What our staff say

Find out first hand how diverse and challenging GIZ’s work is, what motivates our staff, and how they see their work.

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INTERVIEW WITH Jasmin Freischlad

Jasmin Freischlad
Jasmin Freischlad

What exactly do you do and why did you decide to work for GIZ?
I am a planning officer in the Good Governance and Human Rights division. Based in Eschborn, I support GIZ projects around the globe in the field of administrative reform and modernisation. I am involved in project evaluations and the preparation of new projects and assist with HR recruitment. Initially I got involved in development cooperation via a Berlin-based non-governmental organisation that advocates human rights, environmental protection and democracy. I was able to get some vital practical experience there while still a student. It was through this organisation’s network that I got a job as an appraiser with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Indonesia. After working in the political education sector for two years, I was offered a position at GIZ. Up until 2011, I worked for GIZ in Indonesia as a consultant for administrative reform and in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Tell us about a typical working day.
I don’t have a typical working day as such. I’ve only been a planning officer for six weeks but during this time I’ve already co-authored a two-week project evaluation in Afghanistan. In Kabul I interviewed at least two Afghan partners almost every day in the ministries and, together with the evaluation and project team, I analysed the project’s strengths and weaknesses. I also agreed at very short notice to stand in for a colleague on a one-week assignment in Indonesia. In between times I have to read a lot, do in-depth research and engage in various discussions in order to make sure I’m well prepared for my advisory duties. As a planning officer, you are usually either away on business or you are at your desk in Eschborn writing reports and project proposals.

What is it like working for GIZ?
Globalisation is affecting development cooperation in that traditional fields of work have been expanded to include new issues and countries. At the moment a lot of things are changing – new organisation structures, advisory approaches and models are being developed and tested. The stage is being set for the future, so it’s a really exciting time to be at GIZ.

What is the most important thing you have learned since you started working for GIZ?
To always try and focus on what you find fun and enjoyable about your work.

What would you say to someone who was considering working for GIZ?
GIZ offers interesting projects for experts from a whole range of different sectors. At the same time, the organisation also strives to succeed and achieve results. This calls for people who are willing to live and work all over the world, including in crisis countries or places that have much lower standards of living than Germany. You need to have good leadership qualities and be able to apply your specialist know-how in various contexts.

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Interview with Florian Henrich

Florian Henrich
Florian Henrich

What exactly do you do and why did you decide to work for GIZ?
I work as a planning officer in the Competence Centre for Financial Systems Development where I deal mainly with microfinancing, specifically improving access to and increasing the use of basic financial services like savings accounts or loans for poor households and microenterprises. My job essentially involves advising GIZ projects and programmes working in these or similar areas in our partner countries. I am also increasingly involved in the topics of financial consumer protection and gender finance.

Tell us about a typical working day.
There’s usually a meeting with colleagues on a variety of topics. At the moment, we are planning a five-day training course for representatives of institutions partnering our projects to empower them to develop their own strategy for basic financial education. This kind of process is very involved and time consuming. I also engage in regular exchanges with colleagues in the projects I’m looking after. This enables us to keep up to date with events. I’m also often busy planning my next business trip, or am about to go on one.

What is it like working for GIZ?
Exciting! I feel I’ve learned a great deal since I started here four years ago. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that my work is extremely varied and that I have been fortunate enough on many occasions to actually advise projects on site. The different experiences I have had working directly with projects have been tremendously important and have helped me, in turn, to advise other projects. And of course I work with a lot of really great colleagues. They’re brilliant – even more motivating than an exciting project assignment.

What is the most important thing you have learned since you started working for GIZ?
That’s hard to say. But if I think about it, maybe a lot comes down to excellent team work and good communication, which really helps to get the work done.

What would you say to someone who was considering working for GIZ?
It would help if they were pragmatic. 

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Interview with Vera Scholz

Vera Scholz
Vera Scholz

What exactly do you do and why did you decide to work for GIZ?
I am currently the director of the Environment and Climate Change Division in the Sectoral Department. From 1993 to 1998, I was a development worker in East Africa and later I worked as an advisor for GIZ’s predecessor organisation GTZ. In 1999 I joined the Public-Private Partnership Programme which had just been launched. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are development partnerships with the private sector. PPP projects establish links between the interests of German business and the development objectives of the German Government.

Tell us about a typical working day.
There isn’t really a typical working day. Every day is different. As director of the division, my calendar is full of scheduled appointments, for example with staff, both in Germany and in the field, with commissioning parties, partners from the research field and the consulting industry as well as with other management staff members. We talk about lots of different things and I have to be able to switch quickly from one topic to another. At international events and conferences, I represent GIZ to the outside world as regards our commitment to environmental and climate issues. I really enjoy that – I am constantly learning from other organisations and their way of working and I have my finger on the pulse as far as ‘global goods’ are concerned. There are also policy decisions to be taken that need a great deal of work up front. The management team and I have to keep up with the latest developments, discuss and interpret them, and then initiate, moderate and implement the changes.

What is it like working for GIZ?
It’s fantastic because I get to engage with many different people, countries and topics, and face a variety of different challenges. I can stay on the move, develop myself personally and professionally, learn about new topics and situations, and get directly involved.

What is the most important thing you have learned since you started working for GIZ?
I have learned a lot from my colleagues, who are very committed and passionate about their work and with whom I have been able to initiate a number of innovative processes. They also get me to look at things in a different way and inspire me to come up with new ideas.

What would you say to someone who was considering working for GIZ?
You have to have your wits about you and be aware that the world is constantly changing. Development cooperation has evolved into international cooperation, countries have progressed and their demands today are different to what they were 20 years ago. Other topics have become more important, like biodiversity, climate change and social welfare. Today we are increasingly focusing on the great transformation we need to bring about if we are to create a genuinely green economy, as well as what this means for industrialised nations, emerging economies and developing countries.