Dr. Suzanne Nederlof

Visiting Advisor

Dr. Suzanne Nederlof

Suzanne is a certified trainer in compassionate communication with a background in international development. Suzanne holds an MSc in rural development sociology and a PhD in communication and innovation studies from Wageningen University, the Netherlands. For her PhD she conducted a meta-research within the Convergence of Sciences Project in Ghana and Benin to develop an alternative pathway for client-oriented research.


Email Address

Wageningen, the Netherlands


She has expertise in learning alliances for rural innovation; resource-poor farmers’ livelihoods; natural resource management and platform thinking; farmer-based organizations and interdisciplinary research. Suzanne also is a trainer in compassionate communication certified by the Centre for nonviolent communication. Suzanne’s main areas of expertise are food security, agricultural services, innovation systems and farmer-based organisations. She has professional skills in action-research, participatory approaches, facilitation of multi-stakeholder processes and training. Other skills include coaching, facilitation (of workshops, conferences, meetings), action-research and qualitative research, documenting experiences from practice, and inter-cultural skills.

Suzanne has over 20 years of experience in rural development through long-term assignments for the Food and Agriculture Organization in Ghana, the International Institute for Soil Fertility Management in Togo, and a research outreach station of Wageningen University in Burkina Faso. At IFDC-A she was responsible for exploring the landscape of farmer-based organizations in West Africa and suggesting the way forward. In 2006 she joined the Royal Tropical Institute, where she focused on agricultural services, producer organizations and rural innovation.

In 2013 Suzanne joined Van Hall Larenstein as a senior lecturer in rural development and innovation. She is also coordinating the Master’s specialisation Food Security in International Development Management. In addition Suzanne has her own company, EmpaTilya https://empatilya.nl/ through which she offers training, mediation and coaching in nonviolent aka compassionate communication. Suzanne is not part of the HCI Maendeleo board but she can be consulted for specific questions on an ad-hoc basis that come up in the board. HCI Maendeleo may consider her ideas if this supports.