Marie-Sophie Waterkeyn has been an expert in education, training and employment at Enabel since February 2011, after working in the field for VVOB, APEFE and Enabel. She has also been a member of the Educaid.be steering committee since 2010, first as the platform's coordinator and then as Enabel's representative.
At the end of July, Sophie will take her well-deserved retirement and hand over her place in the Steering Committee to her colleague Pauline Bourtembourg. This was the ideal moment for us to sit around the table and ask Sophie a few questions about the platform's achievements and challenges.
How have you seen Educaid.be evolve since your arrival?
The platform was supported and set up by its founders from DGD, VVOB, APEFE, Enabel, Plan International Belgium, VIA Don Bosco, VLIR-UOS and ARES, if I remember correctly. The desire to work together has ensured an appreciated, useful and recognised position in the Belgian community and beyond... Communication has become more professional in the last few years, and evaluations have helped us to rethink our approach to today's global challenges.
What is your best memory of all these years with Educaid.be?
The best memories are really to be found in the strength of the exchanges and formal and informal discussions between members, whether at the growing number of seminars or at smaller meetings.
Which accomplishment of the platform makes you proud?
What I'm most proud of is that the platform has organised itself to become a place for exchange, sharing and reflection with government officials.
What do you see as the challenges for the platform?
The major challenge is to remain a platform whose strength lies in the diversity of its members. So it's important not to get stuck with a bunch of organisations that are well-established in federal funding. A more prominent place must be given to individuals, civil society organisations and international organisations. The challenge is to make the most of diversity while ensuring effective communication and exchange!
What do you think makes Educaid.be unique?
Educaid.be is a pragmatic expression of the Belgian identity, with its different languages and its members with different mandates, corresponding to what we might call the 'Belgian institutional lasagne'.
What is your wildest dream?
My wildest dream is that Educaid.be could focus more on the end beneficiaries of our work in our partner countries. That we hear more, see more and care more about the results for pupils, students, teachers, supervisors, parents and those responsible for our projects in the field.
What do you wish for the platform in the future?
I hope that the positive spirit will continue, with Marije bringing a lot of efficient support to everyone.
What are your plans for this new stage in your life?
Ah, I have perhaps too many plans... First of all, I am happy to be able to help my two daughters who are getting started well in life, to finish the house I'm building on top of a hill near the Semois, to get back into music and walking, and of course to remain committed to ensuring that diversity in the world can lead to happiness and well-being for more people, which unfortunately is far from being the case.
Will we be seeing you at any of our events?
Yes, of course, in the autumn I will be applying as an individual member.
Thank you for this interview Sophie and thank you for everything you've achieved at Educaid.be. It was a real pleasure working with you. We wish you all the best for the future and hope to see you back soon!