperation within the project teams.... Read more ›

6 sep It’s a long story

Today I am in Tunis and preparations for a large VNG International Tunisia event about local government and peace building in Libya are in full swing. ... Read more ›

1 jun Egypt the new Syria?

Horrific attacks on the Coptic community in Egypt are shocking the world. The recent bloody bomb attacks on the Churches in Cairo, Tanta and Alexandria. And last week the cowardly ambush on busses with Copts from Minya who were on their way to visit a monastery. ... Read more ›

22 mei Amsterdam is going to buy a better world

Sustainable procurement is considered to be a dull issue, but it is not when Hans Dussel, chief procurement of the city of Amsterdam is addressing a conference. “Amsterdam is going to buy a better world”, is the title of his presentation to a packed meeting room. The topic of the day: the Dutch launch of ISO 20400 on Sustainable Procurement. During one afternoon, all speakers repeatedly refer to the Sustainable Development Goals, and SDG 12 on sustainable production and consumption in particular. In practice procurement is about decent payments for work, good labour relations, banning child labour, produce goods in a circular way and striving for zero carbon emission. This just illustrates: sustainable procurement never takes a dull moment.... Read more ›

10 mei Giving new meaning to hospitality during my internship in Benin

On my very first night in Benin, I was immediately introduced to the ever-joking nature of the Beninese. It happened when my colleague Anouk proposed to order ‘une Béninoise’ and I, not knowing what it was, hesitantly confirmed. Immediately, the national coordinator of the project, Egy Sossou, seized the opportunity and asked me: “la jupe ou la bouteille?”. I could tell from the overly amused look on his face, that my confused reaction was the desired one. I learned that this was the regularly used joke when ordering this Beninese beer and over the following weeks had the chance to witness it as a spectator several times. Hence, a pleasant start of what would become an equally pleasant and interesting month. ... Read more ›

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