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Hi we are Jip and Marisse. We met each other a year ago in The Gambia, where we are both living and working. Working and engaging with Gambians made us to learn many things about the Gambian culture(s), and challenged our own Dutch habits.

Marisse started at a young age as an entrepreneur and has always been trying to bring forward her sustainable and social heart in her businesses. Jip has a master in International Development Studies at Wageningen University. She enjoyes working on development policies, strategical planning and natural resource management. Coming from different backgrounds, complementing each other. New things can be created with a lot of fresh and motivated energy.

Jip van Scherpenzeel

Jip van Scherpenzeel, twenty-six and almost two years living in Gambia. Her first contact with The Gambia was during her study Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, here she did a research on the empowerment of women and their ideas about equality and justice. She went on to deepen her interest in the African continent and the right to the basic needs of people during the Master International Development Studies in Wageningen (The Netherlands).

In addition to working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague and Ethiopia for a water company, she returned to Gambia with a social enterprise whose primary goal was to create employment through the production of products. During these experiences she gained a lot of experience in setting up and managing small-scale and large-scale projects and working with the local population.

She is very passionate and sees a lot of opportunities in Gambia. Not by imposing ideas, but precisely by working with the Gambians and seeing what they need.

Why ‘’Humanity’’ is so important for you?

‘’Humanity is what makes us who we are and the way forward to understanding each other and creating progress for all through compassion and empathy. We are all the same, having our own dreams and fears, which we should recognize in order to live peacefully together. The idea of humanity, the idea that every human being has the right to live a respectful life and has access to basic needs, such as a nutricient meal, water, shelter and access to justice. This can be achieved through many things, by creating sustainable businesses, improving governing systems and educating and informing people. Humanity encompasses many different things, but mostly the fact that we are all humans and have dreams, face challenges and have the ability to work together to stimulate progress for all and leaving no one behind.’’


Why ‘’Nature’’ is so important for you?

‘’Nature is the start of our being and the world surrounding us. The challenge is to learn how to dance with nature, instead of going against it. In the current world that will be one of our biggest challenges. ‘’


Marisse van Drunen

Marisse lives from 2015 in The Gambia. She started, advised and initiated different projects in The Gambia. She started with a garden project (among which Nyamina Garden) and continued with producing nature products and education. She teaches in the training program ‘’from seed to business’’ from MyFarm, in which she teaches youth and adults how to set up their own business, something she has been successfully doing since the age of seventeen.

Marisse is very enthusiastic and sees a lot of opportunities in The Gambia. She is often defined as very social, what not only delivered her a position in the community but also created a lot of contacts with other organisations and tourists.

Why ‘’Humanity’’ is so important for you?

‘’One of the things that brings me a lot of happiness in my life is to feel one with people. Where our background, expectations and the rest of the world for a moment do not matter… and we just are with each other, to be together.’’

Why ‘’Nature’’ is so important for you?

‘’The Nature is learning my so much, like how everything is connected with each other. Every animal needs each other if you look at the big picture.. like every plant who reject different on weather conditions, ground or other plants. It is alive, like us!’’


Foundation for Humanity and
Nature Connections

Nature Shop
New Road,
Kololi/ Senegambia



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