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New coordinator for rural development

There is an important change of personel at DED Cambodia. Karin Tränkner will replace former coordinator for Rural Development Lars Düerkop from June onwards. Karin (53) has worked for DED in Laos and with German Agro Action in North Korea and Afghanistan in the past. DED Junior Advisor Michael Marien talked to her.

 Who are you? Please introduce yourself to your new colleagues.
My name is Karin. My professional background is divided into three parts. I have a social, horticulture and agribusiness background. I worked in the field of development cooperation since 1999, mostly with DED and German Agro Action. My development experiences are mainly consulting in the rural sector, commercial fruit growing, community development and project management.
But next to the professional Karin there is of course also the private person: I live in Bavaria, close to the town of Regensburg where I have my social roots and networks. One part of me always stays at home. The other part  is changing places according to the area where I am currently working. That is important for me. I'm also active in sports: cycling, inline skating, hiking, cooking together with others and inviting someone or being invited.
With which three words would you describe yourself?
Spontaneously, reliable and sustainable relationships/ friendships.
Why did you apply for the post of the coordinator for rural development?
Firstly because of Cambodia: I wanted to go to Cambodia. Rural development is my profession where I feel at home. When I applied, I did not know exactly which specific tasks I would have to do as a coordinator. But the job description sounded exciting.
What did you do before for a living?
From 1999 to 2003 I worked for DED in Laos, in Vientiane. My task was to consult the partner organization, a horticulture test and consulting center. There were two divisions: vegetable and fruit production. The fruit production was about the development of commercial fruit orchards with the support of loans. The focus was on delivery - not only on counseling. Today we would describe it as project management.
Before coming to Cambodia I paused for a time. I had just returned from Afghanistan and didn’t want to move on to the next project because of family-related reasons. During that time I worked for  a pharmaceutical company. Shortly after my contract expired I started working for DED again.
What interests you especially in Cambodia?
I was here in 2002 when I still worked for DED in Laos. My first impression was very positive. It is a quickly changing country. I had the feeling that the people are very interested in what is happening in the country. I like that. It is a good precondition if people believe in their own development. This was my first impression, a perception which is difficult to state reasons for.
What do you already know about Cambodia?
I want to learn a lot. The last years I was occupied with the backgrounds on Afghanistan. Because of that I am not up to date with the political situation in Cambodia yet. I would like to engage in political topics first as I didn’t have time for that during the preparation period. I am interested in the political system, how NGOs work, what is happening at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and in the situation of women: what is their judicial and social position in Cambodia.
What is the difference between Cambodia and Laos where you worked before?
When I compare Vientiane and Phnom Penh I would say that Phnom Penh is much more urban. Compared to 2002 the city grew massively. Sometimes you can ask yourself the question how far it wants to grow. It’s a different speed here compared to Laos. There is more energy. If you want to slow down yourself then you should go to Laos.
Do you have any precise plans or an agenda for your work in Cambodia?
It’s still too early for that. My first priority is to get to know everything as good as possible, especially the rural development, the country program and my colleagues. My focal points are the topics sustainability, value chains and agribusiness. If this will become my focal point in Cambodia, too, I cannot say at the moment as I don’t have enough information. It is important to me that I get to know the program and my colleagues very well. This includes the partner organizations and local experts. It is important for me to establish good relationships. Then I will decide what comes next.
Thank you very much for the interview and we wish you a successful start with DED Cambodia!
Updated : 03-01-2011 10:55:50