Hans Lambrecht (42), European Union, Liberia
Hans works official with the European Union. Hi lives and works in Liberia, we interviewed him in october 2017
Hans takes up half an hour to summarize where he is dreaming about. What he stands for and where he wants to go. In short and clear sentences. In his job he sees a lot of misery, but Hans is a full-blooded optimist. Who makes things happen. From Suriname, Vietnam, South Africa, Uganda to Liberia. In that last country, he will act as head of a development cooperation section for another two years. "I want to help anyone to do what he or she wants, be who she/he wants to be and to realize her/his aspirations without the influence of existing economic, political and religious power structures. This is where development cooperation is all about for me. Removing obstacles, fulfilling the aspirations and desires of others. As manager of a cooperation section within an EU Delegation, I am responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of programmes that have a national impact. My work is very concrete, the results are also visible. Both on a small and a large scale. That gives satisfaction.
What I do today has an impact on many people and generations who can be better off. I do not like a status quo, but want to see change. Liberia is still seeing the effects of fifteen years of civil war and an ebola epidemic. The country was almost at rock bottom, the economy was virtually non-existent. It is very interesting to help with the rebuilding of a society. "He considers it important to do that in the field. "I do not want to try changing things from behind a desk in Brussels. On site you can do more. And see how the world functions. How people use creativity and inventiveness to get things done. But there is also a dark side of terrain work. You often experience corruption and abuse of power first-hand. Ultimately, people do what is best for their family. I have become very aware of this abroad.
In Belgium we live very individually. We also do not realize what chances we are offered. The social mobility possible in Europe is hardly seen anywhere else in the world. In many other parts of the world, people can be much more stuck in a cycle of poverty, not to say that unfortunately happens in Europe as well.” But overall, he is absolutely optimistic about the future. "Humans are inherently good, but bad things do happen. In the media many things are presented out of proportion. Social media and some types of press create a perception that is inconsistent with reality. Everything must be spectacular. There are many positive stories, but we do not hear them. I hope that the current wave of populism and negativity will disappear and that people will look a little further than their own backyard."