Andre Kiekens is retiring after a long career. He worked as Campaign Manager and then as Director of Welzijnszorg. For almost twenty years, and until recently, he spearheaded WSM, or Solidarité Mondiale, as Secretary General of the organisation. ‘A society that does not translate solidarity into structures and institutions is a disaster for its most vulnerable members’, Andre says in his exit interview with Gie Goris, former editor-in-chief of MO* magazine. On 1 October 2021, we will officially say goodbye to Andre with a reception. The new management, who started a few months ago, will also take the floor there.
The strengthened management team consists of Bart Verstraeten, Director, supported by Uzziel Twagilimana and Katrien Beirinckx. The team reflects our focus on diversity, expertise, skills and continuity.
Bart Verstraeten has worked at WSM for 16 years. He started out in international political service. His advocacy for an ILO convention on domestic workers is a well-known example of his achievements. Bart has extensive expertise in the field of social protection. He was responsible for the launch of INSP!R, the International Network for Social Protection Rights. In recent years, he has supported Andre as Political Secretary.
Bart: ‘The pandemic has revealed more than ever the need for a robust social protection system. For WSM and INSP!R, this is a clear signal that confirms we are on the right track, with 100 organisations and social movements active in 24 countries worldwide. We put a lot of energy and enthusiasm into our mission and ambition to ensure that an increasing number of people enjoy access to social protection globally.’
Uzziel Twagilimana was WSM's continental coordinator for West Africa until recently. Going forward, his two decades of experience will be put to good use in the strategic coordination of the various programmes that WSM carries out with social movements across the world. He will also be responsible for relationships with donors.
Katrien Beirinckx began at WSM as the coordinator of a food security programme in West Africa. She then coordinated the Belgian Decent Work Platform and, in recent years, she managed the construction, monitoring and evaluation of WSM’s multiannual programmes. She will now put all her dedication and time into the internal development of the organisation.
The whole WSM team wishes to thank its partner organisations, both in the continents and in Belgium, for their commitment towards international cooperation, including during challenging moments. In these times of Covid, their unconditional support proved invaluable.
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© Guy Puttemans