AFEW staff, its partners and friends say goodbye to Joost van der Meer
Amsterdam, the Netherlands (27.01.2012) – AIDS Foundation East-West, its partners and friends in the Netherlands gathered yesterday at a farewell reception in Amsterdam to say goodbye to Joost van der Meer who left his position as AFEW’s Executive Director.
Marijke Wijnroks, Dutch MFA’s sexual and reproductive health rights ambassador, said that Joost has “firmly positioned AFEW as the key player in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and more broadly as a key knowledge institution on dealing with HIV and TB in key populations”.
She pointed at AFEW’s crucial role in the region where people would have no access to services at all if there were no organisations like AFEW.
“AFEW makes sure that situation [with HIV and TB] in Eastern Europe and Central Asia will not disappear from the radar screen. You hold the governments in the region accountable, the governments that are not always ready to defend human rights of marginalized populations. You demonstrate that effective HIV and TB prevention and treatment programmes can be run among marginalized groups,” – Marijke Wijnroks said.
Frank de Wolf, AFEW’s board chairman, said that Joost has successfully guided the organization patiently and with dedication through transformation process and changes.
“You put tremendous effort into it and I want to thank you for this. It improved AFEW’s position, it became a reliable NGO that was able to achieve results for people who suffer from HIV and from governments of their respective countries that ignored them at best but deny access to treatment and healthcare still more often,” – he said.
Anke van Dam, Joost’s successor in AFEW, said she took over Joost’s passion for the culture and the people in the region.
“You have always been a very quite worker but you were always available for my questions and my concerns, you were always ready to listen to me and I appreciate it very much,”- she said in her speech.
Joost van der Meer stressed on several things he will miss in this job, particularly on partnerships both in the Netherlands and in the regions.
“It really gave me a sense of purpose, a sense of doing something together to pursue one common cause. It was important to me to do this work with the people in the region to know them, to know what drives, what worries them and what bothers them,”- he said.
AIDS Foundation East-West once again wants to thank Joost van der Meer for his commitment and dedication to AFEW. We wish Joost much success in his future career.
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