Icco Cooperation is a non-governmental organization who’s aim is to have a world in which people live with dignity and justice. This is done by focusing in three goals: 1. Food and Nutrition Security 2. Economic Empowerment 3. Disaster Management They have several ongoing projects in several countries which focus in these 3 main ideas.
Sanne studied econometrics in UvA and was the chairman of the VSAE board in 2016. She is an employee in ICCO and has been working in this organization for quite a while now and is involved in some projects going on in Latin American countries such as Bolivia and Colombia. A project she has been working on is “Manq’a Cooking Schools for Youth”.
“Manq’a brings together producers, food processors and consumers to train 3,000 disadvantaged young people as chefs, using only local, organic ingredients.” Bolivia and Colombia https://www.icco-cooperation.org/en/project/manqa-cooking-schools-for-youth/#intro
Sanne explains that this projects aim is to teach people how to eat healthy with the resources they have in their own town. In the towns where this project takes place, internet connection is rare and it is very common for people to eat junk food, so by taking gastronomy courses with raw food coming from local producers people are taught how to eat healthy with what they have.
How is econometrics applied? Before Sanne arrived this branch of the organization in Colombia was lacking the application of ¨econometrics¨. The first thing that was done was collect data by conducting interviews with the participants of the program. This is done by cleaning it, deciding what can be done with it, and making reports. Although this is not too advanced it is something that will get harder as more and more data is collected. A challenge here is how to collect the data in an easy way, since some towns may be remote and without good internet connection, so making online surveys may become hard.
What kind of students are suitable to work there? This organization is looking for students who have interest in creativity to get better results. This is because new ideas and techniques have to be applied to have better results. Team work is also very important since people are constantly engaging with the local people and partners to make the projects work.
What are the challenges you are facing with this pandemic? It is hard to continue with some current projects such as the gastronomy class. Most people don’t have computers at home to access online classes and cafes are closed. (Cafes: local people in the street where the owner has computers and rents them for a short period of time to people who don’t have one at home) New ideas are still being thought of on how to engage with people in these hard times.
What difference is there between working in Europe and Latin America? The culture that exists in Europe and in Latin countries is very different. Sanne says “people from Colombia are really hard workers and really try their best to improve the projects”. In Europe people normally write things down in their agenda, but people in Colombia don’t have agendas so they sometimes forget the meetings which makes it fun when someone remembers. Also, since it is an international organization the teams are very diverse.
For more information about the organization: https://www.icco-cooperation.org/en/