Local is leading

For two decades now Silent Work has been working in various African countries. We not only respect the local lifestyles in these parts of Africa, they are the starting point for our way of working. The needs and wishes of local people are leading for Silent Work. We see ourselves as a silver chain in a golden necklace.

Founders Wiljo Woodi Oosterom and Demba Abou Ba supervise all projects. In the Netherlands they are supported by a number of volunteers, board members and others; in Africa they work together with various advisors, experts and the team of Silent Work West-Africa.

We only start projects when there is sufficient mutual trust, sufficient financial resources and when the plans are formulated together with the local people.  We don’t put our name and logo on a board in the projects with “Made possible by …”, because local people are the owners themselves.

The right to lead our own lives

The starting point is always: every human being anywhere in the world has the right to autonomy, to lead one’s own daily life independently from others. In any connection: family, group or African ‘kraal’.

For children this means even more: each child with whatever talent, disposition, or abilities, has a right to develop towards an independent life. Thus, communication is the primary condition, next to peace, safety, care, nutrition and housing. That is why Silent Work supports not only basic services such as water, agriculture, health care, education, and employment, but also education for the Deaf and for other children with disabilities.

Lasting results when cultures and commitment interconnect

In order to build a basis of trust with all those involved we need to respect and truly appreciate the values and norms in these parts of Africa. Without forgetting the values and norms of Western cultures. The interconnection between our cultures, our mutual input and efforts, yields results.

The people we work with are often living under difficult conditions. We need to take a careful and patient approach. The approximately 500 completed and ongoing projects give hope. The sustainable results show the success of our way of working.


Read more

For further information you can read the book ‘Nothing is as it seems‘ below. With beautiful images and illustrative stories Woodi Wiljo Oosterom describes in this book how Silent Work operates in Africa. Why the projects are sustainable and successful. What cooperation with African people requires from us Westerners.

Want to know how that works in practice?

Read the stories and results in our Annual reports and Travel stories.

However, these reports are currently only available in Dutch.

Wat to know which projects we do this way?

Go to our Projects.