When course participants arrive, the first person they ask to see is Saskia. “Where is she? I want to give her something”.
Even when we organize courses or trainings far away from iCRA’s headquarters in the Netherlands, in Nigeria or Kenya for example, course participants always ask to pass on their greetings and thanks to the infinitely famous Saskia. Needless to say, this blog will make Saskia slightly uncomfortable. We believe however, it is about time we celebrate Saskia.
Her office is filled with kind gestures and presents from every corner of the world. It is colorful proof of her ability to connect, of her kindness and above all, her perseverance to do whatever she can for every single participant that applies and walks through our doors.
So do you know iCRA? the managing Director of iCRA asked today.
"Well, I know Saskia!!" was the answer.
Saskia has been the office manager and logistical superstar at iCRA since 1998. For the last 21 (!) years, she has been responsible for course registration and follow-up, and functions as a liaison officer for scholarships with Nuffic OKP (previously NFP).
The items in her office are not the only reference to her love of the world. After graduating, Saskia worked in Pakistan for four years and in Bangladesh for three years on training, small enterprises development and gender issues with the International Labour Organization, USAID, and consultancy firms.
Upon return to the Netherlands, she joined the International Agricultural Centre (now Wageningen International) in Wageningen, doing project advisory work and conducting workshops for e.g. the international course on extension. In 1993 she worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), as coordinator of the support programme for Anglophone African countries for the preparations of the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women.
You connect with Saskia if you have questions about courses and/or the application process. She knows everything there is to know when it comes to scholarships, deadlines, eligibility, logistics, costs and so on. You need to know something? Saskia is your (wo)man.
Once you have applied, she is the one who remains in contact with you to discuss timelines, finances, visas and other logistics. If there is any information missing from your application, she will be the one guiding you and helping you complete the information. Saskia is also the person who will email you when you have been selected for a scholarship and/or a course.
But while you prepare at home and think about what to bring to your course, whether in the Netherlands or elsewhere, Saskia is already running around to ensure all logistics are in place. Flights, airport pick-ups, hotel bookings, lunch, dinner… name it… and Saskia is on it.
When you are one of the lucky participants selected, she will help you with whatever challenge you have settling in. Saskia will answer any of your questions and make sure you are well taken care of. By the time we have our introduction session where we meet each other and introduce iCRA staff -Saskia is already family.