“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
#NelsonMandelaDay #MandelaDay #humanrights
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Harare. Representing the Netherlands in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. Also follow us on Twitter @NLinZimbabwe
The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Harare promotes partnerships through dialogue between Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and the Netherlands On this page you will find information about the Embassy in Harare.
“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
#NelsonMandelaDay #MandelaDay #humanrights
Dutch in Zim 7 – Tanja Lubbers
Tanja Lubbers has had an exciting international career that has taken her around the world first working for Dutch national television, and then as a development expert. Even with her long record of leadership at top organisations, Tanja has remained down to earth and personally connected to the humanitarian crises and social injustices affecting people everywhere.
“My mother was from a relatively well-off family but my father grew up poor. Their personal experiences showed me how the lottery of which family you are born into determines your future. The world remains an unfair place and as my career got going I wanted to work towards changing this,” she says.
Tanja’s desire for social justice is part of what makes her effective in her current role as Regional Director for Hivos in Southern Africa which has a team of 55 people mostly working out of the hub in Harare.
“We are pushing for a more sustainable, open and prosperous Southern Africa. Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi are priorities though we do work in other countries too,” says Tanja, adding that they are led by their local partners wherever they go. “Change must come from the inside so our projects are always co-creations and co-run with local organisations.”
Hivos has a wide spread of projects in food security, energy, human rights, transparency and accountability, all underpinned by the current and expected impacts of climate change. Collaborations and their EUR10 million annual finances are geared towards research, training, and advocating for suitable policy.
Most recently Hivos has partnered with researchers in Zimbabwe to study the impacts of Covid-19 on the agriculture sector with a focus on women farmers and workers. The reports paint a bleak picture, with up to 6,000 jobs on the line in the horticulture sector alone, and a spike in gender based violence in agricultural communities. The data from the research will guide government, the private sector and NGOs in how to make sure the worst case scenarios are avoided.
A better Zimbabwe has become personally important to Tanja since she married a Zimbabwean and calls the country home.
In 2013 on her third day in a new country, Tanja met Daves Guzha, current director of Theatre in the Park. They quickly discovered Dutch friends in common, a shared love of the arts, and a similar sense of humour. They got married on new year’s eve in 2014.
“Coronavirus really proved to me how close I feel to Zimbabwe now. It never even occurred to me to go back to the Netherlands to wait it out. Zimbabwe is my home, and even though one day I may have to move again for another post, we will retire here one day.”
Speaking about the future of Zimbabwe Tanja is caught between hope and despair.
“Of course I am worried, and pessimistic at times, but Zimbabwe is full of potential. The only problem is that so many people are left out of designing the country’s future so the incredible minds and spirits, knowledge and creativity are being wasted. An inclusive and accountable Zimbabwe will be an amazing place, somewhere filled with innovation and prosperity,” she says.
#dutchinzim #Zimbabwe #Zambia #Malawi
Students and those undertaking essential trips to the Netherlands from #Zimbabwe #Zambia & #Malawi may now travel, providing for 2 weeks of quarantine on arrival.
Contact the Embassy in Harare for more information:
As of 1 July 2020, the Netherlands has lifted the travel ban for certain groups of travellers, allowing permanent (long-term) residents of the following countries to enter the Netherlands: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thai...
Dutch in Zim Part 6 – ‘Old Legs’ Eric de Jong
Hotelier, farmer, writer, adoptive father of three, and amateur cyclist Eric de Jong is a man with stories to tell. And don’t be fooled by his self-deprecation – he might not be a youth but is certainly youthful in his outlook and action.
Take this week for example. Apart from running his 40 hectare flower farm in Mount Darwin, Eric will set off on the 2020 edition of the Old Legs Tour – his annual sponsored bike ride to raise money for pensioners in Zimbabwe.
“We were meant to pedal the skeleton coast in Namibia but because of the pandemic have mapped a route within our borders,” says Eric who describes an excruciating 3,186km, 37 day bike ride around Zimbabwe that will take him and three others through cities and towns, along rough dirt roads, railway lines, and deep into the wilderness including all major national parks where they will ride with handheld foghorns to drive off any dangerous animals that might take an interest in meals on wheels.
“This is our third Old Legs Tour,” says Eric. “In 2018 we rode Harare to Cape Town and in 2019 to Kilimanjaro. Each year we get more people joining and manage to raise more money than the year before.” Eric is proud that despite a difficult fundraising environment, they have already pulled a wheelie past their US$100.000 goal.
“Now I’d like to smash US$200.000. The money goes to the elderly in Zimbabwe, many of whom have no income and no support. Donations go directly to Bulawayo Help Network Trust and Pensioners Aid Harare and the money is life changing for some of the pensioners who might be getting ZWL300 a month.”
