Start of new team leader Knowledge, Learning and Partnership

Ancella Voets worked at Mainline from 2004 to 2011. Now she returns as team leader Knowledge, Learning and Partnership. "I like Mainline's 'no bullshit mentality'."

Actually, Ancella had vowed never to return to an old employer. "But for Mainline, I am happy to make an exception," she says smiling on the phone. "Mainline is independent, contrarian. The only club in the Netherlands that stands up for drug users. But even outside The Netherlands, harm reduction is often only a part of HIV control and then your resources are limited for drug users. I like Mainline's 'no bullshit mentality'. Mainline does not play political games, but always focuses on the end result."

In 2004, Ancella started at Mainline as an outreach worker and later worked as a programme leader internationally. In 2011, she left Mainline for a job with Doctors of the World in Tanzania. After that, she set up the first harm reduction programme in Mozambique for Médecins Sans Frontières. In 2021, she started working as a self-employed harm reduction expert and carried out several projects for Mainline. "When Mainline called I thought: this is a new freelance job, however, they asked me to come and work as a team leader."

"I am looking forward to working as a team leader. I will sometimes have to act from the interest of a team leader instead of purely going for the content. As a colleague, are you taking good care of yourself? Can maybe a partner organisation do it, instead of Mainline? I also bring with me a large international network. People know how to find me and therefore Mainline too."

As to whether she had always seen herself working in the harm reduction field? "Funnily enough, I used to want to work with refugees. I happened to roll into the harm reduction world through an assignment for Trimbos. I was doing research on drug consumption rooms and was interviewing drug users. Gradually, I became more and more passionate about the subject. There is so much more to it. Drug users are criminalised, marginalised. For me, it's about the people and how they are excluded. To fight that, is what drives me." 

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