From sports marketer to Oxfam Novib

My name is Tom Sterk. I am a fourth
year Bachelor student in Sports marketing at the Hogeschool van
Amsterdam. In this short blog, I will take you through my journey to Oxfam
Novib, and the project which I will be working on. 

Journey to Oxfam Novib

In my years as a teenager, I developed a strong
fascination for fitness and beside that I had

an interest in economics and marketing. Sports marketing seemed as the appropriate
solution to my interests. However, during my HBO Bachelor in Sports marketing, I came to the conclusion
that my fascination for fitness was mainly caused by my interest in nutrition
and the effects of nutrition on the body and diseases. I decided that I wanted
to focus my time and energy in acquiring knowledge in this field of work. In
line with my ambitions, in the third year of my HBO Bachelor in Sports marketing, I followed a pre-master
programme at the University of Wageningen with the specialization of Management
with a focus on food and agribusiness. During my time at the University of
Wageningen, I followed the course Environmental Economics and Policy, which
influenced my thoughts on topics like sustainability, climate change, social
justice and corporate social responsibilities. After acquiring this knowledge,
I wanted an internship at a company whose philosophy moves beyond profit. 

Therefore, I am now at Oxfam Novib on a project called
SINFA. It is a project which creates developmental opportunities
for the youth in Northern-Uganda through access to high-speed internet, which
has been started with a funding of the Nationale Postcode Loterij.

So what is SINFA?


Oxfam Novib believes in the core principles of the proverb
‘Don’t give them a fish, but a rod.’ This proverb implies that instead of
giving people money or aid (a fish), proving people with equal opportunities (a
rod), creates a sustainable impact. And precisely within the core of this
principle, the organization SINFA is created.  SINFA is a one of a kind
project, even for a multifaceted organization such as Oxfam Novib. The word
project is also a misnomer, because SINFA started as a project, but is now an
almost fully independent social for-profit enterprise. The vision of
creating a self-sufficient social enterprise required Oxfam
Novib to step out of their comfort non-governmental organization (NGO) zone and dive into
the depth of the private sector. This
brought all kinds of new situations, complications and challenges to Oxfam Novibs
NGO attitude and approach to work. But
precisely this ‘marriage‘ of a business and a social organization, is what
makes SINFA so fascinating.

A company can only survive in the private sector when it
creates a competitive advantage and
adds value for its customers. Therefore, the employees of SINFA must help to
create value in the companies they work with. For
the people who live and work in Northern-Uganda, this creates a feeling of
being part of something bigger, instead of being helped because
of pity. The impact of SINFA’s
work can transform the lives, families and communities of inhabitants of
Northern-Uganda, through meaningful employment in digitally enabled services
(Impact sourcing).

Unfortunately, SINFA lacks sufficient customers to
generate enough income to employ all their employees, and that’s how I, as a Sports marketing
student, got involved in such an inspiring project.

I am here to help
SINFA generate more business, through market research, strategy, and marketing.

If this made you curious about SINFA, and you would like
to learn more about SINFA, do not hesitate to contact us at, or keep in touch with the Oxfam Novib blog for more

Learn more about SINFA

Tom is doing an internship with our Internet Now group
working to spread the access to internet in Uganda. He is not what you would
expect to find at an NGO, as a fitness fanatic and student on sports marketing
he is always happy to give us a different perspective, a new view on a problem
or some advice on our exercise regime!


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