Meet Imke Straaten: Our Newest Addition to the Progreso Team

We are thrilled to introduce you to the latest addition to our ever-growing team, Imke Straaten. Imke is taking on the role of Program Manager for Africa, and her base of operations will be in Uganda. With a rich background in International Development and a wealth of experience working and living in Eastern Africa, Imke is set to make a significant impact on managing our projects across the African continent.

Imke’s journey toward a career in International Development began in India when she was only seventeen years old: By participating in a student exchange Program called “Global Exploration” she was first exposed to the disparities of our world. During this transformative experience, she witnessed the effects of the caste system: The glaring inequality between outcasted leprosy patients and the exclusive international school students stirred a passion within Imke to work towards a more just world.

Determined to make a difference, Imke pursued her education in International Development at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands. For her master’s degree, she went off to Kenya, where she conducted research on the meaning of ‘sustainability’ in the informal economy of Kibera Slum in Nairobi. Her focus was on finding whether microcredits and Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) could stimulate simultaneously ecological and economic development, a critical issue in many developing nations.

In 2015, Imke started her professional career as an intern at the Dutch-based organization Wilde Ganzen. This experience eventually led her to the role of Project Advisor, where she managed over 100 partnerships with community-based organizations (CBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and various community-based development initiatives, including self-help groups and cooperatives. Her work centered on the co-funding of small-scale development projects and the organizational development of these partner organizations to sustainably address poverty, considering strategic sessions on community participation, legal compliance and local fundraising strategies to become less dependent on foreign aid. On behalf of Wilde Ganzen, Imke participated in the Young Expert Program, which enabled her to work and live in Uganda for one year. Together with the partner organization she then gave substance to the Agricultural and Food Security policy of Wilde Ganzen.

Her dedication and expertise caught our attention at Progreso, making her the perfect fit for our team.

Another talent joining our team: please welcome Jean Paul Collazos Marina

We have more great news to share! Our team is expanding, and we are thrilled to introduce our newest member, Jean Paul Collazos Marina. From and based in Northeast Peru, Jean Paul is joining us as an Agroforestry Expert.

Jean Paul’s main role will be to work closely with coffee and cacao farmers and provide them with support, training, and technical assistance. He will help them design and implement sustainable agroforestry systems that improve the productivity and quality of their farms. This means finding ways to reduce the harmful effects of greenhouse gases and promoting a circular economy by storing carbon in the long term and selling it.

Jean Paul has a lot of experience in environmental work, particularly in monitoring and evaluating development programs and projects in different parts of Peru. He has worked with organizations like USAID and the European Union. He is also passionate about regenerative agriculture and protecting biodiversity. He knows about the processes involved in preparing coffee and cocoa after they are harvested, and he understands how to ensure their quality.

We are very excited to have Jean Paul on our team. With his knowledge and dedication, we are confident that he will help us achieve our goal of promoting sustainable agriculture and supporting local farmers. We look forward to seeing the positive impact he will make as he works with our partners and stakeholders.

At Progreso, we believe that collaboration and expertise are crucial for making a difference. With Jean Paul joining us, we are even better equipped to help farmers on their journey towards a more sustainable future. We are excited about the projects and successes that lie ahead as we continue to grow together.

The newest addition to our growing Progreso family: Bismarck Antonio Jarquin Jimenez! 

From Jinotega (north-eastern Nicaragua), Bismarck brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience as an agricultural engineer with a remarkable 18-year career. We couldn’t be more excited to have him on board.

Throughout his extensive professional journey, Bismarck has held various roles in management and marketing, with a strong focus on collaborating with cooperatives and farmer organizations in Jinotega. His expertise spans a wide range of areas, including governance, administration, finance, sales, and, most importantly, working within the Coffee Value Chain.

Here at Progreso, we will be tapping into Bismarck’s talents to drive training initiatives and facilitate the sharing of knowledge within the Coffee Value Chain. His focus will be on crucial aspects such as collection, traceability, processing, export, risk management in prices, and fostering valuable connections.

Bismarck is particularly excited about the opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of organizations and companies benefiting from our technical assistance projects in Nicaragua and Latin America. Through his expertise and skills, he aims to foster growth and success among the cooperatives and businesses we support.

As an organization dedicated to empowering cooperatives and companies with a strong coffee focus, we are honored to have Bismarck on our team. We firmly believe that his contributions will play a vital role in our ongoing success.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Bismarck Antonio Jarquin Jimenez. We are absolutely thrilled to have him on board and eagerly anticipate the incredible contributions he will make as we continue our mission to bring positive change to the world of coffee.