A ride of this magnitude requires planning and training, and Eric is surrounded by boxes and tins and packages of all sorts as he speaks.
“Since I started this, we’ve had people joining in from the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and the USA. None of us are professionals, though of course we must train for this as 120km every day for six weeks takes its toll. We try to do the first half before breakfast each morning and spread the rest out in between lots of snacking and drinking,” says Eric, who is a self-described jelly baby fiend.
Eric’s 2020 training was interrupted when he fell off his bike while recording a video diary on his phone and broke a rib, but he is ready to push on under his personal motto ‘have fun, do good, do epic’ which makes The Old Legs Tour so special to him.
“We laugh and laugh, see the most amazing things, and raise money for a good cause too,” he said.
When he’s off the saddle, Eric grows flowers which he exports to the Netherlands via the weekly KLM flights out of Harare.
“I moved to farming because I wanted to be closer to the three children that we adopted after their mum died of cancer,” says Eric who tells how he and his wife Jenny responded to a TV message from Rose, a dying woman who appealed for someone to care for her young children. He was a trained hotelier with shares in hotels and safari camps which he sold in 1992 before diving into floriculture which he learned on the job.
Eric’s resilience and adaptability comes partly from his mother who was born to Dutch parents in a Japanese concentration camp during the second World War. His father was born in Hilversum in the Netherlands and moved here in the 1950s when many Dutch people emigrated to the region.
Eric is a regular blogger and this year published a book ‘Running Dogs and Rose’s Children’, the dramatic story of his family’s life. In August 2020, he will publish ‘Cape Town to Kilimanjaro’, detailing his Old Legs Tour adventures to date, followed in 2021, by his first novel, ‘War and Other Social Diseases’. “I love writing,” says Eric, “and I’m just getting going.”
Two books, an epic bike ride, and more than a hundred thousand dollars raised for charity. That’s a well-spent lockdown Eric!
You can follow Eric on https://ericgeorgedejong.com . You can follow and support the Old Legs Tour here: https://oldlegstour.co.zw/donate/
#DutchinZim #Zimbabwe #cycling
Students please note!
The Embassy is processing study visa applications & legalising documents for students going to study in the Netherlands next semester.
Services available 8am-11am Mon-Fri.
Get info & book your appointment via 🖱️www.netherlandsandyou.nl
Happy 75th birthday to the United Nations! 🎂🇺🇳
Created for global peace, security, social progress, #HumanRights & international law, the UN is still as relevant as ever.
Please take this short survey to help UN plan for our shared future. Be a part of the largest ever global survey!
The United Nations is running the largest ever global conversation as it turns 75 and wants to hear from you!
Dutch in Zim – Part 6
Today is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.
We are happy to bring you the next #DutchinZim instalment about Mirjam van Dorssen - the new Country Director for Oxfam Zimbabwe. Mirjam moved to Zimbabwe from her post in The Hague covering the Middle East and North Africa in September 2019.
Founded in 1942, Oxfam is a global humanitarian and development organisation working to reduce poverty worldwide. Mirjam says that one of their current focus areas is effect of climate change on people in developing countries, especially women who have a key role to play in keeping communities going during times of stress.
In Zimbabwe, Mirjam’s team has various projects relating to the environment, water and hygiene, agriculture, and gender equality on the go. Often these priorities all meet in a single venture for example the recently completed repair and upgrade of the broken down Ngotsha borehole in Bulilima, Matebelenad South.
“We worked with one of our key partners the Dutch Relief Alliance to restore the water supply to a community that was forced to sometimes walk 7km to get unsafe water,” says Mirjam. “The impact from this is immediate and huge because the water allows the community to grow food even during the drought, it saves especially the women lots of time and energy that would be spent fetching water, and of course helps people maintain hygiene which is so important during the current pandemic.”
Mirjam says that the Oxfam team has been well prepared to support the Covid-19 response in Zimbabwe.
“We have a lot of experts on our team in gender, water, sanitation and hygiene. The past months have been busy using our experience in fighting waterborne diseases to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by ensuring that people in many different places are able to keep good hygiene.”
Getting water flowing is an essential first step towards people leading dignified lives, but Mirjam describes how addressing gender inequality in terms of cultural norms is also a part of their work.
“Our We Care programme is getting families to talk about the division of household tasks. Men and boys are often open to doing more when they understand how giving their mothers and sisters more time to do other things is good for her and for the family. We are seeing families make changes,” says Mirjam.
Even though she is still finding her feet, Mirjam is cautiously optimistic about Zimbabwe’s future.
