I am Geert Jan Prins, Managing Consultant of Will2Sustain. I was born in 1970 in a rural village in the Netherlands where I developed a strong interest in nature and rural living. My parents owned a construction company there and I grew up in the family business. Wanting to see more of the world I opted for an international career and studied Rural Development at Wageningen University, specializing in Economics of Development, and taking additional courses in Natural Resource Management.
My first experience in Africa was in Zambia, in 1994, where I lived and worked in the Southern Province. I did my thesis research on a microfinance system in Zoundwéogo, Burkina Faso, and graduated in 1995. After completing military service I joined FORM International, a company specializing in sustainable forest management and enjoyed working there for 3 years – until 2000.
I travelled a lot during these years, mostly in West Africa, but I also worked for timber industries in the US and Sweden, and enjoyed assisting organizations and companies in changing their management strategy to become compliant with the international standards for forest management.
From 2000-2005 I lived and worked in Sudan, first for a Canadian NGO, and then for the UNDP. My experiences in Sudan were crucial to the birth of Will2Sustain, since there I observed first-hand that the continuing depletion of natural resources and the growing competition led to conflicts between people.
After returning from Sudan I worked for several employers and returned to traveling frequently, mostly in Africa and Eastern Europe and to a smaller extent also into Asia. I decided to take on new studies, namely Sustainable Development at the University of London through a Distant Learning Program. I obtained a certificate with distinction. When I was approached by a client to lead a natural disaster response program in Indonesia and the Phillipines in October 2009 I knew I that it was time to start up Will2Sustain.
If you wish to learn more, please contact Will2Sustain by phone or by email. Additionally see an overview of our work experience.