24.4.2019 Veera Wusu
Interview with Katja Köykkä, advisor in Fida International
Katja Köykkä works as an advisor in Fida international. She is expert on lobbying and advocacy training. The core tasks of her work are, in addition to lobbying and advocacy work, training, networking and content production especially to social media.
Katja’s background is originally in health sector where she worked in the health administration on the public sector. Between 2011-2018 she worked in development cooperation in Jordan where their family also lived 2011-1016. Katja describes the experience in Jordan as one of the core foundations for her current position: while working ”in the field” she saw how important it is to strengthen the abilities of local actors to advocate for the matter they themselves find important.
When asking about the most rewarding aspect of her work, Katja does not hesitate. She says it is delighting to see how people own tools and methods of lobbying and advocacy in different contexts where she trains them on these topics. She feels that the whole organisation of Fida International has gone through a change of mindset in just about one year, and the willingness and abilities to influence has increased significantly.
On of the most inspiring stories Katja recalls from the years she worked in Jordan. She remember meeting a chair of women’s organisation when starting the development cooperation. When asking what she, the chair, expected from the cooperation with Fida International, she wished to have a bus to take women from rural areas to different kinds of trainings and happenings. She did not want anything else. The bus did not work out – no money, no driver, no-one to fix and maintain it – but cooperation was done in other ways. In just few years the chair herself became a person to influence and advocate first at local level and later on she was a candidate in election. Katja describes this kind of change in attitude from a receiver of benefits to an advocate in such a short time something that motivates in her work greatly.
On future plans or chances for promotion, Katja comments that the opportunities to be promoted are very limited in such a small organisation in which she works. One option, later in the future, would be to work as a programme or sector director but at the moment she finds her position as an advisor permitting more possibilities and freedoms to influence on grassroot level which she finds to be the most motivating part of her work.
To conclude, Katja comments on her work that it is sometimes like jumping from one topic to another as most of the work is very project-like and dependent on the funding periods. In such context the importance of smooth cooperation with colleagues with different professional expertises is a key ingredient for successful and meaningful work. Good atmosphere and enthusiasm defines the team which Katja works with.