“Zimbabwe is not poor in natural resources or knowledge and skills. There is a very strong learning culture and people are happy to apply new insights, be it community microfinance solutions, climate smart agriculture or how to combat GBV. These are signs that Zimbabwe can have a bright future,” says Mirjam.
Mirjam has been with Oxfam since 2003 and attributes her long service to her sense even as a child that we are all connected.
“We all tend to focus on our own lives and surroundings, but from when I was growing up I’ve always been taught and seen for myself how we are interconnected and how the choices we make – what we buy and our politics have an impact on lives elsewhere. It makes me happy to work on the kinds of issues that Oxfam is taking on,” says Mirjam.
Mirjam will be here for at least two years. Her family have not come over yet as her eldest children are finishing school but she hopes they will come afterwards.
We will share more about the great work being done by Oxfam in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, why not let Mirjam know some good things to do and see in Zimbabwe in the comments below.
#combatdesertification #Zimbabwe #water
Given the Covid-19 lockdown students planning to travel to the Netherlands to study should:
📲Contact your institution for information on the reopening process & how you are affected
✈️Follow the travel advice & guidelines of your home country
🖱️Visit nuffic.nl/en/subjects/coronavirus for more information
Dutch in Zim Part 4 – Toine Ramaker
Engineer Toine Ramaker has been working as a project manager at Harare Water Department and Bulawayo Engineering Department since 2017. He is one of the many Dutch water experts from Vitens-Evides International (VEI) working with local water utilities in 20 countries as part of the Dutch ambition to support improved water & sanitation services worldwide. VEI was established in 2005 by six Dutch public water utilities as a social enterprise. Currently VEI is engaged with the councils in Harare, Bulawayo and with a project in Mutare.
Widespread, safe, and reliable water supply is expensive and complicated to achieve, particularly with fast growing urban populations, polluted water sources, emerging water borne outbreaks and devastating impacts of climate change. Toine says that the public water utilities in the Netherlands have the ambition to share their knowledge and skills in achieving high standard services whilst keeping prices down.
“The 10 water utilities in Netherlands are all publicly owned, but privately run. We are accountable to the public, but we act like a competitive company – always striving to cut costs, reduce tariffs, improve services, optimise customer relations and water quality, and reduce environmental impact,” says Toine.
VEI’s international work is based on long term partnerships with peer utilities. “We are not in and out, telling people what to do and then leaving. We want real impact, and this means working as part of the Harare and Bulawayo water teams for 5-10 years or more,” says Toine.
Toine, who says he now feels like a Council employee describes Zimbabwe as unique in Africa for the high level of skills and motivation. “It’s a cliché, but I’ve found that in Zimbabwe everyone I work with is very competent and educated, from the engineers to the plumbers. We agree on goals together and call each other out when we miss our targets, always in a constructive way. I’ve noticed that when the teams are properly equipped, they really go for it and take their work seriously. That’s why I believe with support from banks and development partners the water supply can be restored in the short to medium term” says Toine.
Toine and the teams in Harare and Bulawayo have done so much in the past year alone. Highlights include the ongoing project to connect 2.000 houses to mains supply in Hopley, Harare, and 7.500 houses in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo. A range of other smaller interventions have seen Harare’s piped water supply jump from 200 to 280 megalitres per day in May this year.
Toine says that although huge infrastructure work costing up to US$1.5 billion is needed in the coming 15 years, through funding from the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs and the Dutch water utilities they have started to make a meaningful difference.
“We are fixing leaks faster than before, replacing valves and filters and pump parts, servicing vehicles, providing lab equipment and plumbing tools, and setting up digital monitoring and geographical information systems that will improve overall performance of Harare Water,” says Toine.
As part of the technical support, VEI also sends a steady stream of Dutch experts to work alongside Harare’s municipal water workers as needed. These include plumbers, engineers, chemists, managers, and others.
“If staff need to learn some new skills or need support installing new equipment, we get a Dutch plumber or any other specialist to come out. He will work day-in day-out with them for two or three weeks until they are competent on what they need to be,” says Toine. Between 20 and 30 such placements are taking place each year, funded entirely by VEI.
Toine, who was recently promoted to oversee the VEI global programme in 10 countries, will leave Zimbabwe with his wife Lieke and two children at the end of the year.
“I’m sad to leave because we do love it here. But I will still be involved, and I expect the project to be renewed for a further 5 years as from 2022.”
Safe travels, Toine!
#Zimbabwe #Netherlands #Water #Engineering
The City of Harare Vitens
2 Arden Road, Newlands
Phone(+263) (0 )4-776 701 Fax(+263) (0)4-776 700 Opening hours Monday to Thursday 08.00-17.00 and Friday 08.00-14.00 Opening hours Consular Department Monday to Friday 08.00-11.00
Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Embassy of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Send a message to Embassy of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe: