Manon Koningstein is EcoAgriculture´s newest staff member. With a background in communications in agriculture for development and a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communications, she will bring creative ideas to the organization as the new Communications Manager.
What´s my story with Communications and Agriculture?
Having rolled into Communications in Agriculture “accidentally” I now cannot imagine I would be working in something else. From when I was a child I was always playing with words, trying to learn languages (something that, as a Dutch national, is quite normal) and making foreign friends: I guess you can say I’ve always had an interest in using Communications in an international and intercultural setting. During my Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Communications at the Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands, I studied a semester abroad in Argentina. There I discovered my love for the Spanish language and Latin America.
I continued with a Master in Intercultural Communication from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and ended up working with smallholder cacao farmers in the marginalized areas of the province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador while writing my Master’s Thesis. This was my entry to using communications in the field of agriculture.
The next step was joining the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia as a Communications Specialist for the Gender & Climate Change Research Team. This was 7 years ago. For the past few years, I have worked as a consultant with different CGIAR institutions as well as international NGOs around the world, moving around Latin America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia, while focussing on the creation of communication strategies, videos, and other storytelling outputs.
I also founded and co-own an agency for Communications for Social Change, in which we use video, photography and where possible, theater, as a way to create inclusive dialogues around sensitive topics.
Now based in Spain, I am extremely excited to have started as the new Communications Manager for EcoAgriculture Partners. I really enjoy and fully support their targeted and two-way approach to landscapes. Their clear mission that recognizes the complexity of environmental concerns, and the necessity to involve all stakeholders to successfully promote integrated landscapes, inspires me.
Why I think Communications is key (and should be FUN)
I see the challenges our generation is facing, as opportunities. It is unmistakable that we need to call upon the attention of decision-makers and the general public and convince them that integrated landscape management is part of the solution to climate change. For this, it is necessary to get the right message, to the right group in the right way.
I firmly believe in inclusive and engaging communication outputs. No difficult words, no long and boring reports, but personal stories, engaging visuals, videos, infographics, and photos.
You can therefore always see me dragging around a camera, as well as my laptop and a surfboard. Moving around as much as I do, I am a big fan of working on the road, meeting new people, attending creative meetings and learning and sharing about new tools and trends in the communications sector.