Dr Willem van Eekelen

Dr Willem van Eekelen

International Development Department
Teaching Fellow

Contact details

International Development Department
School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Van Eekelen is a development economist who built his experience in a range of UN agencies and NGOs before assuming his two current roles: 

  • IDD Teaching Fellow (10%)
  • Independent consultant (90%)

In his latter role, Van Eekelen focuses on:

  • Organisational capacity assessments and support
  • Strategic planning in the humanitarian and international development sectors
  • Evaluations of humanitarian and development portfolios with a value of £1 billion and above

The assignments Van Eekelen enjoys most are the ones that require both strategic and detailed analytical thinking; management and technical skills; and interaction with both the developmental elite and the men and women we ultimately aim to empower.


  • MSc in Development Programming, Erasmus University Rotterdam and University of Sussex
  • MSc, Sociological Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • PhD, rural socio-economic development, Erasmus University Rotterdam


Until 2010 Van Eekelen held policy and programming positions, mostly within the United Nations system. Since then he has worked as an independent consultant for the international development and humanitarian sectors. In addition to Van Eekelen’s consultancy work (mostly evaluations), he holds occasional NGO trusteeship positions, lectures at the University of Birmingham and co-owns Green Visions, the Balkans’ liveliest adventure tourism company. He authored 100 ideas for dads who love their kids but find them exhausting, and the upcoming Very Official Book of Hugs, as well as a few travel guides and the occasional academic publication.


Van Eekelen supervises MSc dissertations and contributes to three modules that may or may not be taught in the current year:

  • NGOs in a Changing International Context
  • Rural Poverty and Development
  • Poverty and Inequality: Interventions and Approaches

Van Eekelen won the University of Birmingham’s ‘Outstanding Teaching Award’.


Research interests

NGO performance, NGO relations, evaluation techniques, organisational capacity issues, humanitarian and development standards.

Other activities