“We found each other on vigor in this time of war”


The statement ‘Alone you go far, together you go further’ fits very well as a foundation work together. Especially around local cooperation, we firmly believe in that.” Gerben Heldoorn, CEO of the Dutch foundation ‘Kom over en help’ (come over and help), is speaking. Gerben talks about the collaboration between the two foundations Kom over en help and Worldpartners.

If you look back into the history, there has been a long time when many organizations did their own thing. We are seeing more and more willingness to cooperate. Every organization has its own knowledge, experience, history, supporters and expertise. I believe in the power of cooperation in our profession if you have the same vision on assistance. Worldpartners adds real expertise that we do not have in-house. Together we involve local people in the relief efforts. For me, that collaboration is a synergy sum; 1 + 1 = 3. Collaboration is one of our strategic objectives for a reason.

Hand to the plow

When the war broke out in Ukraine, we were already in contact with each other on the second day. Worldpartners and Kom over en help together had a large network of Ukrainian contacts. We were able to move the harvest that was available regionally. For example, we had to use few transports from the Netherlands. Come over and help also had a budget, Worldpartners had grain. We needed half a word to put the proverbial hand to the plow. You find each other on decisiveness. And now we are still cooperating with the harsh winter coming.

Cooperation during peace time

Cooperation is in the DNA of both foundations. We already knew each other from previous cooperation projects that we carried out and evaluated during peacetime, without high pressure. In an urgent situation, you build on the existing collaboration. As a result, we were able to respond quickly to calls for help and did not get lost in internal processes about the right mission and vision.

Look into the eyes

Worldpartners is very strong in the field of entrepreneurship. Money is well spent. As the emergency lasted longer, we also looked each other in the eye a number of times. What does the collaboration entail? How do we deal with changes? What does the future look like? What are the expectations regarding reports, for example? This requires consultation and coordination. After such an online-in-the-eyes appointment, clarity follows in the form of work agreements. That is important for the donors and supporters, but in the end it is about the people we help.

Strong vision and mission

Sometimes I notice that people are hesitant about cooperation. That with cooperation you surrender something of your individuality. With our cooperation we show that we keep to ourselves very well and use aid (resources) effectively. In doing so, it is important to have a clear vision and strategy. Ultimately, we are looking for cooperation because the target group in Eastern Europe will benefit from it. I think that’s what we’re on earth for, to look after the people who are really less fortunate.


Gerben Heldoorn (1975) has been director at Kom over en Help since 2019. From the year of 16 he was already involved in the foundation with voluntary work. He has four children and three grandchildren.

Kom over en help is a Dutch NGO who wants to help vulnerable loved ones develop and increase their self-reliance. They use three resources for this: education, income-generating activities and social care. The organization works together with governments, Christian organizations (NGOs), churches and companies, both in the Netherlands and in the countries where we work. They are active in the countries: Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. komoverenhelp.nl