Introducing our SES experts

Find out more about the faces behind the Senior Experten Service (SES). Here they tell us about their professional backgrounds, what they have learned from past assignments on the African continent and why they want to join a young expert to volunteer through Team works!

Hanna Berger

Year born: 1984

Lives in: Cologne

Qualification(s): Media Designer, Bachelor of Arts (Media Studies/Media Management)

Job: Director of New Business, Social Match GmbH

SES assignments in Africa: South Africa (1)

“What can social media do?” – that was the question an association for people with disabilities in Western Cape, South Africa, was asking itself.

I came in to explain the basics of setting up and maintaining a social media presence to their partner workshops and schools. Occasionally, the work also involved websites and how to use Wordpress effectively. We started from scratch most of the time, which meant I had to start by writing lots of handouts and giving on-the-job training.

 

Some help from a motivated social media native would have been brilliant - we could have run a Facebook writers’ workshop or created a wiki, which I just didn’t have time for. Now, with the AGYO, it would be possible, which I think is great. The association definitely deserves twofold support. It’s been helping people with disabilities and their families with the little things in life since 1937(!). Not only is that pretty impressive -the staff are adorable too!

 

The association also looks after its employees’ health and I got involved in that too, offering a kick-boxing course for women. It keeps you fit and strengthens team spirit what with all that laughing!

Hannah Berger
Director of New Business, Social Match GmbH

Wolfgang Reisen

Year born: 1943

Lives in: Erfurt

Qualification(s): Electrical engineer, political scientist and jurist

Job: Managing Director, SWE Stadtwirtschaft GmbH, B&R Bioverwertung und Recycling GmbH Erfurt

Retired: 2009

SES assignments in Africa: Mali (7)

When people think about rubbish, they tend to think about it as a problem, don’t they? But the fact is that rubbish is a waste product of our lives.

Of course, we should avoid waste whenever we can but there’s always something left over and a lot of that can be put to good use. I’d love to take a young person who’s interested in these things on an assignment to Mail to help with the “Clean Kati” project.

 

My assignments in Kati have revealed some quite amazing things. For instance, we discovered that 80% of the waste produced there can be reused. We haven’t quite got there yet but about 50 to 60% is already being reused. Organic waste now goes to the compost heap and is used as a natural fertiliser on crops. And film, plastic and metal are also recycled and turned into, for example, everyday household articles such as – you guessed it – rubbish bins!

Wolfgang Reisen
Managing Director, SWE Stadtwirtschaft GmbH,
B&R Bioverwertung und Recycling GmbH Erfurt

Bettina Frommann

Year born: 1960

Lives in: Kiel

Qualification(s): PE/French teacher, secondary school

Beruf: Lecturer, Kiel University’s Institute of Sports Science

SES assignments in Africa: Tanzania (2)

It’s important to broaden your horizons, otherwise you won’t get anywhere in life. The AGYO gives young people the opportunity to do just that. If I was around 25, I’d sign up.

But since I’m 60 I’m offering my services as a mentor – for someone who is knowledgeable about sports and, in particular, swimming.

 

When I was on assignment with a Christian youth organisation in Moshi, Tanzania, just before Corona struck, I could have done with a helping hand. The organisation runs a school, a nursery, a hotel management college, a hostel – and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. My job was to provide training on teaching swimming and on pool maintenance.

 

One of the people I interacted with was the pool attendant. I hadn’t considered that he might be a Muslim. If you want to practise rescue manoeuvres in the water and, as a white woman, are used to training in a swimming costume - well, in Kiel at least - well, certain things take on more of a relevance. But, together, we found a solution and ended up working really well together. It was a case of us both broadening our horizons. And talking of horizons –you can see Mount Kilimanjaro from Moshi!

Bettina Frommann
Lecturer, Kiel University’s Institute of Sports Science

Friedhelm Ochmann

Year born: 1951

Lives in: Bottrop

Qualification(s): Broadcasting engineer

Job: Runs his own business, “Sunnycontrol”

SES assignments in Africa: Ghana (4)

Someone who’s no good with their hands wouldn’t be any help, to be honest. And a knowledge of English or German is a must.

If they had a technical interest in photovoltaics too, it would be the perfect match. Someone who ticks all those boxes would be welcome to accompany me on an assignment in Africa. Or to do a placement at my business in Bottrop. It would be particularly nice if someone from Accra came because I’ve been there lots of times.

 

I’m a solar energy man. My business, “Sunnycontrol”, monitors photovoltaic systems via the internet. And when I’m on assignment, it’s my expertise in this field that plays a role, of course. Ghana has an abundance of sunlight, lots of power outages and hardly any photovoltaic systems. Makes loads of sense. That’s something we could change.

Friedhelm Ochmann
Runs his own business, “Sunnycontrol”