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Tetiana van Waveren

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Tetiana studied mathematics and statistics at Kyiv National University. During her studies, she became an activist in civil society issues which gave her and two other colleagues the idea of turning their interest into a profession. Tetiana transformed their small NGO into a well-known educational expertise centre in Ukraine. She worked on projects related to regional development, European integration, fair elections and political education. 

In April 2018, Tetiana joined Aflatoun International’s innovative, enthusiastic and professional team and its global network of partners. She deeply believes in empowering children and young people, and this inspires her everyday work. She finds it important to be involved in developing life skills and financial literacy for children and youth in such a diverse and bright but also a challenging region of Europe and Central Asia.

Why do you work for Aflatoun International? 

My work allows me to learn about and understand my region deeply. It is very inspiring to see how quality education can make changes in the lives of children and young people. 

What is your role at the organisation? 

 I am a Programme Manager for Europe and Central Asia 

How would you explain what you do to a 5-year-old?  

In Aflatoun we have different lessons and games which help children from all over the world to learn how to be smart with money. You will be able to have what you need and what you want. I am helping teachers who give these lessons to children to do it in the best way they can. 

Why is social and financial education important? 

Social and financial education helps to gain and master skills such as personal understanding, respect to diversity, ability to stand for your rights and the rights of those around you, ability to set goals, manage personal finances, to be a smart consumer, to be able to prioritise expenses and to become an entrepreneur. These skills and competencies are crosscutting and universal. You need them as a student, you need them as a farmer, you need them as a stay-at-home parent, you need them as a governor, you need them as an owner of a company and so on. They can empower person to become an independent individual who is adaptable and flexible when faced with changes and turbulences of the modern world. 

What do you like most about Aflatoun International?  

What I like most about Aflatoun International is its people; my colleagues from the Secretariat and our global partners. Their stories inspire and teach me.

What is something NGOs have to deal with that you want to fix?

NGOs are trying to cover gaps where private and governmental sectors do not succeed.  They are doing it with great success in all directions: health care, poverty, education, innovations, sustainable development and climate change. I hope that NGOs will keep going to do so. What I would like to change and to improve is the vulnerability and unsustainability of NGOs. majority of NGOs depend on funding, and competition for it is very high. How to decrease competition between NGOs, how to help NGOs to focus on their programmes instead of fighting for survival, how to increase collaboration between NGOs, private sector and governments? The answers to these questions are very important.

How do you see the future of Aflatoun International?  

Aflatoun Internation has shown a quick and intense growth for the last 15 years. Now all of us are working on the next five-year strategy. I hope it will bring Aflatoun to the next level in terms of professionalism, expertise and structure. In future, I would like to see Aflatoun as a leading expert in social and financial education, seen as a wise, wellknown and respected professor, who still has passion and joy in its heart.  

Who is a hero of yours? / Or please share with us a motto or quote close to your philosophy of life.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things, which I can’t change, the courage to change things, which I can and wisdom to know the difference.  – Serenity Prayer