“At a certain point I was starting to wonder how it is possible that after donating money for so many years there still is poverty,” said Karen Kammeraat. For the freelance consultant, it was obvious that simply giving money to charity was not going to cut it.
Born in Vlissingen, Kammeraat enrolled at the Delft University of Technology where she studied Industrial Design Engineering. From there, she started working for a company where she helped work on a database with regards to regulations, standards and issues for exporters and producers in developing countries. From then on the rest of her career always had ties with the developing world, including a spell working in Tanzania as a freelance consultant as well as working for Oxfam Novib.
As part of her job Kammeraat is regularly in contact with local producers, thus gaining first-hand knowledge of the situation. This has also provided her with valuable insight into the effectiveness of charities and incentivized her to continue further research into the economic performance of developing countries. “I read a lot about international trade and found that for a large part the way we conduct trade with developing countries is unfair,” she said.
If money makes the world go round, then for Kammeraat, making sure that money is well spent becomes all the more important. Especially when the goal is to eradicate poverty. “Right now we buy a lot of products that are made by people who are exploited and not paid nor treated decently,” she explained. “By choosing wisely and responsibly how we spend our money we can make the world a better place.”
You can watch Karen’s talk on YouTube, here.