Yannick De Mol is an APO sponsored by Belgium and working as a journalist/information specialist on the Dimitra communication project in Senegal.
"I studied information and communications and then international politics. I worked as a radio journalist in Brussels before joining Search for Common Ground, an NGO which uses the media, and radio in particular, to mitigate the effects of conflicts. I was a project coordinator there for three years in Brussels and then spent one year in Côte d’Ivoire as their media manager.
When I heard about this APO position it seemed like a natural career step. I work on the Dimitra project – an initiative which aims to improve the living conditions and status of rural populations, especially women, by giving them a voice.
It was launched by the European Commission, and since 1998 has been owned and run by FAO’s economic and social development department. Dimitra uses tools such as workshops and newsletters, which I contribute to and edit.
The Dimitra Web site includes a database of thousands of organizations for women, and it’s a big challenge for our NGO partners to update and expand it. We do a lot of networking to link our partners with FAO services, potential funding and other organizations.
During my briefing in Rome, it was interesting to see a UN agency’s headquarters from the inside. What impressed me even more was the expertise of all the staff I met. Nonetheless, it feels good to be back in Africa. Dakar is a great city and there's a lot happening as so many organizations and agencies have their regional headquarters here.
The cultural life is also quite vivid – there’s a lot of live music as well as exhibitions, theatre and plays. I’m learning Wolof, the local language and hope to master it during my assignment."