Press release: Bert Koenders Chairman Rutgers WPF

Bert Koenders has succeeded Melanie Schultz van Haegen as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rutgers WPF as of February 2011. On 1 January 2011 Rutgers WPF emerged as a result of the merger between Rutgers Nisso Groep (centre of expertise on sexuality) and World Population Foundation (WPF). Koenders said that this new organisation, Rutgers WPF, will continue an important Dutch tradition: making sexual health and rights a political priority in and outside the Netherlands.

New appointment

Rutgers WPF is very pleased with the appointment of Bert Koenders (former Minister for Development Cooperation) as the new Chairman of the Supervisory Board. “We couldn’t wish for a more suitable successor”, according to Managing Director Dianda Veldman. Owing to her current position as Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen resigned as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rutgers WPF in February 2011.

Koenders’ motivation

Koenders regards his new appointment as an honour and a wonderful challenge: “The Netherlands is doing quite well, taking into account the relative low number of teenage pregnancies, abortions and STIs. But it is important that sex education is also available to new generations and vulnerable groups such as homosexuals, migrants and sex workers. The experience gained in the Netherlands can also be used internationally. Sexual violence is a great and growing problem worldwide which attracts very little attention. As Minister for Development Cooperation I ensured that the sexual and reproductive rights of women and young people were put first. When women in particular are able to decide themselves when and with whom they have sex, how many children they want and when, and know how to have safe sex, this is the basis of sustainable development in a country. Rutgers WPF has much experience in supporting partner organisations in developing countries in the area of sexual and reproductive health. I can’t wait to contribute to this in the future.”

Rutgers WPF

Rutgers WPF is a centre of expertise in the area of sexual health and rightsoperating in and outside the Netherlands. Special attention is paid to young people, women and vulnerable groups such as the disabled and/or chronically ill. In many countries sexual health is strongly linked with poverty, lack of information and services, unequal opportunities and taboos. Rutgers WPF has chosen an integral approach to these issues, taking into account the local context. With its knowledge and expertise in the area of sexuality Rutgers WPF supports professionals, for example in providing sex education, in advocating and in research.

Approximately 75 staff are employed by Rutgers WPF in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the organisation has field offices in Indonesia, Vietnam en Pakistan, in total about 40 members of staff. Rutgers WPF collaborates with partner organisations in countries such as Bangladesh, Uganda, Kenya and Malawi.

Editorial note:

For further information on Bert Koenders and his chairmanship and on Rutgers WPF please contact the Communications Department of Rutgers WPF:
telephone: +31 (0) 30-231 34 31 or email: