I first travelled to Africa (Burkina Faso) in 1995 aged 21. Educated as a rural development sociologist/ anthropologist I learned how people, as a result of their norms and values, culture and beliefs, may look differently at the same situation. I had to let go of my own preconceived thoughts about right and wrong, good and bad, happy and unhappy, I learned how to look at situations form different angles and perspectives. I learned how to communicate with different people and how curiosity and letting go of my own judgements supported me in connection and understanding. When I first heard about nonviolent communication in 2007 it all seemed to come together.
At that time nonviolent communication mainly was a tool I used in my job (consultancy work mainly in Africa) to explore the values/needs of different groups of people and facilitate understanding and reasoned action amongst them. Much later I learned there was so much more depth in nonviolent communication consciousness. I learned to apply nonviolent communication in my own life- within myself and with the people around me- and experienced the magic of it.
As part of my regular job at VHL University of applied sciences in the Netherlands I now train students in, amongst others, the masters programme Management of Development and the bachelors International Development Management. I am proud that students now get introduced to nonviolent communication and can apply this both in their own live and during their work in facilitating change towards a sustainable world. I trust these trainings may have a ripple effect and contribute to my vision: a world where everybody’s needs matter.
An other way to contribute to my vision of a world in which everybody’s needs matter is by living and teaching nonviolent communication through my own company. EmpaTilya (www.empatilya.nl). Tilya is the translation of giraffe in Moore (the most widely spoken local language from Burkina Faso). Tilya, a word in a relatively unknow language to highlight that nonviolent communication is a universal language that can contribute to peace and connection all over the world. Through EmpaTilya I organize trainings to introduce nonviolent communication within my own community (Wageningen, the Netherlands), give in-company trainings and do mediations and coaching. Social change starts with connection! If you want to know more, attend a training, or something else, contact me at [email protected]