trainee mugshots 850Last year, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) created the Young Expert Programme Water (YEP Water). This five-year programme aims to ensure ongoing international expertise in the water sector in future and to contribute to a dynamic network of international water experts.

YEP Water provides the opportunity for young Dutch professionals to gain experience abroad, and for young  professionals in other countries to spend time in an international work environment via Dutch organisations. Young Experts (or YEP-ers) focus on three themes related to efficient water management, improved catchment area management and safe estuaries, and access to safe drinking water and sanitation. 

Dutch organisations involved in international development activities can submit a project proposal for employing a Young Expert for a period of up to two years. Each year there are YEP positions available for 25 Dutch and 25 local Young Experts. At Akvo we currently have three YEP-ers; Tim Janssen is based in our Kenya office, and Valentin Iogo and Giel Hendriks are based in Burkina Faso. 

Further information on the YEP programme is available at 
www.yepwater.nl. You can find out more about each individual YEP project at yepwater.akvoapp.org

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YEP training
In order to prepare for their deployment, the Young Experts take part in a three-week training and coaching programme. This intensive learning experience includes personal coaching and assessment exercises covering intercultural communication and conflict resolution, building a professional online presence, online project reporting, project planning, management, monitoring and evaluation.

So far, two training rounds have taken place. The first was in September 2013, in which the first group of Young Experts was trained. During the second training round in February this year, my colleague Lissy van Noort and I facilitated the YEP online training for another group of YEP-ers, together with Martin Pronk and Jeffrey Jouvenaar of NoCliches. This training focused on developing practical skills to create and maintain a professional social media presence, to be confident to communicate and interact online and to use Akvo RSR to report on project progress. NoCliches lead the social media and online communication parts while we conducted the Really Simple Reporting and video pitch sessions. 

For an impression of the YEP Online training of February 2014 you can view my Flickr set. The third YEP training round will take place in June this year. 

On the YEP Water YouTube channel you can view all YEP Water related video interviews, including those done during the training. In the YEP Water Flipboard you can view all latest YEP updates and photos.

Top and below: participants of the YEP Water training in The Hague in February 2014. Photos by Charlotte Soedjak.
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Charlotte Soedjak is project manager at Akvo based in Amsterdam.