We are delighted to welcome our very first YPARD Country representative for the Netherlands: Machteld Schoolenberg.
Machteld is a policy researcher with a Master in International Land and Water Management and specialized in Land degradation and Rural development. After her studies, she joined YPARD as a Web and Communications intern for seven months. Working and being trained online by Marina Cherbonnier, Web and Communications officer at that time, let Machteld forming a great network worlwide.
Later on, she joined Social Media team for the GCARD2 in Uruguay. “It came out to be a wonderful and a once-in-a-lifetime moment to meet other young professionals in our field from all over the world. After meeting face to face many of the people I´ve worked with online, I feel part of an inspiring international community of friends and colleagues that share similar interests and ambitions.”
Machteld works currently as a policy researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). Her projects are mainly on the field of Land degradation and restoration. Besides, she contributes to internal social media strategies and a study on land use innovations in the EU. In addition to her professional work, Machteld is consulting on a project on organic farming in Algeria.
Becoming YPARD national representative in the Netherlands represents a new challenge for her in order for the youth to contribute to a transforming agriculture in Europe in general, and in Netherlands in particular.
“I am super happy to be offered the opportunity to become YPARD Netherlands representative! I hope to succeed in gathering a community of YPARDians in the Netherlands as active and engaged as they are in the rest of the world.”
As a first step, Machteld already has some plans for the coming year to get things going. She has set up a Facebook group for YPARD Netherlands where she´s not only willing to share information on events and opportunities with Dutch YPARD members and inspire them to become part of this network, but also create a space where members can meet and share their news, post questions, etc.
Likewise, she plans to connect with existing (youth) organisations in the Netherlands focusing on agriculture, urban agriculture, or the food chain. Machteld also is up to broaden our network by going to events as YPARD representative to speak up for young professionals in agricultural development and link up with universities to promote YPARD as a relevant network for students in our domain to join.
In a near future, Machteld would like to organize YPARD Netherlands events, excursions, seminars, network opportunities, etc. Then, as a further step, she would represent YPARD Netherlands abroad and promote Global and Europe YPARD stuff in her country by keeping in sync with YPARD Europe, the Global Coordination Unit and YPARD country representatives (particularly with other EU countries).
¨I hope to do all this by learning from meeting and staying up to date about other YPARDians. There are many active, energetic and inspiring young farmers as well as young professionals in agricultural development in the Netherlands that could be of great value to the International YPARD network and viceversa. I hope to create a first meeting place (on- and offline) for these young people to meet up and work together!”
We can’t wait to hear more from the Youth-in-Agriculture in the Netherlands and we trust that YPARD Netherlands will be successful in mobilizing the youth through Machteld’s leadership.
Welcome on board, Machteld!