Who I am
As a child and as an adult I have had the privilege to live in different corners of the earth. I am curious about people and why we do what we do, which led me, after exploring different fields, to study anthropology. I worked in the development sector for a few years, where I started working with stories in an institutional context.
I see myself as a workshop facilitator, editor, illustrator, graphic designer. In the past years I have worked in different countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, with large and small development organisations. My main focus has been on rural development, and my interest especially goes out to marine and coastal development, gender, identity and power relations.
What I do
GUAVA stories is, as the name suggests, all about stories. But I'm talking about real-life stories. Stories about people and about change, in different shapes and sizes. I believe that everyone has an experience to share, and I enjoy helping to make them visible to the rest of the world. As a freelancer, I do this in different ways.
I support people working in international development in analysing, learning from and sharing their experiences. I usually do this in workshops and editing other people's writing.
Time and again we hear how development organisations are struggling with communicating the impact of their work, and learning from their own practical experiences. How can we put our experiences on paper? Where do we find the time to do this? And how do we present them in a way that is somewhat more appealing than a 100-page report that ends up on a dusty shelf, unread?
I support organisations with such knowledge sharing processes. I see this as a mix of evaluation and communication: not only do we wish to share our achievements and the knowledge we have gained in a pretty format, but we want to learn from what went well, and what did not go so well. In short, I facilitate a reflection process within the organisation that allows us to learn from our work, and share these lessons with others.
Why not hire some external evaluator or journalist to write your story? I believe that stories are best told by those who have actually been through the experience. This is why I support organisations and individuals who are active in social and environmental change to assess and write themselves. I then help to transform these institutional stories into accessible and attractive written and graphic products (articles, booklets, comic books/graphic novels and everything in between).
For my recent work, go to the 'Projects and examples' page.
I transform individual and institutional stories about serious topics into an easily absorbable format: illustrated stories / 'comics'.
Images can be as powerful, or more powerful then words alone. Catering to a different audience, I transform oral histories and stories of change into graphic novels of different styles. 'Comics' are not reserved for funny or herioc stories: they can be a very effective way to showcase a story about social justice, development or human rights issues.
These graphic products can differ widely in size and style. I create them based on stories from experience capitalisation excercises (see above) or oral histories. I also base them on academic work, primarily the social sciences, to make research findings more accessible to a wider audience.
For my recent work, click on the image below and go to the 'Projects and examples' page.