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”Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose” – Gine Zwart at her farewell reception

By 16 October 2022October 18th, 2022No Comments

At the end of August, Gine Zwart, programme officer human rights & business, said goodbye to Arisa after almost three years. Here she shares a number of reflections on the organization and the professional field. 

Programme officer Gine Zwart

When I saw Arisa’s job vacancy in 2019 for the position of programme officer human rights & business, I didn’t have to think twice: working at this small, and focused organisation seemed like the challenge I was looking for.  

I had a lot of fun working at Arisa and enjoyed the organisation’s focus, short lines, our contact with partners, the huge network and the passion of all employees.  

Working in the field of human rights: a struggle against many forces

Working in this sector and in the field of human rights is a struggle against a multitude of forces. Forces that cause poverty, inequality and suffering. During the last business trip, I made this year, that became very clear once again. It still shocks me to see so much inequality and justice. Working in development cooperation is a struggle with ourselves and our realised paradigms, ideals and images of humanity. I, therefore, follow the current discussion in the Netherlands about the deification of development cooperation and the human rights framework with great interest. 

I have seen a change in trust in this sector and the field of human rights

In addition to a struggle against forces, working in this sector is above all about hope, solidarity, respect, courage and trust. I have especially seen the latter, trust, change in this sector and the field of human rights: the amount of paperwork has changed tremendously over the last few years.

I think the great thing about Arisa is that we work based on trust and solidarity. Trust that everyone takes their role and tasks seriously and solidarity with those who are exploited or excluded. We all know that trust is hard to win and easy to lose. It takes a lot of work to build up trust and I feel grateful that I could work with partners based on years and years of building these relationships. I have had the privilege of working with many courageous committed people, not least during my time with Arisa. That’s what makes the work so beautiful, and the reason I’ve been able to do this work for almost 40 years.  

Saying goodbye is not easy, but as someone emailed me: “What gives me the greatest strength is knowing that we will stay in touch with each other and with the memories we have created. “ 


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